Chinese Rules of the Road (Halloween Update)

Americans all know the joke about Chinese drivers right?
Well, to be honest, seeing it firsthand here I have to admit that Chinese
people may be the best drivers in the world. They can squeeze through the
smallest spaces, reverses great distances, drive on water. The reason why it
goes out of sync in America is because if not everyone is driving like a Nascar
driver, then it doesn’t work and that one driver looks crazy.  Chinese people approach driving the way they
approach lines, meaning everything is fair game and your only purpose is to get
yourself up front. The first time witnessing it can be a big shock, but I’ve
grown used to it. The rule of the road is: Size Matters. At the top of the food
chain is big trucks and buses, they cut as many cars off as they want and there’s
nothing to do but just let them, then comes large vehicles, like vans and SUVs,
then the regular four wheel convertibles, then three-wheel convertibles (yes,
they exist), motorbikes, bicycles, and at the bottom is our special spot,
pedestrians. The bottom yields to the top in most cases. I have learned to
become a very defensive street crosser, I applaud myself at times 🙂

Bicycles and motorbikes have special “powers” though, red
lights don’t affect them. It is not uncommon to have bikes and motorbikes pass
straight through red lights, as long as no one above them on the food chain
gets hit, it’s all good. In Shanghai, bikes and motorbikes could drive on
sidewalks all they wanted; I used to walk on sidewalks there like I was walking
on a street. I always looked both ways before veering to one side, etc. Also, (this
is less of a problem in Tianjin) always look both ways on a one-way street too,
there have been several cars and LOTS of bikes who don’t follow this rule
exactly. My Chinese teacher is the smartest guy I know, before we arrived he advised,
“Follow the old women across the street, they’ve gotten to that age for a reason and must
know what they are doing.”

Halloween Failure Update.

Well I made that trip over to 大胡同 yesterday. I woke up EXTRA early *coughcough…10am* and set
out upon my adventure to find the perfect Halloween outfit. I don’t want much I
swear, just a halo and some angel wings. But apparently that is too much to
ask. I took a taxi from the school entrance, and I had the luck of finding the
only Chinese person who follows every traffic law in the book, aka. drives like
an American. He stopped at yellows, didn’t cut off police officers, you name
it. I was so aggravated I almost yelled at him. Due to him and traffic, it took
30 minutes and 22 RMB to get to this place. I then started my futile attempt to
search for a place that sold any Halloween decorations/costumes.

The way大胡同 is set up is very Chinese styled. It
is inside a very large warehouse, where small cubicles are given to Chinese
sellers, one floor is dedicated to leather goods and purses, the third floor
was for wedding dresses, etc. I like the atmosphere of these places, because
that is where you can find the cheapest items, of course haggling is an art
form one must first master, but after that it’s very fun. Unfortunately I was
having no fun at all. I spent an hour asking everyone where Halloween things
were sold; they all sounded super positive that it was on the second floor, the
second floor said the third, the third said the north-west second floor had it…..and
thus my time was spent getting frustrated and finding nothing. At the last
place I asked, they told me where I could find “Halloween” stuff, then I
realized that they (and probably everyone else) thought I meant Christmas items,
when they realized that mistake finally I was told that there was nothing. Now
I’m up a creek with no paddle, I have to dress in black and wear some devil
horns, or go as a retro ‘80s girl. I’m still in the process of choosing…


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Diana
    Oct 27, 2011 @ 21:58:50

    OMG! i have a retro 80’s costume for this halloween! haha! it would be too awesom if that was your costume. oceans apart, yet dressing the same on halloween 😀 ahh, i’m feeling nostalgic about last year.
    it really sucks that china has no halloween spirit though. C’mon now, why would they think you meant Christmas?? aren’t they two different words? or did they think the waiguo ren mixed up her chinese hehe.


    • marshabarsha
      Oct 28, 2011 @ 12:01:39

      I know right? I know i said it right because they are simple characters and, not to toot my own horn, but i dont have tonal problems when it comes to words i know lol.

      I might only go out for a little bit for halloween 😦 i have a big exam this week and work up the booty hole….le sigh, adulthood sucks


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