American Football in Shanghai

In Shanghai, the taxi drivers will always tell you that traffic in the tunnel is too conjested, and that you should save money/time by taking the Metro. They will suggest to drop you off at a Metro station ... but of course the official receipt has already printed, so you'd have to pay the 11 RMB minimum. See, the issue is the tunnel's not as bad as they say -- they're just trying to make away with the 11 RMB for a really short trip, too lazy to cross the tunnel. So obviously, you should just stay in the taxi and insist on the trip across. Still, that was tons better than my Beijing taxi experience.

But this was something I hadn't encountered before.

We hop on the Metro (already victims of the above scam) into People's Square. So there we are:

8 people.
In one of the city centers.
During weekday rush hour.
And then it starts to rain.

Getting a cab was clearly not going to be easy. We stand patiently at the taxi stand at first, but realize there are no taxis: it's full of illegally parked cars. To get one, you have to step out into the street and almost literally stand in front of it.

One cab slows to a stop to let a lady out, and quick as lightning, another lady hops into the front seat, staking her claim. Except ... the first woman hasn't even gotten out of the cab yet -- she's still paying the fare!

Wow. Rough crowd.

Even worse than the day's experience when E and I were trying to hail a taxi, and got "beat out" by old ladies and even schoolgirls. I vied no more of that, even more determined to get aggressive in obtaining a ride for us.

I spotted the next slowing cab, saw the girl inside paying her fare, and made my approach. Out of the corner of my eye, a middle-aged woman came trotting up from my right. I stepped in front of her to clearly signal my intent on this cab. She gave me a pretty clear signal on her intent too: she elbowed me to the side and charged through like a football player to the rear car door to get in! What the--??

When she realized she couldn't get in the rear door -- the previous cab passenger hadn't gotten out yet either -- she walked slightly past to wait. That was her mistake this time. I followed her, and then continued to push at her personal space until she backed way past the back door.

Blocking her, I let the lady out of the cab, and quickly motioned for our crew of 4.
"I got a cab!
Hurry, hurry, get in!
I'm holding her back!
Get in, get in, get in!"

See? I can adapt quickly. If I were to live in Shanghai for even a year, I fear I would quickly turn into one of them and lose all my sense of etiquette.

3 comments:

Rose said...

oh my Benben...that is ROUGH!!

Ben said...

Indeed. I was astonished at the complete lack of decency on her part. I don't care how bad you want the cab, you wait like the rest of us! And she definitely wasn't in the poor category of people, so let's all show a little class, huh, lady??

Joan said...

Hello Ben. I am really quite flattered that you used my picture for your blog entry. Perhaps, you could credit myself (or any other photographer's pictures you might have used) the next time.

Thanks. It's the only decent thing to do.