Sunday, September 7, 2008

taxi driving 101

as i mentioned before, taxis deserve their own post, so here it is. after being a passenger in various taxis for 14 days, i learned a bit of taxi 101. driving in these cars in hong kong and beijing, you wouldn't think taxis actually abide by rules. but, they do...and here are the ones i deciphered:

1. lanes are optional. you can drive in one or multiple lanes at any time without notifying anyone.
2. honking is cool. even if it's not necessary, you are not a cool taxi driver unless you honk.

3. seatbelts are optional. no, not optional, they are highly discouraged. ryan (who sat in the front each time to talk to the drivers) put on his seat belt each time. the taxi drivers would get so mad at him saying he didn't need it. once, after being rebuked by a driver, ryan said, "i don't trust your driving. i'm wearing my seatbelt!" wow. i thought we were going to prison for sure.

4. because seatbelts are optional, you might find surprises if you wear them. look for the surprise ryan found on his shoulder in the video below. i'm not sure exactly what it was that was left on his shirt, but it wasn't pretty.

5. crosswalks are purely decorational. just cross wherever you'd like.

6. bikers and pedestrians are oblivious and/or fearless and/or completely brain dead. i am not. my blood pressure rose approximately every 7 seconds while in a taxi.

7. when turning left in a left-hand turn lane, the car behind you could very well beat you around the turn...order simply doesn't matter.

8. the shoulder is also a lane. ryan calls this "the right side blind side" (passing someone on the right in the shoulder).

9. there is no "wrong way." in china, there are two ways to drive down a one-way road.

10. if you are a girl taxi driver, you should decorate your taxi so everyone knows you are a girl (see picture below).
this is a picture of us in the taxi we took to/from the badaling section of the great wall. this taxi driver drove us there and dropped us off at noon. he said he would wait until 3:00 for us to take us back. well, we had some setbacks on the great wall including torrential rain storms, thousands of idiotic people, and thousands of idiotic people holding umbrellas...so...as we RAN back to where the taxi dropped us off, arriving at 3:15, we were beyond thrilled to see him still waiting for us. he said another American came and told him he would give him a lot of money to drive him back instead of us...and our wonderful taxi driver WAITED! we tipped him extra. we love him.
and a video for your viewing pleasure. some clarification: taxi drivers, like most chinese nationals, like to spit. this particular driver hocked a good one (you can hear him at the beginning part of the video) and we laughed so hard. in fact, julia laughed so hard that the cab driver asked ryan (in mandarin) if she was okay. to which ryan replied, "she's fine...she's just drunk." niiiiiiiice, ryan. then the taxi driver said to ryan in mandarin, "just make sure she doesn't puke in the car." ha!

1 comment:

Julia said...

seriously, that makes me cry i was laughing so hard. that loogy was crazy funny. and then his driving. ah. i am glad that is forever in our archives. oh my gosh, i am still laughing. my tummy hurts. maybe you had to be there ..........