China, October 12, 1999
Beijing is one giant parking lot at rush hour
Looking at the meter, its been exactly 11 minutes since I fist climbed
into this taxi, but we've only gone two km, and all of that at a crawl.
OK, so you may not be impressed, fighting the same traffic on your way to
work each morning, but this is midnight, on Tuesday, and unlike America,
less than 10% of the Chinese population owns a car. As it is, before they
even get near multiple-car families, I can't even begin to describe the
gridlock on Beijing's streets at rush hour cuz I do everything imaginable
to stay off the roads during those times.
I am lucky enough in my job to cruise in around 10am, after the main morning rush is over, and although I leave around 5pm, the beginning of the evening rush, I usually have dinner and a few drinks until things calm down around 8.
Soon, I'll be able to completely avoid the entire mess, for I'll be moving next to work and commuting on my bicycle. Even so, I'll have to take cabs sometimes, and like now, I'll always feel that I'm spending half of my time in Beijing, stuck in traffic.