Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Transit Breakdown

As if transportation in this city weren't bad enough--it's already the most expensive in China.

Jia bought a metro card for me just before the national holiday last week. It was easier to buy it at 7-11, which meant that the 40 kuai deposit is non-refundable (as opposed to the refundable 40 kuai card you can only buy at some office). Anyway, the card had 50 kuai on it for use on the buses and subway. I have managed to use it five times up until today (total journey price: 12.5 kuai). I got on the bus this afternoon and the card didn't work. I kept getting no response.

The bus driver was saying something to me that I didn't understand because it was way to fast to comprehend. So, I decided I had better pay in cash. Of course, my smallest bill was a twenty. I turned around and asked the first person sitting if he had any change (in Chinese, of course). He looked through his wallet and shook he head. To my surprise, four others around him began looking at their funds. Finally, a high school girl came up to me with change and I thanked her. Of course, it still meant that I had to pay double the fair and try to get the other half from a boarding passenger (that's difficult when I don't know how to say, "I already paid, please give your money to me"). Fortunately, it all ended well.

Sometimes when things go wrong I find the best people around here.

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