The Bus: Beijing

Bus Stops are easily moveable. Just because the 944 stop on this corner today doesn't mean it will be there tomorrow

Bus Stops are easily moveable. Just because the 944 stop is on this corner today doesn’t mean it will be there tomorrow

The bus is so crowded with bodies I wonder how any more can squeeze in but they do and the small attendant with the harsh high thin voice moves through. She always knows who has paid and who has yet to pay. I hold on tight to the high rail as the bus wobbles back into traffic, the driver laying hard on the horn to let others know to make way.
Other vehicles /cars, motor bikes, three wheeled motorized-and non motorized carts, bicycles/ honk in reply.

Whenever a driver (bus, auto, other) pulls into traffic on the narrow road an accidental death is a possibility.
In Beijing traffic you only pay attention to what is ahead of you. Drivers are constantly being cut off and worse. but every body honks or beeps to make their others aware of the ensuing action. The roads are kind of noisy.

As the bus travels west, or maybe it’s east, we pass miles of
garrishly colored, shabby shops wth laundry hung out on the fences that surround them, and women in doorways squat to scrape vegetables for lunch.

Fairly often in the long line of shops you will see an ornate metal gate thats wide enough for 3 or 4 cars to pass through. Inside, around a parking lot you see more small shops of the same type as on the road.

The road is two lane blacktop, more or less. we cross a small canal, then a rail road , then a forested area. Beijing is heavily forested.

What’s odd about it is that the trees are of the same age and type,and  planted in rows. they all appear to be 30-40 years old. I have read that, during The Great Leap Forward, all the trees were cut down to fuel the furnaces to melt ore (and household pots and pans) for steel. So these are about the right age to have been planted after that disastrous time.beijing forest

September 2007

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