Beijing Traffic (more)

Today I went to a special building, only a 10-minute drive from my office, to get a physical exam needed for a special visa. The administrative assistant of the Psychology Department accompanied me. We set off about 8 am. He mentioned a vision exam so I went back to my apartment to get another contact lens. (I wear just one, so that I have good vision both near and far.) Then we tried to get a taxi. We found one but, stuck in traffic, it went nowhere. After 10 minutes or so, we got out. We decided to go in the administrative assistant’s car (he prefered to take a taxi because he didn’t know where the building was.) It’s now 9:10 am. We set off. We reach the building around 9:20. Oops — I forgot my passport. We get a taxi to take us back to campus so I can get it. The driver tries to cheat us by taking a long route. On the way back — on a reasonable route — we get stuck in traffic again. We get out of the taxi. We’d like to go back to the exam building, pick up the administrative assistant’s car, and take a different route back, but that would require crossing six lanes of busy highway to get a taxi going in the right direction. That’s too scary so eventually we get a taxi that goes back to campus via another route. Now it’s too late to do the exam. We’ll try again early tomorrow. For some reason — exhaust fumes? too much sitting in a car? — my head hurts.

More What a difference a day makes. I went back the next morning and there were no problems at all. We found a taxi easily, the trip was fast and smooth, the exam didn’t take long, and the trip back was fast and smooth. We passed a man trying to start his car in the middle of a big street.

One Reply to “Beijing Traffic (more)”

  1. When my MIL visited China in the late 80’s, she came back with the story that crossing the street was so dangerous that she took a cab. We laughed. We adopted both our daughters from China and I want to testify that nothing could get me to cross a street! The pedestrian has no “rights”. One morning our guide tricked us into crossing a busy street because she thought we were wasting our money on taxi fare. It was a very scary minute.


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