After work today I experienced my first rush hour in the subway.
From my office, I can take a bus to Yong He Gong (Lama Temple) station which is in the north eastern part of the city. When I went southwards to Jianguomen, one of the major subway transfer stations, it was completely packed. There were crowds of people everywhere trying to get onto the east-west subway line... and with my luck, in the same direction as me.
I watched as people from behind pushed others to squeeze them into the train. Then the subway staff tried to get everyone to stand back so that the train could leave the station.
Unfortunately, Beijing's subway isn't as efficient as Hong Kong's so there was a bit of a wait for the next train, and of course more people waiting to get on.
So when it finally came, I did manage to get into a subway car, but not without being pushed forward by others. We were mashed in there like sardines and it was difficult to move or hold on to something. We had no choice but to sway with the subway.
I grabbed my bags and hugged them as close to my body as I could. Now I know what it's like for Japanese women on crowded subways. You wonder whose butt is rubbing up against yours!
I got off two stops later, but not without having to elbow my way out of the train.
I don't think I could handle rush hour on the subway everyday. I think I'd get underground rage.