Monday, December 15, 2008

Falling in traffic (not to be recommended)

Just like a seven-year-old...

On Saturday I managed to fall for the second time in Shanghai since I came to China in 2006. When I say fall, I don't mean 'stumble' but I mean FALL on the ground and landing on all four. It had just been raining and the road was slippery. I was wearing shoes that can be taken for ice-skates when roads are wet, and the rest I bet u can figure out on your own. Fortunately I fell next to a car this time, and except for some bemused onlookers (that I completely ignored) I managed to get up and walk away before a circle around me could form. FYI, however, the streets of Shanghai are one place of filth!!! Not only did I ruin my tights, but I my hands, as well as my bag and most part of my legs were completely black when I got up, looking as if I had been rolling around in dirt for some hours. Niiiiiice! Anyways, I still think I got away pretty well compared to last time when I fell in the city.

At that time, I was riding my bike. Being new to the bike-riding-life-of-Shanghai, as well as being a complete stranger to maps, I got lost when I tried to navigate myself around the small lane roads near Wukang Lu in the French concession. Again, the road was slippery from an earlier rain. When I realised I had gone wrong I decided to turn back. I looked around for cars and saw a black one approaching with speed, so I decided to let that one pass before I crossed the road. I pushed the break and put my foot down, only to realise that my plastic shoe sole was giving in completely, making me slide as a Bambi on ice and land (with my bike on top of me) in the middle of the road, where the black car was approaching in full throttle. There was no chance I was going to get up in time, but luckily the driver had seen me and did a dramatic stop right in front of me. I was still a bit shocked from the fact that I was lying on the middle of a road with my bike on top of me, and tried to get up. doing some lame wave to the car as a thank you for not killing me. His response: an angry, long, HONK! Geeez dude. That's helpful.

Anyways, I guess with this little post I'd like to say something like: 'avoid shoes with plastic soles in Shanghai' as well as 'be damn careful in traffic' because there's a greater chance that people just stare and point (or, as in my case, honk), than for someone to actually help u up. Or, maybe I have just been a bit unlucky, who knows? But there's a bit of a strange attitude to traffic safety over here. When we had a car accident in Yunnan back in 2006 and the rescue team came to pull the car back on the road, one guy laughed and told us that they had been at the very same spot every day for the last three days, pulling up cars.

-Why don't u put up a warning sign?! My translator asked.

The rescue guy shrugged his shoulders and smirked.

-Good for business I guess, said our driver.

He didn't object.


Rambler said...

I've gotten used to the way people drive here, but it still amazes me. They'll do turns and stops that would cause a pile up in the States, but nobody thinks twice about it here. They love their horns too. In West Virginia I could go months without hearing a car horn. Now I can't go a week without someone blaring on a horn.

I'm nervous enough when I ride my bike around. I'd have a panic attack if I even sat down in the driver seat of a car.

Jono said...

We normally say "Land on all fours" rather than "Land on all four". I hope you don't mind me correcting your English... I hate it when people don't correct my Chinese!