Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chinese Holiday Bus Hell (sort of)

I shouldn't complain but unfortunately or fortunately, it is one of those default joys of life.  What I mean is that if nothing good can come from a situation, you might as well complain.  Nothing like getting something off your chest, I say.  It might be a heavy thing that stops you from breathing.  Of course, the letting go of the heavy thing does become someone else's burden which perhaps shows that complaining is a group activity, a shared activity.  So, if no one else shares your complaint, you may end up losing people by complaining.  But sometimes trying to be happy or less unhappy is going to annoy other people.  So, what the hell!

Wednesday was a public holiday in China which meant crowds, crowds, crowds, everywhere.  Crowds in the shops, crowds in the parks, crowds in the streets, but especially crowds on the bus and at bus stops.  It turned out that I had to work on Wednesday morning and Jenny had to work in the afternoon.  As soon as I finished what I was doing, I went to Jenny's place of work to pick up Tony.  I could have taken Tony to a park, but seeing the crowds everywhere made me want to go straight home.  

But it turned out not to be an easy thing to do this day.  I first had to carry Tony on my shoulders, for about five minutes though it seemed longer, from Jenny's work place to the nearest bus stop.  Tony and I waited for about fifteen minutes before our bus arrived but it was packed to the gills and the bus passed the stop without bothering to let anyone on.  

We waited another twenty minutes for the next bus, during which Tony became impatient and whiny, openly acting like I felt but couldn't myself act out.  Tony's whining was getting the attention of the others waiting at the bus stop.  It seems there is nothing better for Chinese to do than look at a foreigner with a whiny child.   Being stared at when I am not happy brings out desires to tell the lookie-lius to go f**k themselves -- always in retrospect, it is not a good thing to do.  And in retrospect this time, I didn't go beyond muttering to myself those filthy words.  

Our next bus came and it was even more packed to the gills than the previous one.  After standing in line to get on the bus, I said f**k it! and decided to do what I should have done after the first bus passed:  I took Tony to a stop that was earlier in the line to increase our chances of actually being able to get on.

Walking towards that stop, Tony kept whining and muttering Momma!  Momma!  Momma!  Being back at Mom's workplace seemed a better option than waiting a long time for a bus and then being carried about by an indecisive father.  Tony then saw a train pass -- we were walking parallel to a train line.  Tony wanted me to stop to watch the trains, but I continued on to the bus stop.  As  I arrived there, after some hemming and hawing, I decided I would take Tony to a pedestrian tunnel going under the train track to afford Tony more opportunities to see trains and placate him.  After we passed through the tunnel, I saw a road which I thought could lead to a good vantage point to watch trains.  We took the road, crossed a busy six lane road and found a grassy knoll from which we could see trains pass up only thirty meters away.

I was able to take some good trainspotting video for a future Scenes from my Life in Wuxi, China video.  Tony got off on seeing the trains pass by so closely.

We then went to the nearest bus stop and were just able to get on a bus without having to wait at all.  The bus was so packed that Tony and I had to stand on the bottom step of the entrance onto the bus which the way the waiting had been going, was not a bad thing.  And it turned out that a few stops later someone yielded the seat to Tony and me.

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