The city of Kunming – capital of the south-western Chinese province of Yunnan – has around 7 million residents. It is more known for its traffic, with over 1,000 cars added to the already overcrowded roads each and every day.
Now, I see a few pretty mean feats of driving living here in Shanghai on a pretty much daily basis – and when I say “mean feats”, I mean “hideously dangerous manouevres that would be unthinkable in most civilised countries”. However, I’m yet to see someone so pissed off at being perennially stuck in traffic that they snap and attempt to drive up and over a pedestrian bridge in order to avoid the traffic on the roads. Amazingly, he succeeded, though not without pissing off a whole bunch of people along the way.
This guy has made a bit of a name for himself after somebody recorded him on their mobile phone, and the video is flying around the internet in China at the moment. With his license plate clearly visible in the video, I’m sure he’ll get his comeuppance (or perhaps he’ll be rewarded for his ingenuity). Let’s just hope that nobody else tries to emulate his shortcut. Here’s the video.
Notice how he has a staredown with a guy carrying a baby about 1:20 into the video, who eventually yields and allows him to begin his ill-conceived descent. Nice.
This douchebag is one of many people in China to drive a Volkswagen Santana. I’ve never heard of this car before I moved to China, but apparently it’s based on the Passat. Pretty much every taxi here in Shanghai is a VW Santana, and they suck. My opinion of them may have more to do with the mental taxi drivers constantly weaving clumsily through traffic at unreasonably dangerous speeds, but I never really feel safe in one. I’ll probably do a post in the future dedicated solely to my experiences as a scared shitless passenger in the back of a Shanghai cab, as well as Chinese attitudes towards driving in general. I’ve only been involved in one car crash so far, but something tells me I’ll be involved in a fair few more for as long as I’m living here.
In fact, Yáng Méi, my Chinese teacher, has told me that whenever she takes a taxi here, she gets in, tells the driver where she wants to go, and closes her eyes until they arrive at the destination. Not a bad idea, to be honest.