Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Chinese Expressway

Six minutes out of Jixian headed towards Tianjin, we encountered this toll booth. It seems that the truck in the only open lane (see the green arrow) was not allowed to pass through. As the driver started to back up, a car or two or three pulled in behind him preventing him from clearing the lane. The car drivers, seriously afflicted with the Chinese version of type A behavior, didn't want to lose their place in line and completely ignoring two police officers in bright yellow green safety vests who were trying to look official. Obviously the car driver's behavior prevented the truck driver from back up preventing all of us from passing through the toll booth. Is this the classic Chinese version of Catch 22 or what? After 10 minutes of driver stalemate with 50 cars now backed up on the express way, it finally dawned on one of the officers to open another toll booth lane.

Perhaps someone who knows more about Chinese culture than I, could explain the toll both log jam we experienced.

A few kilometers past the toll booth I saw a worker in bright orange jump suit sweeping the highway edge. OK. Then after another couple of kilometers, another sweeper. Then another. My gosh, this is how China keeps hundreds of kilometers of highway edge spotless. I guess when
you have 1.3 billion people, you have the man power to do it manually.

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