Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bus hazards

Regardless of which country you are in, you see some pretty interesting things on the bus. There is something I have noticed here that may seem more uniquely Chinese.
At certain times of the day the buses are really crowded. There is no orderly queue to get on board when the bus stops. It's everyone for themselves. You position yourself in the bus to be able to snag the first available seat when someone gets off. It's very cut throat. The exception is that someone always offers their seat to the elderly. However, if you are young and fit, it's dog eat dog. (mmmmm dog!)
What makes this whole scene really interesting is that a lot of people are reluctant to immediately sit in a previously occupied seat. According to my Chinese sources, they seem to fear...........
BUS COOTIES!!!!! Really. They think that if the seat is warm you will be in danger of contaminating your rear karma with someone else's. This puts rational, modern thinkers at an advantage. While women in spike heels are standing, waiting for the seat to cool and the cooties to dissipate, some young punk or foreigner plops their unenlightened bottom right on the evilness left behind by the previous occupant. I do this myself all the time, and haven't had any ill effects, but I have seen people stand on a nearly empty bus, until they feel that the seats are safe. I have seen them feel the seat with their hands to make sure it's cool first. Of course, if an elderly person is offered someone's seat they always sit right down. Old, tired feet trump a haunted rump every time.

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