Posted by: suemason | December 7, 2009

moderato in omnibus

Today l took the bus. But first, my outward journey in a taxi took about 20 minutes and cost about 1. 50. The driver in a sort of uniform jacket and wearing white gloves is seated on the left. His chair is partially encased in a plastic bubble, which means that the exchange of fare and receipt requires contortion and skill by both parties. When the meter starts, a friendly recording in English welcomes you and thanks you for taking this company’s cars before urging you to put or your seat belt. However, as the seats are covered in a white sheet, this is an impossible task. The taxi weaves crazily across the lanes with the Passenger clinging on to the grab handle above the door. Until recently, all this activity would also be accompanied by loud regular blasts on the horn. That is now forbidden by law, though it doesn’t take much to irritate a driver into blasting away. The safest way of telling the driver where you want to go is to have the address written in Chinese. The amateur linguist can make Nanjing sound like nanchang to the driver. Their knowledge of the city is excellent but should they get lost the meter is switched off and of course there is no tipping. It’s possible to hire a car and a driver for 50 GBP per day but my favourite means of transport is the bus, packed with commuters, school children, grannies and on one famous occasion, a basket of Chickens. Buses are clean and comfortable (if you can get a seat), and also bilingual. An LED display and a recorded voice announces the stops in English and Chinese. There is a conductor always a female who will swap your flimsy paper ticket for 20p 1/7th of the taxi fare. If the bus is packed the passengers will pass the fair along the bus. Today the bus driver got into a bit of a rage at the shocking lane indiscipline of white van man. I told him not to worry, it happens in the UK too. But he was too busy hurling insults in chinese for all to hear. I added mine in English, to further entente cordiale.


  1. When I click on the “you can visit the North West section’s homepage” on in the Club/diary section I get an error message.


  2. The Compliments of the season to you Joseph. I suspect the following link is the one you are describing and if we do as you suggest and click on the link it tries to take you to what
    was Paul Brierleys, Jowett North West Site. This has been removed, Paul was probably clearing space for his astronomy. The Jowettnet site is owned and run by Keith Clements so I’m afraid I have no control over it. But thank you for your observation and please keep trying the links on the NW region site. It has to be robust enough to stand a good hammering. Those links I can tweak. Thanks again.


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