January 08, 2015 - 8:37 AM
Sales of cars in China grew from around 2 million in 2000 to over 20 million in 2013. The reason is simple: people hate busses, even Chinese people, for whom the bus has long been a faithful conveyor for themselves, their families, their chickens, their pigs.
As soon as they get their hands on a decent sized bag of Yuans, canny Beijingers dash out to acquire a simple personal transportation device made of noodles and duct tape and called a “Beauty Leopard” or “King Kong.” They cost 10 years’ wages, start falling apart on the way home, and if you crash you die, but it’s still better than having to take the bus.
Here, our nannies are forever urging us to leave our cars at home and pay to ride their wretched mobile billboards. Last week I decided in the interests of research (something “journalists” are supposed to do apparently) that I’d give it a go. It was awful. I waited at the bus stop in the cold. It started snowing on my head. The bus was late, filthy, and smelled of wet dog. And they don’t take American Express. As I aimed for a seat the surly driver stepped on the accelerator in order to cut off a motorist and I was propelled toward the back of the bus like a pinball.
I managed to grab the back of a seat and swing myself into the one behind, almost landing in the lap of a young lady. She recoiled, rather rudely I thought. There was a youth opposite wired into a music-playing device; his head was vibrating.
The bus was slow and kept stopping and there was nothing to do. I tried looking out of the window but it seemed to have been painted over and the young lady apparently thought I was looking at her and began searching her purse for some pepper spray. Somebody passed wind. The young lady obviously thought it was me and took out her cellular telephone to summon a police person. I got off at the next stop and walked home.
Cars are what our entire technological progress has been designed to achieve. They describe our freedom, our privacy and our personality. Busses are inconvenient, they get in the way and they smell. Busses are like laxatives, something you use if you absolutely have to, but hope you never do. Unless, of course, your pig grows too big for your Beauty Leopard.
— At least the Grumpy Old Git's wheels still go round and round
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015