I was hit by a scooter this morning. (Second time since last winter and counting, I´m afraid). I was crossing at a green light, with dozens of other pedestrians and this guy, out of the blue, found me in the middle somehow. I´m ok now but again, the usual thing happened, and this can actually be more intimidating than the real thing. In a split second a large number of people tend to gather and no matter what time of day it is, they just stare, in silence or start chatting to everyone about the minute details of the accident. Meanwhile swirl the normal crowd around, rushing to the subway or in Family Markt, trying hard to ignore that someone´s in trouble.
Imagine a scene, shopkeepers, policemen, traffic attendants, blue and white-collar workers, grannies and all just stand around you and look. At you, at the sky, at the ground and each other. Like a big Lego world, everything´s there, happening, and you realise you´re watching the whole thing from the outside.
Anyhoo, take care people, this can happen everywhere, not only in mad-anarchy-traffic-Shanghai land.
My advice for walkers:
– remember that green lights and zebra crossings do not mean anything. They are only ornaments. Road jewellery.
– should you be listening to your Ipod, make sure you don´t lapse into shoegazing mode but are aware of all the potential (kind hearted but dormant, amoeba-brain) easy riders hitting on you at any time. (Yeah, one of my classmates´ wisecracking this morning, saying my being attractive destructs the traffic. Mwuahahaha. But you think he was trying to tell me something?)
– have at least two bilingual friends´ phone numbers at hand that you can call, even at 8 in the morning (one will be awake, one will be in the shower)
– the general rule in China is that ¨the smaller, the more protected¨. Meaning that whoever´s at fault, the driver/rider of a bigger vehicle will have to pay you compensation and cover all hospital charges. Usually in cash (that´s why sometimes you get to see these wicked people, when slightly hit they quickly realise the ¨great¨ opportunity and start acting up, falling intentionally and most dramatically then spectacularly – clumsily – jump on the bonnet and shoving their bike under the car at the same time. It being so obvious makes it a rather funny scene and provides the neighbourhood an hour-long, free, live and interactive entertainment. This is a regular show here.)
List of useful phone numbers. (my favourite is still the Magic Number 962288. Incredibly kind and helpful, they speak many different languages, willing to tell you which corner to turn in case you´re lost, which bar has afterparties and can even help you explain to the waiter how to say soy sauce in Mandarin. Tried it, worked.)
Baichi! (Buy chih) Idiot!
Naozi huai le ba? (Now dzi hwie luh bah?) Literally means Is your brain broken? Common for idiot.
Erbaiwu (er buy woo) Moron!
Huashan Hospital (English speaking): 215 288 9998
(12 Wulumuqi Road)