How to: Confuse the traffic in your hometown

It’s rush hour, and I’m crossing the road with my bike, standing there looking at the cars looking at me, all of us wondering why the other isn’t going. I’d stopped in the middle of the crosswalk to wait for the line of cars turning right to finish. I’d assumed they weren’t going to wait for me to finish crossing.

I try to wave the first car through, but he doesn’t go until I look away. But the next car tries to wait for me, too. I look away and wave him through, wondering what the chances are of getting two overly-polite drivers in a row.

They were waiting for me, of course, because I was in the crosswalk and pedestrians have right-of-way. Right of way? For pedestrians? Traffic rules? I thought being in the way gave you right of way. It was so weird to see cars actually voluntarily stop to make way for anything that for a moment I didn’t know what to do. But that’s how it works; I asked my dad when I got home.

In Tianjin if we want the cars to stop for us we just step in front of them and force them to stop, or at least swerve, or adjust their trajectory. But in Surrey, crosswalks are magic!

My autopilot needs to be reprogrammed, apparently.

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5 thoughts on “How to: Confuse the traffic in your hometown”

  1. That is one thing that really surprised Leslie in Sweetwater. When she started walking to work, people would stop for her and wait patiently when she was still half a block away from the intersection. She has even had people offer her rides for the short walk. She was completely amazed!

  2. TOTALLY! Such a funny idea. you could wait all day on the street in Shanghai if you are not assertive. Back home in the US I forget that when I drive… I forget that in America you MUST give the pedestrian the right of way. Then people give me dirty looks… not in China!

  3. it’s almost scary how you can get so used to another way of doing things that you forget how to do it back ‘home,’ and need a week or so to remember stuff that used to be second nature.

  4. hello~~dear Joel & Jessica~~i am too busy to come here visit you :p(sorry) becuse i am learnimg in theological school this year~~please pray for me~~ i pray for you too ~~hahaha~~ dear brother in taiwan

  5. 心浩,

    你好!太长时间没见你。我很高兴收到了你的消息。

    我们当然会记得你。你有空的时候应该发给我电子 邮件告诉我你学习的经历怎么样。请你替我们对在你 那里的大家说“你好”和“我们真想念你们!”

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