Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Commute from Hell

This morning it took me one hour and 30 minutes to get to work.

It started off badly when I walked out from my apartment to the main street to catch and taxi and none were around.

When I finally did flag one down just after 8am, we began inching our way along the heavily-congested freeway. I wondered what was going on, but the taxi driver said nothing so I thought I wouldn't overreact and just be patient.

At 8:35am we finally made it to the exit to get to the street I need to go to, but traffic was at a standstill. Even the buses, which usually get priority, or at least muscle their way through, weren't moving. After several cars in front of us left the lineup, we found out that a policeman was barricading the exit with a temporary gate. This was just after 9am.

Again no explanation.

So we continued down the freeway to the next exit and turned around to get back to where we needed to turn.

I thought I would be in the office in 10 minutes. Wishful thinking.

After we turned onto the street where my office is, the traffic again stopped. Buses let people get off and masses off them walked to their destinations.

On the one hand I think, how can anyone stand this ridiculous traffic? How does anything get done in this city? Why isn't the government doing anything about transportation planning, or more importantly the number of cars on the roads?

And then I see people wait patiently and I consider, well, if no one else cares, why should I? If I'm late for work, it's not my fault.

It turns out because of the heavy rains last night some power lines went down on the street where my office is, which caused parts of the road to be shut down. I certainly didn't hear about it this morning!

I arrived at the office at 9:35am and 53RMB (US$6.92) lighter. I wonder if I'm ever going to break this record of the worst commute so far.

And for the record, yesterday's cab ride was just over 20 minutes and 24RMB.

PS. The weather didn't clear up today. In fact it just started raining this evening again and I was caught in the shower on my way home from the gym.

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