“You’ve never looked more Chinese.”

I rode on the back of a motorbike today!!

Tamlyn has been sick lately and thought it was time to go to the hospital and see what they could do for her. Farr, our new foreign liaison, accompanied her along with myself, who was going for moral support. Tamlyn and Roxy (a new teacher and friend of Tamlyn’s from South Africa) took a taxi to the hospital, but Farr was going to drive his motorbike and meet us there. I opted to ride with Farr because I’ve never been on a motorbike before! I hopped on the back, put on my hat (there are no helmets in China) and held on tight to Farr’s jacket. As we drove off, Tamlyn shouted “You’ve never looked more Chinese!” and I gave the peace sign and a huge-closed-eyes-asian smile as we sped off. The ride was quite fun, if a little cold. We weaved in and out of bikes, walkers, and cars. It seems that motorbikes can follow both the vehicle and bike rules of the road because Farr would sometimes drive with traffic and sometimes on the bike paths, whichever way was quickest. I’ll admit that I flinched now and then if we got too close to another motorbike or if it looked like we were inches away from getting smacked by an incoming car. But there was nothing to fear apparently, because when Farr wasn’t concentrating on driving or chatting with me, he was smoking a cigarette or talking on his phone. I want to say it’s because he’s a pro, but really it’s because he’s Chinese and rules like “No talking on cellphones while driving” or “stop at red-lights” is laughable here.

I may be more interested with the road systems in China than I am with my journey on a motorbike today. There doesn’t seem to be any rules on the road, just chaos. Yet everyone follows the same chaos, which results in order. It’s very confusing, completely lacks logic, and would drive me INSANE if I ever drove in China. Indeed, I’ve never mentioned it before but there are many intersections in Hohhot that have a left-turning lane, then two straight lanes, and then another left-turning lane, then a right-turning lane beside it. Where’s the logic!? But it’s not like I haven’t seen any casualties. I’ve seen a large number of fender benders, cars with huge dents in them, and a few weeks ago I witnessed a taxi ram into a motorbike. The guy driving the motorbike didn’t look seriously damaged, he was just holding his arm and seemed more pissed off about his bike than anything else. Now that I think about it, maybe I shouldn’t get on another motorbike until I find myself a helmet, regardless of how “professional” my driver was today. 😉


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sara
    Dec 20, 2011 @ 03:42:29

    Dad is going to kill you.


  2. Tricia Allan
    Dec 20, 2011 @ 06:22:03

    You brave, brave girl! The back of a motor bike.? Perhaps I should amend that and say you crazy, crazy girl!

    But your right about the seeming chaos to work somehow. The basic rule of thumb seems to be, set your course and stick to it – don’t stop, don’t waiver – but feel free to honk.


  3. Gail Johnson
    Dec 21, 2011 @ 09:55:46

    My only comment, I agree with Trish’s comment.


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