There is not much to report on in terms of my work at the university. China’s national holiday week has meant that the university is quiet since many students have gone home. I have taken advantage of this week to get the surveys perfected and ready for use and to explore the city a little more. It really is an interesting place to be. Eight to ten million people and their subway/metro has just opened their first line of four this past month. Traveling by subway is a real novelty for most of Xi’an. The public bus system is still the primary means of transport for most. The bus is very inexpensive at 16 – 33cents a ride. Folks in the subway have to use a mechanized self serve ticket purchasing system. Which still means long lines. There are many young people dressed in red vests helping to acquaint the travels with the ins and outs of the metro. Early in the week I jumped onto the metro and headed downtown to see the bell tower and drum tower.

One morning I was walking to the bus stop to catch the bus to the university. In the middle of the intersection just near to my apartment a scooter was stopped and a number of cars were honking. It was obvious that the scooter driver intended cutting across the street. Behind the scooter in the intersection was a fish about a foot and half flopping in the street. At this point I need to share a little more information about car and road culture. There are cars, trucks (both with 4 and 3 wheel types), public buses, regular bicycles, 3 wheeled bikes with a trailer attached for cargo. Most vehicles are used to their capacities since vehicles, gas, tolls and other related costs are expensive. It is not uncommon to see more than the Canadian safe limit of two people on a bike, scooter, etc… Most vehicles are also used to carry bags and boxes. Many times more than what would be safe driving on the chaotic roads.

Well, back to the scooter and the fish in the middle of the intersection. This gentleman had bags and boxes piled up on his scooter. In two of the plastic shopping bags he had filled with fish and tied at the top. One lucky or strong fish had escaped its bag landing on the street. The driver of the scooter or the fisher of fish from the street, grabbed the escapee, packed it in the bag, repiled the scooter, thanked a pedestrian who helped balance his machine so it would not fall over under its weight while chasing his fish and sped away.

Have a great Thanksgiving this weekend!!