July 15, 2005

All over the road

I am now in the city of Shenzhen, as you will know if you have been paying attention. Shenzhen is in the south-east corner of China, right on the border with Hong Kong. To get here, you take a local train for about half an hour, and then walk through the HK border, across 100 metres of no man’s land, and then queue for ten minutes in the wrong queue, before being sent back to complete an Arrival form. You then spend some time wandering around in the brightly-lit dark looking for a taxi stand, and eventually find it underground.

There is very little information about how to get around these parts, because it is strictly not a tourist destination. On Wednesday we visited a factory in the next city, and the drive took two hours; yesterday we were at a factory in Shenzhen district, and the drive took two hours. There are skyscrapers as far as the eye can see, in every direction.
Driving is crazy here. Lane markings are treated as general guidelines, so where there are three lanes marked, the traffic will be five cars wide, changing lanes at random right under each other’s bumpers. Pedestrians cross roads anywhere, even on a major intersection, and wander as slow as they like – traffic just stops for them. Bicycles, tractors, small cars, all merrily drive up the wrong side of the road, and slip roads are a directional free-for-all.
A smart innovation: when we’re lost, we look out for guys on motorbikes beside the road. For 20RMB they will guide you to your destination. Could’ve done with that when I was in Essen last week.
Haven’t taken any photos yet, because really I have been working too hard and haven’t seen anything pretty.


5 thoughts on “All over the road

  1. Cairo traffic is the same way. I like to refer to it as “driving in herds”. No one has sideview mirrors, as they get knocked off immediately by your friendly fellow drivers/cattle.

  2. I’ve made a special effort to take pictures today. Unfortunately I won’t be able to download them until I get home.

    Karen on July 17, 2005
  3. i remember thinking i was more likely to get mowed down by a cyclist than a driver in shenzhen. it’s insane.

Comments are closed.