Bike Riding in China
China is crowded, very crowded. That I am sure you already know. What you may not know if you haven’t been here is the, in my mind, distorted sense of space that everyone carries around with them.
Bumping Into Each Other on Purpose
It’s pretty amazing, really. People bump into each other constantly. In fact, I think a pretty big proportion of people out there bump into each other on purpose. Why would you do this? It is the kind of mentality of “you should get out of my way. I will move a tiny little bit, if at all, but you must give the rest. You must.” Why now? That’s what I don’t get, but the fact remains is that you either 1) get out of the way, 2) get frustrated by bumping into other people.
I used to get very frustrated when everyone bumped into me constantly. But I’ve gotten used to it. It is amazing how far this concept of not yielding one’s space goes. Let me tell you why.
Two Stubborn Idiots
One day I was walking next to the tallest building in Shenzhen on a wide road, when two bike riders innocently came along. They were heading toward each other straight on, but neither one veered out of the way. Instead at the last moment, both of them slowed down in a hurry. So they should have avoided hitting each other, right? Not quite.
Still not bothering to get out of the other rider’s path, they slowly bumped head on into each other. Now, realize that there was no one else nearby on this sidewalk, and it wasn’t narrow in any sense of the word like many sidewalks are here. No, there was plenty of space and yet they still managed to run head first into each other.
Maybe after being here another several years I will do the same.