Monday, September 12, 2005


The car is a recent phenomenon in China and is still driven according to cycling rules, where it is acceptable to overtake on either side, hop up onto the pavement or take risky shortcuts.

About fifty percent of the vehicles in Chongqing are taxis and so they also have an influence on the general traffic flow. As they charge by distance travelled as opposed to journey time, it is in their interest to complete the journey as quickly as possible, and so they weave in and out of the traffic using their horns to make their presence known as if they were competing for fastest public service driver. lt can be an exhilarating ride and is well worth the fare in terms of excitement factor alone. Most surprisingly, all the cars seem to be free from dents.

To hear the city before the morning build up of traffic one must be out on the streets before 6:30am. At that time the main traffic sound is just an occasional engine and accompanying klaxon, but within an hour this builds up to a noisy backdrop that continues in intensity until around 10pm, when over the next four hours it reduces to its occasionally sounding status.