When you are in an Asian city and come from the Ruhrarea in Germany like I do, you will quickly realize that the transport system is different. Whereas in Germany the buses seem to be modern, some of the buses that run in Chengdu are a little bit older. At least I’m not afraid to use them but luckily I don’t need to get a bus to my office. I use the subway. But even though the subway is very modern, every time it is an adventure to use it. Apart from the masses of people who enter the subway, the adventure begins when you enter the subway.
Firstly a giant metal detector waits for your bag, and a metal detector gate nearby for you. Most importantly, if you are in a hurry be prepared to hand over your cups of tea, bottles of water or every drink you have in your bag. The nice security guards behind the metal detector gate will check it, because you are not allowed to have inflammable liquids with you. Sorry for everybody who enters the subway with a bottle of deodorant, it will be collected by the security and the next day could be a little bit smelly. Or you just take a taxi, because the taxi is still cheaper than a new bottle of deodorant in China.
By the way don’t worry if the metal detector makes some noise at the time you enter it, that isn’t a sign that you will get controlled by the security. After this procedure you can enter the subway.
The right time will allow you to have some privacy. Not every time will you get a seat but there’s still some space to stand on your own. But to catch the right time means 11 o’clock.
The office times in China are from eight/nine to five/six. The subway is full around these times. Consequently I am travelling with tens of thousands others every morning and every evening apart from Saturday and Sunday. While changing from line 2 to line 1 some of Chengdu’s citizens will run upstairs to be the first row in front of the door.
I forgot to mention that you will stand in front of a safety glass which prevent people to get pushed down to the rails. I am already used to the pushing and pulling around me in the subway and I totally lost my feeling for my comfort zone or better say distance zone. You will not find it in the subway.
Using the subway at the rush hour in Chengdu is exactly what was in my mind when I think about Asian super cities and their subways.
It is part of the life here and I am not here to experience a life like in Germany. In the end you will get used to it very fast and it is worthy experience.
Chinese Traffic – especially for me as a German – is an unimaginable mess. Germans love their rules so much, they even try to reprimand strangers, if they think they did something wrong. But once you get used to the Chinese way, you will quickly find out there are some rules too. If you abide by these you should be able to keep yourself out of harm’s way. Here I present to you the …
*~Guide to Survive in Chinese Traffic~*
#1 Keep calm
You need to be relaxed! Don’t panic and don’t get angry or frustrated. Put your mind at ease, balance your yin and yang and go with the flow. Actually it might help if you did some Taijiquan practice before you set out.
#2 Only you count
Be selfish! Don’t wait until someone will let you go first, because they won’t. Just set yourself a goal you want to reach and walk straight to it. Only evade or stop when your life might be in danger.
#3 Wheels before legs
As a pedestrian you are of the lowest rank. Even a zebra crossing or a green traffic light won’t mean that you’re safe. People on motorbikes will drive on the pavement and honk you out of the way. Sometimes there is no pavement, so just walk on the road.
#4 Look out 360°
Be prepared that there will be people, bicycles, motorbikes, cars and buses coming from every direction at all times. And also forget about the rule that left turning vehicles have to wait for the ones going straight.
If you drive a vehicle that is able to do so, honk! Honking is very appropriate at all times: to make people move out of the way, to let everyone know you are coming, to greet people, or just for no reason at all.
These are some special rules for using public transport.
#1 Buy a travel card
If you are in a city that provides a public transport card, buy it! It will save you so much time and Chinese people won’t try to squeeze in next to you while you are rummaging through your bag in search of the bus fare. If there is none, make sure to have the right amount of money (usually 2 Yuan) ready.
#2 Don’t wait in line
Never try to wait in line, because there is no line. As soon as the door opens try to get in, even if there are still people coming out. (I must admit Germans in bigger cities are also very bad at this)
#3 The exit
If the vehicle is crowded get ready to exit at least one stop before you want to get off, because no one will really make room for you. When getting off the bus look out for bicycles or motorbikes or they might drive right into you.
#4 Squeeze in
The bus or metro look full to you? You can always give it a try. Just imagine you are very thin, hold your stomach in and maybe it fits.
#5 Have Faith
Always trust the bus driver. The experience can be close to Harry Potter’s ride on the Nightbus. Also, remember the first rule. 😉
In this kind of environment it is natural that you will be pushed and get some elbows here and there but remember not to get aggressive. The people don’t mean to be bad, it’s just what they are used to do. If you grew up in a country with so many people you’d have to be a little selfish and fight for your spot. In the beginning I had to get used to it, but now I’ve found it quite fun to be a little reckless.
Do you think you’re ready for this adventure? Then come to China and jump into the fray. Do an internship and apply now!
Yingbin Dadao Station 迎宾大道站
The name of this station literally means “Welcome Avernue”, this station is located on the Metro line 2.
Jinniu Hotel (金牛宾馆) is in the east of this station, a five-star hotel that is usually off the radar of the general public. A lot of leaders and high-ranked officials of the People’s Republic have been hosted there, including Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping and more recent leaders like Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, as well as foreign presidents and monarchs- Kim II Sung, Sihanouk and George Bush.
Opposite the entrance to the Jinniu Hotel is one of two of Tuqiao Mosques dated back to the 18th century. After being damaged during the Cultural Revolution both mosques underwent renovation.
In Chinese, a mosque is called qīngzhēn sì (清真寺) or “pure truth temple.” Western Chinese mosques were more likely to incorporate minarets and domes while eastern Chinese mosques were more likely to look like pagodas.
The history of Muslim ethnic groups have been profoundly shaped by their position along the Silk Road trading route, which can be dated back to 1400 years ago. Called Hui （回）in Chinese, the ethnic groups have retained some Arabic, Persian and Central Asian features.
Aside from the history and architecture, the visitors may also profit from the exotic cuisine of Chinese Muslim near the mosque.
This is my first blog about Chengdu.
你们好 mes tendres chouchous!
Last night Jamie (the big bad boss of the Zhuhai office) and I made pilgrimage to Guangzhou, the capital of the Guangdong province, about 2 hours north of Zhuhai to see Liverpool FC’s start to their 2011 Asian tour. While I am not a big fan of footy, I am a huge fan of random experiences and this fit the bill perfectly. We took the new, high-speed rail from Zhuhai north to Guangzhou south and then took the also new metro system right to the stadium. While we had originally been expecting that the turnout would be low, there were thousands of fans around the stadium, eagerly queuing up to enter. Surprisingly enough, the Liverpool fans (I am assuming that if they were sporting a Liverpool jersey, they were a “fan”) outnumbered the Sunray Cave FC (the Guangdong FC – 广东日之泉足球俱乐部) at least two to one.
Upon entering the stadium, the police confiscated my war drum (see photo of the big empty water jug). I was heartbroken and crestfallen – but still managed to make quite a bit of noise despite being deprived of my war drum!
It was an exciting match, with Liverpool winning 4-3 over Sunray Cave FC. SCFC did manage to get in two goals in the last few minutes of the game, at the dismay of the Liverpool fans.
After failing to get a taxi (Guangzhou is notorious for its lack of supply of cabs!), we got a bit lost in an odyssey of aimlessly wandering on foot along with some (very) unhelpful metro directions. Despite our hardships, we finally made it to our final destination: Chinese outdoor BBQ (THE BEST!) along with the infamous dice game!!!
The rest is hazy.
I am off to Chengdu in the Sichuan province tomorrow (flying from Guangzhou airport – can’t get enough of that city!) so expect another blog post come Monday!!!
Enjoy the photos
Bacioni fortissimi dappertutto