Eh Kinda Back But Not Quite

I’ll start out with the obligatory “MERRY CHRISTMAS” greetings to everyone today! The grumpy cashiers may be wearing Santa hats , the shopping malls decked out with over the top Christmas trees , and haunting images of Santa follow my every moment down the street , but it doesn’t really feel like Christmas. This is most likely due to the lack of family and the fact I had to go to work today. Nothing says Christmas like a 7:30 am alarm and the trudge over to clock-in.

The technical issues that have been keeping me from even accessing wordpress have magically cleared up. I think my experiments with sacrifices of paper money to the internet gods worked! However, I’m still stuck with the original problem of the nifty wordpress 3.5 add media into your post being completely broken. My “Macau : PhotoTour” , my “Check out this photo of this nasty bruise I got when a Shanghai taxi ran over my foot” , and my “Wow, This Chinglish add claims there is semen in this drink” (Yes, these are all real) posts have to sit on the back-burner for Buddha knows how long. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE WORDPRESS FIX THIS!

Hmmpf , anyways here are the major updates to December 2012.

1. Yes, a taxi ran over my foot. I was less amazed by the fact a taxi ran it over than that by the fact that my ankle did not break.
2. My kitties had their girl parts removed. A week of moping around with cones on their heads ensued. (You need to see the photos to really see the pathetic state they were in)
3. Hopefully (fingers crossed!) I’ll be assuming the position of Social Media Editor for Sherpa’s food delivery service! Beijingers, Shanghaiers, and Suzhouers get at me! I can’t wait to do something not teaching related!
4. The subway wars are heating up! According to the exploremetro blog, “Beijing and Shanghai are fierce rivals. Both cities have dramatically increased the length of their subway networks in recent years, especially around Beijing’s 2008 Olympics and Shanghai’s 2010 World Expo.
Shanghai has 425km of track (excluding the Maglev and Jinshan Railway), making it the longest subway network in the world, while Beijing currently has 372km. Traditionally, the main metro networks in Mainland China open new lines in the last few days of December. This year is no different, with both the Shanghai Metro and Beijing Subway scheduled to open new lines in late December 2012. The metro operators rarely release information about exactly which lines will open until a few days before the end of the year, which leaves an intriguing conundrum: what will be the longest metro system in the world at the dawn of 2013?” Just recently on line 9 , the interior subway maps were updated showing a brand new Line 13 , a brand new Line 12 , the completed Line 11 , extensions to Line 9 , and a completely new Line 16. I’m kinda of a nerd. These things excite me! The new male English voice on Line 9 ,however, does not! Check out more info at

Man , it feels good to write again. I survived the Mayan Apocalypse , now I just need wordpress working right again.

Dear Idiots

Laws.
Rules.

As teenagers they all seem made to be broken. Some are stupid , arbitrary, and down right nasty. The longer I live in Shanghai , the more I come to despair at the utter disregard that a certain set of them receive.

Traffic Laws.

Tell that to my 18-year-old self speeding on the highway and I probably would have laughed.

After two and a half years of watching pure stupidity at wheels , I’ve come to hold traffic laws in a brighter light.

This one’s for you , Mr.Idiot on a motorbike.

Dear Moron,

I spotted you at the intersection of West JianGuo Rd. and 2nd Ruijin Rd. Do you remember me? Probably not as you were blatantly disregarding the red light in front of you ( it means stop!) and the pedestrians crossing the road. Perhaps you may recall the one blond head in the sea of black hairs. That was me.

You probably haven’t heard of the American saying used in my youth , “No Cop , No Stop”. But I’ll go ahead and inform you right now that only is applicable when in the middle of nowhere. In the kind of place where farm animals outnumber the people and the only thing in sight is corn , not in the middle of a city of 23 million people.

In your defence , you could have been trying to turn right and in China there is no stop on red rule before making a right hand turn. It would certainly be a great idea , and it would save us pedestrians a lot of grief but we pedestrians know that you drivers are in such a hurry to do such important things as ; gossip , play mahjong , chain smoke , and spit. These things are arguably more important than any grievous bodily harm that may come our way. However , you weren’t making a right hand turn! You were making a left hand on red through traffic! And it wasn’t a gun-it-on yellow kind of deal. That was a stale red light buddy. That’s why when the taxi almost slammed into you, and came to a skidding stop a meter in front of you because you were in the middle of the intersection , I laughed.

My pleasure quickly turned sour when you glared at the taxi while he honked his horn. Like you were being wrongly affronted , insulted, and accused. That simmering look you gave him could have sizzled the oil in my wok. That’s the point of time when I yelled, “F*ck you, You idiot! at you. I couldn’t stand that look you were giving him , Mr.Almost-Hit-Me-And-Then-Almost-Causing-Yourself-To-Be-Killed. Usually I would glare at the stupid taxi drivers too but not this time. I know you probably didn’t hear me ,and then anyways probably wouldn’t have understood , but it still felt good.

Your Biggest Fan ,

Roomaomao

It’s important to try to defend my walking/biking safety seeing as how the metro just turned into a war zone. It just got personal. Blood was shed. Yes, on the metro.

My good friend L-Dawg was just recently pushed to the ground hard enough to break her skin. A fellow rider knocked her down, and her knee struck the gap in between subway car and station platform. This fellow did not offer to help her up but instead an actual good Samaritan (too rare in China) gave her a helping hand. The pusher didn’t say a word to my friend , didn’t try to help , avoided her look , and slunk off with his tail between his legs to hide. Real great guy.

Will the traffic and behavior of the citizens of China ever change? Any fellow expats have comments on this?

Google imaged this photo
By Maciej Dakowicz
opentravel.com

Moment of the Day – Shovey Subway

Amazing moment of the day for ya today folks!

First a little bit of background

In Mainland China people ( I’ve heard Hong Kongnese don’t do this although I can’t confirm through personal experience) have a lack of common decency/sense when it comes to queuing and behaviors on public transit.

Lining-up? Free-for-all battle royale.
Shoving strangers to try to get on a bus or subway? Totally acceptable.
Forget about the fact that if everyone waited in a neat and orderly fashion that things would be much smoother , quicker , and overall more pleasant.

Maybe it’s the sheer amount of population that makes individuals tune out others, just shove on through like no one is there. In a country of 1.3 billion the odds of seeing that person you just showed no consideration at all towards is nil.

When I was riding the London underground I was lugging a heavy bag , and I accidentally bumped a guy’s shoe. He stared me down until I said sorry. Riding the Manila metro people actually say sorry and Excuse (Iyksus in Tagalog) , and there is a distinctive lack of shoving. What will it take to bring that here?

Alright now on to the events of Friday.

I’m chilling on the metro getting ready to brave the fools ,who without fail will be ready to give me a hassle, after I exit the train at the Zhaojiabang metro station line 7 side to switch over to line 9. As the train pulls into the station, I’m standing behind a very beautiful girl all dolled up in make-up , short dress , and high heels . We prepare to fight through.

Pulling into the station I can make out a solid wall of people waiting to board. I don’t know much about American NFL football but to put things analogy-wise , its like the defensive line is locked together ready to rush forward in a full-blitz. A surge of human flesh to tackle the man with the ball.

Even though the metro has tons of signs teaching people the correct way to board trains ( Civilized City Off the Train First Board the Train After) ,and arrows on the ground showing the correct way to stand ( disembarking passengers have arrows in the middle and the sides have arrows showing where to stand and how to get on the train) , people don’t use their brains. (They even made my sister cry when she visited!)

I don’t know what it is about the combination of 4:10 in the afternoon and Zhaojiabang metro station , that attracts such fucking idiotic people.

The doors open and the entire solid wall of people comes rushing forward. The pretty girl and I have no possible way to get through. A large country bumpkin looking fool rushes in and runs directly into the pretty girl. Here’s were things get interesting. Contrary to my expectations the girl contracts her arms and bam! Double fist punch slams the country bumpkin right in the chest. YES! He staggers back and slams hard with his heel into a woman’s shin , also trying to push her way through, Her face twists in pain and rage and she howls! Country bumpkin is totally nonplussed by the girl shoving him hard . and he rushes forward again and slams into my extended rigid elbow ( a totally non-active move on my part , just stick a body part out , hold it steady , and the retards do damage to themselves).

We are left with an injured belly , a wounded shin , and bunch of stressed-out, pissed off people. If the embarking passengers would have just left and opening and not shoved we would have had no problems , no injuries , and everyone would have gotten to their destinations faster. All of this easily avoided by some simple manners. I just can’t understand why Chinese act this way. My Chinese girlfriend also cannot explain it (although she doesn’t engage in the shoving.)

Metro Madness

In a massive densely populated city like Shanghai rush hour can be intense. Whether it be public transit or private car things can be hectic to say the least. We don’t have the subway workers whose jobs are dedicated to shoving people into the already overpacked subway cars that those Tokyo residents may be familiar with but that’s because we don’t need them. Here in Shanghai, the metro riders take care of that work themselves. Shoving , pushing, old ladies grinding their pelvises against me , and other general forms of jackassery can ruin an already morbid mood during the half-awake haze that is the morning commute.

Come soon I plan on having a series of subway survival tricks and tips but that is for another time. Now time to focus on a subway jackassery witnessed today during the (gasp) non-prime time rush hours.

I was sitting down on the bench-style seating near the end by the door. The very last seat next to me was open. We had just stopped at a station and through the doors directly across from my position came a younger girl walking towards the seat. From the other side of the car came a late 30’s early 40’s woman. This woman ran from across the car and bumped the younger girl out-of-the-way a little bit to slide into the seat just as the younger girl was beginning her descent into the seat. As if that wasn’t bad enough the lady was laughing as she did it. A maniacal bitchy kind of laugh directly in the girl’s face. It didn’t even happen to me but I was still pissed.  When a country has 1.3 billion people personal space and some forms of social pleasantries aren’t strong concepts.

Good thing she (probably) couldn’t read English as a quick glance over at my Kindle and the insane text of American Psycho exposed on the screen might have given her second thoughts about trying to sit next to me…..

Shanghai Metro Crash!

Wow! Yesterday the worst accident in the 15 years of Shanghai’s metro operations happened. At around 2:50pm 2 trains collided on Metro Line 10 in between the popular tourist spot Yuyuan Gardens and Laoximen. Apparently the signal systems had failed a little earlier in the day and operators were running the line at reduced speeds using telephones for the signaling system. This led to one train ramming into the back of another one.After this, line 10 operations were shut down for the day , 500 people were evacuated through the tunnels, and oh yea 270 people being injured!!!! Only 20 of these people were severely wounded with no one in critical condition. There are no reported deaths ,hopefully this isn’t the government clamping down on the media (let’s keep our fingers crossed). According to media sources by 7:30 pm 180 of those injured were released from the hospitals mostly with bruises and some bone fractures.

I think there will be outrage among the population at this latest accident. This comes only 2 months after the July 23rd high-speed train crash in Wenzhou that injured 200 and left 40 dead. People were incensed about that incident and this will only make matters worse. Transportation safety is increasingly being put in the spotlight as the nation strives to enlarge the system. Going back to the signal failures , guess who happened to make both of those failed signal systems? If you sensed a connection you are right , both systems were manufactured by a joint French-Chinese company called Casco.

I hope that these issues can be resolved with ever more and more high-speed rail lines built and with Shanghai’s metro expected to double to more than 800 km of track by 2020 (it’s already the world’s longest system at around 435 km now).

Luckily for me I was at work during this time and I ride Line 7 to Line 4 to get to my kindergarten everyday but last year I did have to ride Line 10 to get to work on Wednesdays.

I’ll leave you with some links to get some more information and to see some photos of the incident.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44682501/ns/world_news-asia_pacific/t/hundreds-injured-shanghai-subway-crash/

http://shanghaiist.com/2011/09/27/breaking_train_crash_on_shanghai_me.php

This last link is to help see where the accident occured. Look on the lavender colored line 10 in between Laoximen and Yuyuan Garden.

http://www.exploreshanghai.com/metro/