Sunday, September 17, 2006

Stoppa! Stoppa!

Say what you will about Shanghai, they take jaywalking seriously. At every major crosswalk are at least two "Traffic Assistants" who are not afraid to use their referee whistles and booming voices of authority to weed out any would-be law breakers. I saw several people get vigorously dressed down today for trying to cross either outside of the crosswalk, or when there was no walking light. And with good reason, because the drivers here do not regard you as much more than a moving inconvenience that may or may not be driven around.

I was also witness to at least four occasions of drivers on the sidewalk. No, I'm not talking about the scooters, which are everywhere, I'm talking about actual cars... driving on the sidewalk. I was too busy getting out of the way to get any pictures.

Most pedestrians are quite disciplined. They will wait for the walk light even if the coast is clear. It's kind of wierd to see, considering the size and density of this city, but I guess the sidewalk sentinals have established their presence.

We had lunch at a local place where there was not much English spoken. The food was good, albeit difficult to order, since we had to communicate mostly by pointing at pictures, but it got a little embarrassing when I tried to write in a tip on the credit card slip. There was a "Tip" line on the receipt, but you'd think nobody has ever used it. There was quite a stir, and they ended up making a separate credit card charge for my tip. I still don't know exactly what the problem was, but I think some restaurants do tips, and some don't, and some expect 15% and some expect 3% or less. I was trying to leave 20%. Still not really clear on that

I was taking pictures outside the Shanghai Art Museum, and some people there decided that I was also an attraction, and asked if I would take some pictures with them. It was pretty funny. It's not like I am the only westerner in Shanghai, but I guess I just looked approachable. They got a kick out of it.

4 comments:

Mom said...

Great Work. Keep it up.

Mike said...

Hey man, sounds like you’re having a good time. Just wanted to let you know that some of us ‘stuck in the office’ guys are traveling vicariously through your web posts, so keep us updated. – Mike.

diavolo1976 said...

"Look, a giant American with goatee! He looka like he from Seattle! Sound Garden good band from 90s. We take-a picture with him! Drink Coca-Cola, play baseball!"

I know, I know, I'm a horrible person for making such a joke, but man, that story about you taking the picture with those people made that pop into my head.

Keep 'em coming…..

martin's girl said...

Awe, YOU embarrassed? That's cute baby.

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