Our Adventures

When we arrived in Shanghai a driver and the Class Mistress of our school were there to greet us. They drove us for the 4 hour drive from Shanghai to Nanjing, and what a drive it was! It’s hard to describe what driving looks like in China as just about every car on the road performs maneuvers that you never see in the US. I’ll recap my favorite of the trip. Our driver is in the left lane and decides he wants to be in the middle because it will yield him one car length more. Without a blinker he holds down the horn (he always keeps one finger on his horn) and starts moving into the center lane without regard that he will soon collide with the car that is already there. A game of chicken ensued were the other car slowly yielded his lane and left our car in the middle and the other guy on the right. We then sped up and cut that guy off in his new lane! Suffice it to say, it’s a new experience.

We have a very nice, modern apartment in Nanjing, in the same building as the classes we’ll be teaching (yay no commute).

So far, we’ve been exploring our neighborhood and having a lot of fun trying to make ourselves understood, with the help of our Chinese dictionary. Today, we succeeded in getting a hair cut for Matt, buying a power converter, and asking directions from a family running a copy shop out of their home. It’s such a crazy experience being completely illiterate!

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This was our most expensive meal for the day, vegetable lo mein. It cost us 9RMB, which is about $1.30 US. For dinner we went to a street vendor and spent 50 cents for both of us to eat

These little birds were being sold on the sidewalk for someone else’s dinner. I poked my head into the store behind and it looked more like a pet store than one for food. It had turtles, frogs, large fish…. all alive and all for sale to bring home and eat.

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3 thoughts on “Our Adventures

  1. I heard about crazy road rules (or the lack thereof) in China. I can’t believe that. I’m glad you guys don’t have to commute or drive. I also heard about the cheap food prices but man, that is DIRT CHEAP. With all that money you can save over there, you can come back here and buy yourselves a house.

  2. As bad as the driving in Asia is (and I understand because I spent seven weeks in Taiwan), it is nothing compared to Texas. At least your driver in Nanjing saw the car, mentally registered its existence, and then elected to perform a dangerous maneuver according to the commonly accepted (albeit far from safe) rules of the road in Asia.

    In Texas, people simply drive at the highest speed possible as if no one is there. When the rules are followed, it is to such a literal extent as to be dangerous — e.g. if you are in a right turn only lane, it will not cross anyone’s mind for a second that you might be there by mistake, even if your blinker is on; if you have a stop sign and someone else does not, than that person feels it is OK to go 70mph through the intersection without even bothering to look at traffic. My two personal favorite incidents were a few months ago, when a pickup truck passed me at 70mph in the breakdown lane (and had the nerve to honk!), and just today when while I was crossing the street WITH the light, a stopped car sped up suddenly and would have taken out Hadrian’s stroller had I not pulled it out of the way in the nick of time (I was so mad — I’ve never yelled at a driver like that before!!).

    So in short, I’ll take the average bad driver in Asia over the average driver in Texas any day. At least the Asian drivers know what their doing, even if the manner in which they choose to do it is not usually the safest.

  3. Yaaay so glad you guys made it across the world safely! Please continue with your accounts of adventures in Chinese transportation- I will use them for my studies 🙂 Love the picture of the road- all those bikes and street trees! It’s so sad how the Chinese- a nation who have been commuting largely by bicycle for centuries- are switching to the automobile at record speeds…the have infrastructure for bike and ped that we in the US could only dream of yet are ripping it apart to make way for cars…Matt and Laura, can you be my hero and reverse the trend over there???

    Take care!

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