Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Public Transportation

I have been composing this post in my head on and off for a while, but 2 things happened this morning that made me decide to post now, so I wouldn't forget later.

1. As seen on countless YouTube videos of subways in China and Japan, I was actually shoved by a transportation agent to fit into the train. There would have been space had everyone not just stood by the front of the car, but I was actually outside the car with my feet inside and the agent pushed and pushed so the doors could close. Not as terrible an experience as you might imagine; it was actually pretty hilarious, particularly when the doors opened at the next stop and everyone literally fell out of the train. I wouldn't be surprised if someone was eventually trampled.

2. While waiting for my next train, there was a scuffle on the other side of the platform. I looked over and saw 2 ADULT businessmen throwing punches!! One ended up with a bloody nose and lip, while the other just walked away and got in a different line. No consequences, but pretty crazy. 
Typical ride. It's crowded, but not nearly as full as the morning trains, or pretty much anytime on line 1.
Newer lines have big windows and doors to prevent anything (or anyone) from falling in front of a train.
Now onto the more important information for any future travelers to this part of the world: Alison's Rules for Riding.

1. Don't be afraid to shove. Everybody does it. According to Adam's boss "If you don't shove, you'll never get anywhere you want to go."

2. Pre-walking is a must, when possible. That way, there will be less shoving later, when you're making your way up the stairs against 12 million Beijingers or waiting in line for the escalator with the other 11 million in this city.

3. When transferring, or walking on the platform, don't walk behind the following people unless you plan on shuffling or crawling:
--hand holders
--cell phone users (playing games/reading e-books/texting/chatting) --PS: I pray that NY does not get service underground anytime soon!!
--people with luggage (this happens much more often than you would think, especially because of the huge number of peasants traveling between the city and countryside)
--those who walk with their hands in their pockets
--women in high heels

4. If you're going to work, bring deodorant and an extra shirt. Rather, just wear a t-shirt on the train and change upon arrival, regardless of the outside temperature.
This is us being thrilled at the relative emptiness of the subway car!
Bus advisories: don't get on a double decker unless you're guaranteed a seat (or you'll be packed in like sardines but unable to stand up straight because the ceilings are low). Get on in the middle and exit in the front or back; no exceptions.
Train advisories: sometimes, waiting in the train station can be loud. And crowded. And smelly. Sometimes, if you don't have an assigned seat, you'll run to your car to be the first inside, and then get your own cabin because you're a foreigner and nobody wants to get too close.
...that's all folks! Good luck with your Asian travel and call/email with questions :)

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