My first China injury… *sigh*. What with all the pushing and shoving and hitting, I guess I should consider myself lucky no blood was drawn in the (almost) 6 months that I’ve been living in Shanghai. Until last week.
You see, I like taking the bus to/from work. I recognise that we live in an expat area, hang out with expat friends, and tend to go to/eat at nice expat places. It’s nice, and without that I’d go insane, but I still like to “live like a local” sometimes.. no matter how deluded that thought may be :P So we also visit local street-side food joints, and take public transport to/from work (but not on weekends, where it’s taxi-time!).
Taking the bus to work is like being in an alternate universe. It’s pretty shit. Can’t think of any other way to put it, sorry! Walking to the bus stop is stressfull, with people pushing and shoving on the pathways and bicycles on the sidewalk nearly hitting you (or sometimes they do). The air is dirty because its’ right by the road, and the street itself is dirty (I always have black feet by the end of the day if I wear open-toed shoes).
But that is NOTHING compared to what you face once you’re at the bus stop. The moment the bus appears, people RUN out onto the highway in a frantic rush. Like they’re going to die if they stand at the bus stop and form an orderly queue. So the bus is pulling up on the main road, people are RUSHING out onto the main road with cars and bikes whizzing past… and guess what? I have to do the same!! Because if I don’t, the bus picks up the people that have rushed onto the middle of the road, closes the door and drives off…. leaving me standing on the sidewalk like a (well-mannered) fool.
And so everyone rushes to the door. That’s when the all-out shoving starts. Regardless of whether the bus is completely empty or completely full, people will FRANTICALLY PUSH AND STRUGGLE to be the #1 person up the bus. Why? I have no friggin’ idea!!! Nobody gets a seat anyway, so why bother hitting and pushing? I’m not talking about a little shove. I’m talking about an angry, hateful MASSIVE SHOVE/HIT. People are scowling, people are hitting, everyone has their elbows out… and guess what? It takes FOREVER to get onto the bus. In Australia, everyone queues in a line and gets on the bus, and that system actually means everyone gets onboard faster than if everyone crowds around and hits and pushes each other.
So usually I’m not in the mood to being whacked, and politely stand aside and let them cram/push/hit/shove each other to board the bus. I’m not the only one by the way. I’d say maybe 70% of people act like rabied animals, and 30% are polite and also stand aside and orderly board the bus. However, the 30% of us face another stressful predicament – often the bus fills up, and the driver shuts the doors and drive off! Nice reward for being polite, huh ;)
So that fateful day, I let everyone on board the bus… realised the driver was gonna close the doors, and quickly hopped up the bus. It was P-A-C-K-E-D. I basically had my nose right up against the doors, standing on the bottom step. That’s fine and all (I’m used to being PRESSED RIGHT UP against me now)…. but then when he opened the doors at the next step, my foot got caught under the door!!!!!!
I *screamed* in pain and screamed and screamed and screamed. And the idiot bus driver didn’t do anything but said something angrily/swore in Chinese. Finally, he closed the doors again and my foot came free. You’d think he’d apologise, or at least ask how I was, but nup. He was pissed cos I oh-so-unreasonably didn’t allow the doors to open. When my foot was caught for that 10 seconds, all I could think was “I think the door’s actually going to pull off my entire foot”, that’s how huge the pressure was.
Turns out it didn’t, but it did take off half my shoe (shredding and destroying my EXPENSIVE leather shoes) and the top part of my foot was crushed. Couldn’t walk for ages so just sat on the curb side in a bit of a daze. Now, about 3-4 days later, the top part of my foot is still incredibly sore and I can’t touch it (also can’t wear shoes that touch that area). But really, I’m just appalled and disgusted something like this can happen.
It’s really taxing starting AND ending your day with a scowl on your face, after having been shoved and hit. It’s even more taxing when you actually get physically hurt and bleed from it. Sometimes, I don’t even know why I bother.