After being taken care of by the teachers from your school for last few days, you’re finally prepared to face on your own, what you think would be the first challenge – shopping. Before leaving your apartment you’re taking your “Survival Chinese dictionary” and then you’re heading for the supermarket across the street... At this point your story takes sudden turn. Why? Think carefully. Supermarket is ACROSS the street! If you were in any Western country you would say: “so what?!”. But this is not Western country. This is China. Here ACROSS the street might be a source of your worst nightmares causing your life to flash before your eyes few times a day.
So how to cross the street and stay alive?
I guess that after one year of experience you can summarize your observations and give some tips to people who might want to visit wild, wild East.
- Leave your common sense at the airport (it will just get in your way).
- Never expect that any vehicule will stop just because you’re crossing the street (don’t be to full of yourself!). It won’t stop. It will just pass you by. Remember! The driver is also in hurry.
- If you decided to cross the street, don’t do this western way. Don’t change your pace. It will just confuse the driver who has already calculated how to pass you by at your current speed.
- Never assume that something can’t drive or ride upstream. Car probably won’t but a scooter or a bike will definately do this. To ride a scooter you don’t need driving licence. What does it mean? It means that for people using them, the only applicable rule is their common sense. Remember! There’s a world of a difference between Chinese and western common sense.
- Never assume that something can’t drive through the pavement. As long it is a shortcut, why not? Once again, remember! The driver is also in hurry.