Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Motorcycle Cowboys

Here in Zhanjiang we have thousands of middle aged men (and a few women) who perform a taxi service of sorts. For a lower price than a taxi or sanmo they will take you somewhere on the back of their motorcycle.
They hover at bus stops, outside shopping places, outside schools, in front of hospitals, just about anywhere they think they can score a fare.

They may, like these guys, swarm a bus door when it stops, all trying to get the attention of anyone getting off. They cruise around honking their horns, or just lounge around smoking and calling to any passing pedestrians that look like they might be decide to ride instead of walk.
They drive on sidewalks, crosswalks, run stop lights, weave in and out of traffic, drive against traffic, pull out in front of buses and generally make a total nuisance of themselves. Always look both ways when getting off the bus in case one of them is passing the bus full speed on the right. If you want to save a couple of yuan, and aren't too concerned about comfort or safety you can hop on the back of one of these bald tired conveyances for a thrilling ride. You may or may not get a complimentary helmet, with possibly a chin strap, that has been on hundreds of heads to give you the appearance of safety.
Since I'm not quite ready to die, and I loathe road rash, I opt for less invigorating transport. I know this makes me a bit of a wuss, but I know plenty of Chinese that avoid these clowns too.