Crossing the Street:A Little Frogger & Chicken

Yesterday was our 1st full day in Shanghai, after the Medical Exam morning we went for a walk to find my office building. I really wanted a nap but Todd wouldn’t allow it, to get adjusted to the time change. I can go to bed at 9pm tonight, rules! It took approx. 22 minutes from the temporary housing. There was a Tigger in one of the office windows of the building, that must be the corporate offices of The Walt Disney Company (Shanghai).  It was hot and humid out, wow was it hot and humid. Many ladies carry umbrellas to shade them from the sun, I think it is for they do not wish to be tanned, many products carry whitening features in them, we found a Watsons drug store and had to check it out.

The traffic is something to get use to. There are cars, bikes, scooters, and pedestrians all around on the same roads and sidewalks. Scooters and bikes carry everything from families (Mom, Dad and 2 kids) to air conditioners, doors, flowers, anything really. My favorite is when the ladies ride side-saddle for they are wearing a skirt.  How they manage to stay on the bike/scooter, I am amazed.  There are traffic lights, I believe they are guidelines, not traffic laws for cars, bikes, scooters seem to go when they want to regardless of the light and there appears to be no law against bikes and scooters driving up on the sidewalk if they want to do so to get where they need to go. I told Todd I will be hit by a bike or scooter, I just know I will. The traffic lights also have a countdown clock until it will change from green to red, red to green. It reminds me of Rock N Roller Coaster at the Hollywood Studios where you have the countdown sign and Steve Tyler screeching 3-2-1, GO and then you take off, that is what happens when countdown clock at the light turns, they hit the gas and look out. Let me mention, I  do not believe pedestrians have the right of way, if in a cross walk, walking and a car, scooter or bike want to go, they go and they go full steam ahead. That is when it becomes like a game of Chicken and Frogger. I think the folks on “wheels” are hoping they can get through, that you will back down and let them pass. Todd said to make eye contact with the driver and keep walking, this so far has scared me and I thought Todd was going to get hit numerous times but we survived our 1st day. It is something to get use to.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rick
    Sep 08, 2010 @ 17:44:15

    Congratulations for surviving the first day! Its not easy. Its great reading about your experiences as it takes me back to when we first arrived there. Hope it all works out for you both. You might want to re-think the making eye contact thing. Found it best not to. The folks on wheels figure if you made eye contact you know they are there and you should look out! That approach managed to keep me alive crossing streets there for 5 years but do what works for you. Take care.


    • Rebecca
      Sep 08, 2010 @ 17:57:15

      Thanks Rick! That makes sense, and maybe that is why Todd almost got hit so many times! Thanks for the tip, I will try that approach today!


  2. Dennis
    Sep 09, 2010 @ 08:28:35

    Reading your cultural observations have been very entertaining. Having been to China in 2000, I can identify with each glimpse you share with us. I recall being amused by the lack of traffic “rules”. It seemed like the alpha-vehicles set the pace for everyone else.

    It will be interesting for you to compare your initial observations (while everything is so new and unusual) with those observations you make 3 years and 4 months from now, when all everything has become “normal”.


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