Saturday, April 10, 2010

...And Today's Transportation Is?

For overseas workers like me, traveling is such a natural part of the lifestyle that we don’t really think much about it. I am used to finding the cheapest way to get from Point A to Point B, often times using the ‘shoe leather express’. In America the standard mode of transportation is a car. It’s a right of passage for every 16-18 year old to obtain their license. In fact we think it’s a little weird if they don’t have one. In more populated cities public buses or subways are options, but I think that it’s much more common to own at least one vehicle...and we pride ourselves on what kind of v ehicle that is. When I left for China I sold my car and haven’t driven since. By the time I come home for a visit, my license will be expired and I will not have been behind the wheel for more than 2 years. I am used to riding my bike everywhere, using the basket to carry my daily necessitiesand calculating the time it will take to get from one spot to another. I only take a bus or a taxi when it’s too stinking cold to pedal, even with 2-3 layers of clothes on or when the destination is too far to bike and I have too much junk to carry. Planes on the other hand are the preferred choice when the time is short and the destination is long. I have taken overnight trains (18-24 hours) and have lived to regret it. I mean seriously! How do big, tall Americas sleep on short, narrow, hard sleepers designed for Chinese travelers? Not very well! I have ridden in rickshaws, motorized trolleys, on ferries, in the back of cattle trucks, and on bullet trains. The goal is the same no matter what you take...try to get to where you’re going safely, cheaply and quickly~if possible. I have been doing a lot of long distance traveling lately and to be honest I'm exhausted! Today in fact, I left a small island outside of Hong Kong, walked 25 minutes to a ferry, took the ferry to Hong Kong Central where I grabbed a taxi to a long distance bus going to the airport. I had a 4 hour flight to Beijing but still had to boarded yet another airport shuttle back to Tianjin where I could taxi back home. The whole ordeal took me 16 hours! Can you imagine? Am I incredibly thankful for ways to get to where I need to go? Of course! Think about how difficult travel used to be for overseas workers. Many left home and never made it back alive. Yes, I sometimes complain that life isn’t the easiest having to monkey around all the time with the logistics of travel, but the truth is I’m still lucky. In an emergency I can get home on an 18 -24hr. flight and that’s way better than coming home on the slow boat from China.



Barb said...

Love you, Lindy!