Saturday, May 15, 2010

People Watching at the Third Ring Road

Crossing the Third Ring Road on the east side of Beijing can be a drag. There is a long wait at the intersection -- at least five minutes -- and at times the bus driver will simply shut off the ignition it's that long. Being stuck there during rush hour can be an eternity.

So there are people who take advantage of the situation. Men and women, young and middle-aged, will walk along the idling cars and stick pamphlets or flyers in the car windows or door handles, creating more trash on the streets. Some men carry giant maps of China rolled up on their shoulders trying to sell them along with odd artifacts. Who sits on the road waiting for the light to turn green and then thinks, "Oh! I need a map of China! And there's a guy I can buy it from!"

Last night I saw an old man begging. He seemed to have come from the rural areas, wearing simple cotton clothing and going car to car, bowing and asking for money; but he didn't seem to be getting much luck.

My friend told me he had seen a Buddhist monk and nun doing the rounds as well, asking for donations and in return getting a card with a blessing printed on it. Who knows if they are legit or not...

Strange things happen at these intersections. You can see a lot because there's always a wait...

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