Monday, September 20, 2010

Having an hour commute to work and an hour commute back home, I've become very familiar with the Shanghai metro system. It is very efficient and one of the best in the world. With over 24 million people living in Shanghai, millions use the metro as their source of transportation. Regardless of what hour of the day it is, the metro is constantly filled with people pushing and shoving to get a spot, with the prize possession being an actual seat. It amazes me the types of unintentional games that you play on the metro. When a person stands up out of their seat to leave, it is like a game of musical chairs, As the person gets up, it is like that last split second where the music stops and it is a mad dash to get the last chair. Regardless of what age, size, gender, people will push and shove in hopes to get the seat. It was just the other day that I saw an old lady and a guy  push people out of the way and then dive for the final seat on the train. With the guy eventually winning(of course), the woman  yelled some fierce words that I couldn’t understand and then slapped him. With that kind of demeanor, someone so generously gave up their seat for the lady.
            Once accepting that you wont get a seat, you must stand holding on to the bar, getting nice and close to those sitting down. Yesterday, I was sitting as a guy standing next to me crept up and  bumped my knee. Startled, I looked up at him and he looked down at me, and that’s when it began. A Staring match of all staring matches. An eye for and eye. Starring back and forth for at least 2 metro stops. Eventually I had to bail and look away as it was a bit award and I didn’t want to give him the wrong impression. For the first time in a long while I lost a starring match but I felt he had the upper advantaged as he peered down on me.
            Many times it is as hard to get off the metro as it is to get on. With everyone pushing and shoving eager to get on the metro, it causes a traffic jam. Initially I let people go first but after almost missing my stop multiple times and getting shoved/kicked one too many times, I decided enough was a enough and it was now survival of the fittest. Being much bigger and stronger than a large population of the people, I use my body as a wrecking ball trying to break through the  crowd of people. It feels like I am back in time reliving my football days as I try to break through the gaps and into the open field. With my arms up at my chest, I  begin my power walk barreling through whatever is in my way. Remembering the oh so often phrase “keep moving your feet, don’t stop”, by Coach Weisbrodt, my feet are still trucking as I hit the traffic of people. With a  few bumps and shoves getting pinballed back and forth. I bust free and I'm finally off to my destination.

 Just a peak at how packed it gets. I found this on youtube but it gives you an idea

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