Notes from China, Part 1

TIL, so far in China…

  • KFC is the largest chain restaurant in China.
  • “Parking” means stuffing your car wherever you can find enough space for it to fit. Whether that’s on the sidewalk, the side of the street, or blocking in three other (illegally) parked cars, it’s all good.
  • Right of way is ruled by mass, and there’s no obligation to stop for a right turn on red. Left turns do not need to yield to oncoming traffic. Pedestrians cross at their own risk. I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to be the frog. Now I have an idea.
  • It’s apparently better to be here when it’s warm than when it’s cold. Nobody burns their coal heaters when it’s warm, so the air is actually breathable. The constant rain for the last four days has helped, too.
  • Sometimes the air conditioning works.
  • The hotels try very hard to feel very European, but they’re very definitely Made In China. It’s a source of cognitive dissonance.
  • If it has wheels, you’ll see it on the roads. And next to the roads. And sometimes on the sidewalks.
  • Electric scooters are very popular here. And absolutely freaking silent. Keep your head on a swivel.
  • There is a very complicated pattern drivers observe of when to use high-beams, hazard flashers, turn signals, horns, or even any lights at all, regardless of day or night. I have not yet figured it out, content to let driving be done by local professionals.
  • Taxi drivers here are insane. And belligerent. If they don’t like where you want to go, they’ll drive off without you. Be prepared to argue. On the bright side, the taxis at the airport don’t have a choice if they want to get in the taxi line.
  • Speaking of taxis, every single car service representative will chase you down to offer you a ride as you walk out of Customs. These people are dressed very nicely and professionally, speak passable English, and are quite insistent. Politely decline them all, and follow the signs for TAXI, which will lead you outside to the standard taxis queued up in a designated area, with what I can only assume are “taxi marshals”. You’ll pay about 1/6th to 1/5th the price of those driver services that feed outside Customs, and the cabbies cannot turn you down.
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Notes from China, Part 1