Monday, October 18, 2010

Traffic in Xi'an

Our bus is a 20 passenger Mercedes with a stub nose, manual shift and comfortable seats. Our driver is a magician weaving us in a and out of traffic, pulling in a front of anyone, turning on a dime and suddenly stopping inches in front of a car, bus, bike or wide eyed pedestrian. There are no rules here, only if you are in a bigger rig you win. He made a U-turn in front of oncoming traffic, forced taxis and bikes off the road and always won the race to the spot. He was like Rembrandt at times gently weaving in and out with smooth stroke of the gas pedal and turn of the wheel, other times like Picasso suddenly stopping and turning and squeezing in next to another bus, and other times like the mad man Van Gogh racing down a short cut, thru a back road and scattering folks and bikes to the curb. 90% of the time he is only inches from the the other buses, bikes and taxis. His horn blares to warn and he never gets upset. He passed a cop on the right with his horn blaring, dodging another car and settling in front of the cop. There are no tickets given or police present, it would only stop the uncontrolled flow of the vehicles. I have come to the conclusion this traffic only works if there are no rules. A left turn only lane with people obeying would only cause a back up, so it is better to head out into the flow, melt in and keep going. So I just seat back and marvel at the master driver in action and am glad I am not behind the wheel.

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