Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Metro moments

A captured metro moment from 2007

Fellow metro-commuters in Shanghai, have you noticed lately (at least during the morning rush) that more and more people nowadays stand on the right hand side of escalators?! That way, it’s almost as efficient (Hold your horses, I said almost) as the London underground system (where I believe you stand to the left, but I might be wrong?) where you literally get walked over if you accidently stand on the “walking hand side” of the escalator. Of course, there are still a few cases of people (OK, not just a few, more like… some millions) standing on the left hand side when you come walking, but with a gentle push/tap on the shoulder, a good 90% immediately move to the side to let you through. Good stuff. 

Unfortunately not all people are as friendly/helpful. I’ve had cases where I’ve gently tapped the other person’s shoulder (in 98% of the cases it's been middle-aged Chinese men), and said something like “不好意思(bu haoyisi= pardon me)” indicating I want to be let through. But do they move? Oh no?! In one case, the man turned around, looked at me, and stood like a brick of stone on his spot, refusing to even let me squeeze between him and that person to the right. (When he started pushing me back with violence I decided to give up).

Still, a great improvement from previous years, so Shanghai metro –I have hope!

One thing I still wish people could relax a little bit about is getting on/off the metro. The other day we had a work-dinner after work, and me and a few colleagues caught the metro just one stop to get to the restaurant. We were a group of five, and since the metro was quite full we stood just at the door. I immediately felt the push from behind, some guy that tried to squeeze in between us to stand JUST at the door, so I turned around and told him that we too were getting off at the next station. He looked like he understood, and for a short second he stood back… until something must have hit him (maybe that eagerness to STAND at the DOOR) so he still decided to elbow his way through our little group and catch the spot JUST at the door. (Guess he’d been taught never to trust laowais?).

The funniest cases are still all those people that push like mad in the metro, RUN off the metro as if their houses were on fire, and then, finally, when they get to the escalator –they just stand there, rather than continuing moving upwards.

Speaking off the metro –Shanghai’s new metro system (with new lines and plenty of new stations) is simply G-R-E-A-T N-E-W-S-! I’m loving every little bit of it, especially line 7 that’s now connected to Line 1’s Changshu Lu. Simply great. Me and my significant other are planning a metro-exploring weekend someday in April/May (when you don’t freeze your fingers off every time you step out the door) where we are going to spend 2 days catching all new lines, getting off at stops we’ve never heard off before and explore the surrounding. We used to do this at the magazine where I worked back in 2007, and it's not as bad as it sounds... you actually get to see quite a lot of new stuff. I promise to report back to you afterwards.


TG said...

Luckily 不好意思 always works in Taipei and people always queue, when entering trains and they stand on the right side of the escalators, same as in HK and Singapore. Guess PRC is still lacking behind a bit... a huge bit :)

Pete In Syracuse said...

Traveling along the line sounds like fun - I love to explore like that! Have fun!!!

Monkee said...

That is exactly how Montreal is!!

Jonna Wibelius said...

MKL -Ahhh, cannot wait for that to start happening in mainland China!!

Pete -Yeah I know! I also love that way of "simple and inexpensive fun"

Kitty -Really?! One would think Montreal would b better?