by Alex Orgler

I am in Shanghai for nearly one month now. The time runs so fast. I and the others from our university already made so many experiences here. It is really a cultural shock, if you never have been to China before. Over all the traffic. Everybody just drives. Nobody really cares for traffic rules. That wouldn’t be possible in Germany or Austria. The scooter drivers don’t wear any helmet and sometimes there are three of four persons on one scooter. If the police would see something like this in our country – you would lose your driving license immediately! One of us were almost hit by scooters. The scooters even pass a bus on the right side when the bus drives into a bus stop. If you see that you think that they don’t like their lives and that they want to die. On one day we saw two scooters crashing into each other. Both fell on the street. The one stood up and just drive away and the other got up some minutes later and kept on driving. So bizarre! That would not happen at home. It would be hit-and-run driving.

Busses are also a case sui generis. If you cross a street in front of them, they would never stop. One of us had already luck that she isn’t dead now! The busses also crowded most of the time. And it is not “crowded” like we know it from Salzburg. It’s crowded in that sense that you can’t move anymore..not even your leg or arm. If you are unlucky you don’t reach the exit door to get out at your stop. You learn really soon to use your elbows here and to take off your good manners. The same with the metros. The people apparently never learned to first let the people get out of the train. They immediately flow into the metro and if they are in they don’t move again, even if they are standing in the way and there are still people outside who wants to get in. Really funny are the moments when one seat in the metro gets free. They struggle for the free seat and thereby it’s like the survival of the fittest. There is no “Ladies first” or kind of that. Sometimes they give at least the free seat to the elder people – but in very rare cases. But in general the people are not hectically in the metro station as you know it from Munich or other cities. Maybe because it’ s not possible here. You can’t stand on just one side of the stairways so the others who are faster can overtake somebody. That’s not possible here because there are too many people maybe. But you also don’t see that out of rush-hour. Above all it is an experience that should be made if you are in Shanghai – always taking the taxi – that is cheap in comparison to Europe – is boring. It is interesting to watch but you have to be carefully and attentive in every minute you are walking around.