Friday, September 05, 2008

Crossing the street in Beijing

To see all of Beijing, you certainly can't just stay on one block. But proper crossings at controlled intersections are found about only once every kilometer. And other stripe-marked crossings may as well not be there. So your only choice is to take part in human frogger.

Step one: Don't show your fear; the drivers can smell it. If you hesitate, you can see them thinking, "Look at that silly foreigner trying to cross the street! I bet it takes him 10 minutes." You have to take a breath and go for it. If you can find some other people to cross with, this also helps. Especially if they're old ladies.

Step two: Begin your crossing. Look for a slow-moving bus or a gap larger than 20 feet to begin your crossing. Step out into the street quickly and confidently. Make your way for the center line, which the drivers hopefully will observe.

Step three: Complete the crossing. Hopefully you will be presented with an equally oportunistic time to cross through the other flow of traffic. Any gap greater than 10 feet will do here; just mad dash for the curb. With any luck, you've made it to the other side and can continue on your journey. If not, this isn't Frogger and you don't get three lives. Game over.

In other news...

--Tried to get a look at the Olympics facilities yesterday. With the opening ceremony of the paralympics tonight, it was difficult. A highway separated me from the Bird's Nest, so all I got was a long-distance photo. And unfortunately tickets to tonight's event are sold out, so I won't be going. Good riddance, though--security seems ultra-tight.

--Checked out the "snack street" market last night. A Canadian named Sarah and I played the point-and-eat game. Some of the foods were easily identifiable, such as skewered grapes dipped in caramelized sugar and fried banana cakes. Others were not. Several skewers we tried seemed to be just different shapes of tofu, in other words, rubber on a stick. We didn't try the scorpions, chicken hearts or seahorses. Sorry. If you want to know what they're like, plan your own trip to China.

--Going to the Great Wall on Monday.


Anonymous said...

come on Justin, you were going to try some of those Chinese delicasies. I want to know what scorpion tastes like. But I'm not so sure about seahorses???

Anonymous said...

Justin I am going to make seahorse for your sister and my family on Wednesday night so I'd love to know how to cook them. I think it is terrific that you are traveling all over and what a time a time in your life to do it. We are following your adventures and enjoying every step of the way.


Anonymous said...

Wuss. Try the chicken hearts!