School Boys, ©2014 Jeane Vogel Studios, Zhongshan, China
Zhongshan is not a tourist destination. It is not large — only 8 million people. I laugh when I’m told that. What would my hosts think of St. Louis in comparison?
Traffic is normal — not chaotic, not aggressive, not rushed. People have a place to go and they will get there.
The boulevards are wide. The sidewalks are wide. Pedestrians share the sidewalks with motorcycles and motor bikes. Pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way. Step onto the street at your peril.
Still, even in rush hour, there did not seem to be a crush of cars, bikes, people. The traffic was slowed a bit by the rain, but it was orderly in a fashion, and no tempers flared when a line of cars decided to increase the number of lanes from two to three in one direction, thus decreasing the number of lanes to one in the other.
I’ve been in a lot of cities around the world with horrible traffic. Mumbai was clearly the worst — a carnival ride every trip. But London, San Jose in Costa Rica, Milan, Florence, Mexico City, Dublin, Mumbai: traffic SCREAMED, honked, yelled, swerved. Aggressive pushing to get in front of a line that wasn’t moving. Me first. ME FIRST!
Beijing might be different, but in this small city of 8 million, the traffic doesn’t seem like traffic. It seems like order. And just where are these 8 million people?