Archives For Transportation

Believe me, people living in Beijing know they have a serious problem with air pollution. Not only can you see it, breathe it, and taste it on a bad day, but it is also published in many places. China can go to extreme measures to battle their air pollution problem from the highest levels, and there is something the citizens can do to help daily as well. Would like to know what they are doing?

One Way to Beat Air Pollution

They are riding bikes! Something so simple can get cars and public transportation off the roads ,which will decrease the exhaust and fumes from vehicles. There is a system in China where you can download an app, load money on the system, and then find where the rental bikes are located and help yourself to a bike. Once you are done with the bike, you just park it, and the next person needing a bike in the area can rent it. Once you park the bike, the app will deduct money from your account based on the use of the bike.

One Way to Beat Air Pollution

These bike stands are literally all over Beijing. Hopefully they will help people get where they need to be in a timely manner, and they will improve the quality of the air.

Please don’t think that the air pollution is bad every day in Beijing, because that isn’t how it is. For example, during my last trip I stayed in Beijing for a few days, and the air was fine. Then I went to another city for a few days, and returned to Beijing. During my return to Beijing, the air quality was noticeably worse — so you win some and you lose some with the air quality in Beijing.

When the air pollution hits critical levels, some factories are shut down, and an odd/even system is implemented on when you can drive, based on the numbers contained in your personal information. China also practices cloud-seeding to generate a cleansing rain. The day after it rains the skies are beautiful and blue!

Do you regularly ride your bike anywhere?

One thing that I am not is creative . . . just ask those that know me well and they will verify that. It is interesting to me to see how someone takes something common, and develops a new use for it. Such is the case for a hoverboard. During my last trip to China, I saw a couple of uses for hoverboards that didn’t involve children playing. Would you like to see the new uses for them?

What Would You Do With a Hoverboard?

The gentleman pictured in the photograph above is a delivery man, and what this picture didn’t capture was the speed he was traveling while holding a large box. I can’t imagine how much practice it took to be able to balance on a hoverboard, and hold a bulky heavy box, and be safe! I don’t know if OSHA has come out with a ruling on this particular use for the device!

What Would You Do With a Hoverboard?

The picture above shows a man who I believe was going to work. Apparently he didn’t like to walk the distance he had to travel, so he used a hoverboard. Maybe he had a reasonable distance to travel, and didn’t want to pay to ride a bus, so he used this option. I promise you it was very cold that day, so there was some very good reason for him to choose to be out in the weather!

With all of the trips I have had to China, it is interesting to me that I continue to see new things of interest!

Are your hoverboard skills good enough to navigate the streets in a city of 22 million people while delivering a package?

 

 

Over the last few years, I have noticed a tremendous increase in the number of very impressive cars I have seen in China. The economy has performed at a record pace if you look at the last fifteen years, so now there are many wealthy people willing to invest in amazing automobiles. Would you like to see some of the cars I saw on my last trip?

If You Like Cars

Check out this Bentley parked in front of some small shops near my hotel. This is truly a luxury car, with all the plush bells and whistles you would expect. It made me feel good just knowing there was a Bentley parked so close to me!

If You Like Cars

If you are more into sports cars, how about this Lamborghini? This speedster was parked in an upscale shopping area. When I was walking through the parking lot and took a couple of pictures, the security guards started laughing at me! Either they knew I would never have one, or I wasn’t the first guy to stop and take a picture of this beauty.

If you have a nice car, you may have a little attitude to go with it. Check out this lady riding in a Tesla. Her makeup, hat, and thin cigarette in a cigarette holder let me know that this Tesla was full of attitude and style!

If You Like Cars

One interesting thing to me in regard to automobiles in China — I don’t think I have even seen a used car dealership! By the way, the number of new cars sold daily is staggering. In 2016, the number of new cars sold in China was 28.03 million!

What are some of your favorite cars?

There is a train station I have used many times in the center of Beijing, China, and that is where my sleeper train arrives from another city. I like the sleeper trains because they save money, and you can meet some very interesting people on the trains. On my last trip to China, I used this train station at night to catch my sleeper train to another city. I was amazed by how different the train station, which I have used many times before, seemed; and I got to see a different area than when I arrive in the mornings. Come along on this journey with me!

As Different as Night and Day

This is what the exterior looked like when I arrived at the train station at night. Check out the difference compared to the morning view.

As Different as Night and Day

Once I got inside, I was impressed with some of the craftsmanship within the terminal!

As Different as Night and Day

There was ornate molding everywhere, and some of the columns were gorgeous!

As Different as Night and Day

I have one more photograph to share with you from this adventure, but first I must put this into perspective for you. It was about 10:00 PM when I was there, and the terminal was packed! The waiting areas had no place to sit, because all of the seats were taken, so there were people standing around waiting everywhere you could see. Did I mention it was 10:00 PM?!

As Different as Night and Day

As you can see from the picture above, the ceilings were very high. I would say at least 30 feet! I think it was designed like that for one reason–if everyone inside inhaled at the same time, there would be enough air in the room!

It was very educational for me to see the departure area of this very old and historic train station. My mind can’t fathom how many people use this train station daily and, to carry that thought out, how many people have used this facility since it was built!

All aboard! 

In Beijing, there are many options for transportation even if you don’t own your own car. Obviously, you can walk or take a bike, but many other options exist too. For those who want to avoid some of the street level traffic, you can utilize the subway system. The streets also offer many different types of taxis. You have your traditional cars, smaller bicycle-powered chariots, and motorcycles that are converted into small carts with a cabin mounted on the motorcycle. As with most major cities around the world, Beijing offers an extensive bus system as well.

Today I wanted us to focus on the trolley type of buses used in Beijing. They have long arms extending from the body of the bus to the cables running along the roads above the streets, and they can hold more people than you would think!

Transportation Options in Beijing

Honestly, with all of the cables and wires above the streets, I have no idea of how these keep from getting tangled with other cables, but they don’t. As you can see in the photograph below, the bodies of the trolleys are shaped very similar to a bus.

Transportation Options in Beijing

From someone who once lived in Beijing in the summer, take it from me: when the buses are crowded on a hot day, they can be stifling inside! You can see what I mean in the picture below! I did feel sorry for the lady by the window, as she looked quite cramped and in need of a fresh gulp of air.

Transportation Options in Beijing

One very interesting thing I have seen on buses in Beijing is what I call “slinky” buses. By that, I mean they are extremely long buses, like two buses connected by a flexible middle section. Not only is that impressive, but some of these buses actually have old hardwood floors! I have never seen that on a bus before!

If you use common sense, you should feel safe on the public transportation in Beijing.  I have never had a problem traveling there, and hopefully you won’t either!

Enjoy the trip!

 

Park Transportation

August 16, 2016 — Leave a comment

If you have been reading my blogs very long, you know that the people of China love their parks! They use them for socializing, exercising, practicing singing, dancing, and making music. Today I want to share with you another aspect of using the parks that our Chinese friends enjoy….their transportation within the parks!

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This design for a bicycle built for two is one I have never seen before, but seems quite stable. It even comes with a steering wheel for a baby! The people I saw ridding these seemed to be enjoying themselves very much! To tell you the truth, I didn’t see anyone going very fast on these bikes, so maybe they were built for comfort and not for speed.

The next form of transportation within the park won’t take you very far, though I have seen some trying to go further than planned by the park. The picture below may bring back some wonderful memories for some of you, and it certainly does for me.

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These carts aren’t designed for ramming the other carts, rather they are intended for touring around the open plaza in the park. Maybe that is a cultural difference between East and West! Perhaps this blog will prompt others to take advantage of the parks near them, and when they travel abroad!

One of the things that I try to avoid when I am traveling is being in a hurry to get to a flight. On a recent trip through China, I was unable to give myself the additional time before a flight because security took much longer than anticipated. As we approached our gate, we got their only to learn we would have a slight delay in boarding. As I looked around, there were many families also waiting to board. I can only imagine how horrible those words must sound to people traveling with children. I wondered how you can entertain children at an airport? There is limited space, no toys and a lot of impatient people all around.

TravelChildren1Soon I found two young boys that seemed happy about our delay. I thought that it was a great idea for the parents to give them airplanes to play with. If the children had any hesitation about flying, I am sure having planes to play with helped. Also, having the lights with multiple colors illuminating the planes truly caught the children’s eyes. The boys chose an open area to play, and they didn’t disturb any of the other passengers.

TravelChildren2Once we boarded the plane, I introduced myself to my aisle mate. She didn’t seem too happy about having a foreigner sitting so close to her, but I think she eventually accepted my bald head, blue eyes, and big nose. After using a weird looking guy like me for entertainment, her grandmother found another way to occupy the little girl’s attention. Sometimes you don’t need a toy or anything else to hold the attention of a child and keep them quiet.

As you can see in the picture below, sometimes all you need is a window! I am sure a young mind can find many interesting and new things to see at an airport, just ask my new little friend!TravelChildren3

Cargo on the Bus

December 22, 2015 — Leave a comment

In China, buses are not only used to transport people, but also to move cargo. The top of the bus is considered nothing more than a large storage deck, so why not make some extra money and charge to carry cargo as well? I am amazed by how high workers can stack cargo on a bus, and I am equally impressed by how skilled the workers are in securing the cargo with heavy nets.

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Honestly, I have seen a bus or two that had such high stacks of cargo on them that I had no idea of how they kept from rolling over. I would think the weight distribution is critical for a bus loaded with cargo, and they would have to watch for low overpasses!

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In the rural areas, the bus may make several unscheduled stops to pick up passengers. The people will sit beside the road and wait for the bus to come by.

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When the new passengers are loaded on the bus, their cargo has to be secured. I once saw someone shipping glass windows on a bus. To my surprise, I heard they made it just fine.

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If you ever have the opportunity to travel in China, I would like to encourage you to take a bus……just one time! You will be exposed to a common mode of transportation for most people, and you will get to meet many nice people. Sure, they will look at you funny initially, but then they will become your friend.

 

At the special needs orphanage in China (supported by Global Partners in Life), there are several children that can go to school. The leader of the orphanage had told me on multiple occasions that transportation was an issue for the children. On days when it rained or snowed, it took a long time standing out in the weather with the children to catch a taxi, and that was expensive. Also, she told me that when a child had a medical emergency, she didn’t have a vehicle for transporting a sick child. Additionally, if they needed to go to a store or take something to be repaired, they needed a vehicle for that as well.

vanAfter being made aware of the need and doing some fundraising, I am thankful to say that Global Partners in Life was able to purchase the van so desperately needed at the orphanage! I went with the leader of the orphanage to shop for the van, and you can see the one she chose on the right. The only feature she wanted that wasn’t installed was a DVD player for the children. She said she really wanted the children to be entertained while riding in the van, and I can understand her emphasis on having the children relaxed and quiet while sitting in traffic. Through some lengthy negotiating, we were able to save enough money on the van to have money left for insurance, gas, and maintenance. The salesperson was very nice, and she paid for the DVD player herself after she learned this van would be used for the orphanage!

van2I asked the leader about buying some child seats, and she told me that she knew what they were, but they weren’t used often in China, so she didn’t want to buy any. I also learned that in China you can’t test drive a vehicle. I was told that if we break it, then the dealership can’t sell it. OK, that makes sense, so I used it in negotiating the price. I didn’t see how could they ask us to pay so much for the vehicle without knowing if it worked or not! It was an educational experience for me to say the least.

Recently I spent some time in the Qingdao airport, and a few things stood out to me. The airport was quite clean, and it seemed to be user friendly. I was impressed by that.qingdao1

When I went to the rest room, I noticed a man hard at work cleaning a sink and stocking the dispensers. Also, I noticed how clean the entire restroom was. When I was exiting the restroom, I noticed an area reserved for workers, and this is what I saw mounted on the wall.qingdao2

I am sorry the picture didn’t turn out very well, but as you can see, the bathroom’s custodial team had a schedule and/or a checklist. I like checklists, so this caught my eye. It also looks like the person responsible has their badge with a photograph on it posted. I also like accountability!qingdao3

Another aspect I appreciated about this airport was a designated seating area for someone that may truly need it. As you can see, the list of people represented must truly appreciate this area specifically for their seating.

If your travel plans ever have you passing through Qingdao in the Shandong Province of China, I think you will be pleased with your time in the airport. By the way, Qingdao is where the Olympics sailing events were held during the 2008 Summer Olympics!