Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Chaos in the streets!

The way from the campus of my university to the waterfront leads down the long, steep hill I recently posted pictures of, then it turns sharply down another narrow alley. This is the street at the bottom of the hill. Those of you who have been following this blog for a while may recognize the signs on the left, for the new condo complex currently under construction. The sign reads, in English, "It is metropolis apartment and luxurious houses in essence."

Note how narrow and crowded this small street is. Traffic sometimes can be crazy through here -- and in the usual Chinese way, the sidewalks are very iffy. At several points, one has no choice but to walk in the street because there are obstacles on the sidewalk.

The narrow lane ends at Zhong Shan Lu ("Middle Mountain Avenue"), the major street that runs all the way to downtown Dalian seven or eight miles from here.

Where the two streets meet, there is a gathering of roadside vendors selling everything from seafood of questionable quality, to tennis-shoe insoles marked with fake "Hello Kitty" logos, to illegal knives. There is also a long row of motorcycle taxis, a concept which I find perversely fascinating. This is taken looking back from Zhongshan Lu toward the construction site.

Some of the motorcycles are decorated with fancy lighting, painted gas tanks, ornate crocheted seat-covers, and LED's running up and down the exhaust pipes. They're quite something to see at night.

Coming back from the waterfront that evening, I encountered a dreadful pedestrian traffic jam as I passed the row of motorcycles. The road was clogged with traffic, so pedestrians could barely make headway. At one point, the roadway was so congested that either pedestrians could go, or a single car could go (one way or the other). How do you fight with this?!

It turns out that there are two conflicting construction sites. The "It is metropolis apartment..." high-rise on the one side of the street is now matched by this, on the other side:

Note that there are no barricade walls to separate passing pedestrians from the potential harm and death of an open construction pit. See earlier rule: There are too many of you, and if you get yourself killed you will be doing the Chinese gene pool a favor.

There seems to be no restriction on where a car can park in this city. So in the midst of all this back-and-forth construction traffic, here was someone's Volkswagon, happily parked against the wall. Never mind that it's causing a huge traffic disruption — there's no law against it.

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