On my way to a friend’s birthday party yesterday evening. The address I told the taxi driver was 朝阳路， 五环外。 [Chao yang road, outside the 5th ring road]
And then told him I would tell him how to go from there.
First of all I live north east, between the 4th & the 5th ring roads. And the first thing the taxi driver says is ‘shall we take the 4th ring road?’
To which I said ‘but the 5th ring road is just behind us, why don’t we just go for that?’
To which HE said ‘humfff’ (He was not impressed with my logic, that if we were going outside the 5th ring road anyway, we should not go inside it in order to go back out)
So… he did what he was told and took the 5th ring road.
But he didn’t seem happy with it, even though there were very few cars on the 5th ring road and we could power on down without being impeded.
And then what did he do? Instead of getting off at Chaoyang lu, (the simple direction would literally just have been 5th ring, get off at Chaoyang lu….keep going for a bit, and then stop, done, arrived at destination)
So instead he decided to get off a good 3 big intersections beforehand, and onto a highway that would begin taking us to the 6th ring road.
Basically I was getting the feeling that this guy didn’t like the 5th rind road, and would prefer to either use the 4th or 6th , anything but the 5th. But whatever.
All the while I’ve got my phone open to the map page, and the gps is calculating the best way to go each time, every time he makes a wrong turn it calculates the next quickest route.
So now as he’s powering towards the 6th ring road, I say. ‘look we can still take this road, and we can get there’
To which he is like… ‘oh ok.’ (a blank look creeping over his face)
We turn right into the street…and its just jam packed with traffic… traffic that’s not even moving.
And after 5 mins of me thinking…well this is clearly a failure, and waiting for him to realise that and turn around…..to which he never does, I say ‘errr….how about we take the next road? Because this road is blocked isn’t it?’
To which he says ‘ yes…..ok.’
So we take the next road and don’t forget if we just stuck by the damn 5th ring road , we’d be there by now, and as it turns out this next road is still heavily swamped with traffic.
So he’s now on a mission… a mission to get himself stuck in traffic. . In fact I think he was on this mission all along , and he was trying to punish me or something.
Punish me for the simple reason of knowing that taking the 5th ring road was the best idea.
Well, we finally got to a traffic light to which the traffic was once again block, like we were the 2nd car waiting at the red light, and after it had gone green, the first car didn’t even make it over the intersection.
To which it would be obvious to everyone except ironically a Beijing taxi driver…from way back, that this route wasn’t going to work. So I showed him the map, and said, ‘look if we take a right here…where there is NO traffic, then we can take a left a bit later, zig-zag our way down to the right road’ (showing him the gps map.
And he’s like ‘ ahhh but I don’t know if I can get through there… at least this road goes to where we need to go’
To which I’m thinking ‘well the damn 5th ring road got to where we needed to go, but you didn’t take that one now did you?’
And then I said to him ‘ yes, but you can’t actually go down this road, because there’s too many cars. You see…cars’ (pointing at the cars in front of us)
And he said ‘but I don’t know if the road you’re pointing to allows us to get out the other side’
Me thinking ‘what the fuck do you think I’m pointing to? Its not some hand sketch that I’ve drawn out, this is a map.. a MAP, have you heard of it? The MAP says that there’s a road that we can access, and the MAP is MAPPING out exactly how we should go’
Said ‘but look at the map’
And he said ‘ ok. We ‘try’ ‘
Me thinking ‘ try? Wtf? Try? Of coruse we bloody try… in fact it’s the only option unless we want to just sit here for the next 3 days？ What kind of fucked up logic, fucked up reasoning is that?? Huh? We’re stuck in completely non-moving traffic, and yet you think that is a better option because it definitely gets to the place you want to go …despite the fact that you CAN’T actually get there because its blocked… and you resignedly ‘try’ a route which is proven on a real-time gps guided map to get there by another route?’
Eventually he got to the place. Only because I might have shouted at him one more time.
And in the end he said ‘慢走‘ which means go safely kind of thing, but the literal translation is ‘slowly go’
To which I prevented myself from shouting at him saying ‘ slowly? Motherfucker, I can’t go slowly anywhere now, because its exactly the fact that you were so fucking slow in the first place for why I have have to run everywhere now…..you fuckface!’
But I didn’t … peaceful music….peaceful music.
I swear Chinese driving is exactly like drunk driving sometimes. Like the meticulous overly drunk kind,…where you’re going way too slowly and edging your way into traffic etc. …
You can do it. It IS possible, but the reaction times…the amount of thinking that goes on….is just not sufficient for what I would consider is proper driving.
The fact that everyone is driving this….painfully however, means that they never go that fast, and the crashes when they happen…and oh yes, they happen…are not so bad. (or not as bad as you think it would be given the amount of retardation. )