Transportation is an interesting thing here. There are many modes, most of which we have tried. Walking is almost the scariest since everyone has a bike or moped or car or something. When you are walking you are in a wheel-centered world. You can’t speed up or slow down with the flow of traffic. You pretty much are in the way.
I like to bike, it gives us the freedom to come and go as we please without the expense of a car. Cars are not too expensive here, but the license plates could cost more than the car. I bike to work everyday. It is only a half of a mile, but it is nice to peddle and be able to come and go when I want to. I wear a helmet although most Asian bikers do not. I feel safer. Biking is easier than walking since the flow of traffic is easier to achieve. To the right is a picture of Matt by some rice paddies. This kind of biking is very easy to do on these paths in the middle of farm lands. Although Matt discovered that a plant very close to where he is standing was leaking lead into the environment. It has since closed but 25 local children have been hospitalized because of lead poisoning.
Tuk Tuk’s are the bicycle carts that are sometimes motorized. They hang out at our gate area in case we need a ride to somewhere close. This morning I took one to work and I got in and said the street name and I didn’t even need the address. I guess he sees a foreigner and knows where we work around here. It is sometimes quicker than a taxi since they use the bike lane and not the car lanes. It is always cheaper for short distances – 5 RMB which is about 75 cents. You can’t always find these guys or girls but it is fun to take. Only three of us can fit in one.
Taxi’s are a different breed here. There are non-licensed taxis which are called drivers. The drivers are sometimes cheaper than taxis, but since we don’t know all distances and costs yet, it seems scary to jump into one and not have a meter running. The taxis all have meters and seem pretty trustworthy. This week, we have discovered that not all taxis can go “downtown” from our neighborhood. I have gotten the taxi number to call to get a taxi to come to you, but they don’t really speak English – not very helpful. In the taxi cabs, we have learned the Chinese words for “keep going”, left and right. Although Matt really wants to learn “SLOW DOWN”. Taxis don’t always smell the best and some of them have TV’s which of course are all in Chinese. If taxis were more reliable or more abundant near our apartment and schools, then I think I would like them more
We have not even tried the bus experience. They look over-crowded all the time.
We have tried the subway and we don’t mind it at all. We will not go on the trains during rush hour. We haven’t tried the train system so more adventures to come. . . . Don’t you love the pics of the family?