Snapshot Yangzhou: crazy rickshaw driver

It was a regular afternoon, and Stacey and I were either sweaty or exhausted or (probably) both, and we decided to spring for the 3-yuan (42-cent) rickshaw ride back to campus. He was confused, rightly so, by our feeble Chinese language skills, and we had tried to tell him we wanted to go to Yangzhou University, but were less successful in communicating which entrance. I don't remember all the details, but I recall that he was stubbornly determined to get us as close to campus as possible as soon as he could--which in this case meant that we rode the length of the campus (it's behind the trees on the left, in the photo) right at the edge, on the wrong side of the road.

Now, Chinese roadways are already overwhelming to an American used to driving with ample road laws and safety measures, and the concept of a right-of-way. Chinese roads function under the general rule that if you think you can make, go for it--and do it fast. This applies both to number of lanes as well as intersections and stoplights. I actually found it exhilarating and pretty easy to navigate; and if I was in doubt, I just tagged along with a group of Chinese people when they crossed the street. And since there were enormous lanes for pedestrians and bicycles running on the edges of the actual roads (think of sidewalks but equally as wide as the whole road), there was plenty of space for everyone to share the road. More than a few times, I saw actual cars driving in those pedestrian/bike lanes, and no one seemed to mind.

But this particular day, we were rendered pretty nervous when our driver did not simply turn and then adjust his lane. Nope, he rode on the wrong side of the road for about two miles, heeding no car, bus, truck, or motorcycle that stood in his way. Cars swerved past us and we sat embarrassed and half-laughing as we flew past them. Eventually, we made it to campus and gratefully wished our driver farewell, no worse for the wear but laughing all the way to our dorm.