Pool II and Intersection Warden

Pool Addendum

Today, above mentioned workers took care of the other half of the pool. And it seems that they learned their lesson: Again the night before some ice grew on the water’s surface. Not as much as before, but something. And they started their activities in the part of the pool which was hit by the sun first. No smashing of ice, no heaving of buckets, they could start with their mops and cleaning machines nearly right away! Some light at the end of the tunnel…

Intersection Warden

But I should finally mention one of the highlights of each bus trip in the morning. I’m really looking forward to this one every single day. Even if I doze off a bit during the ever same bus ride I’m fully awake when arriving there. (OK, nearly unavoidable, as we have to pass some bumpers right before that place and its short before our destination anyway.)

Well, there is this intersection, which is quite busy in the morning. Most intersections in the outskirts of Shanghai are huge. Streets are huge, come to that. But intersections give even more room. That is necessary given the driving style. I’m still unsure if there are any rules regarding the right of way of vehicles turning left versus the oncoming traffic. It seems whoever is first is right. Thus, cars need room to dodge each other. You see, there are some things to regulate.

And here my favorite morning event comes in: This intersection of question is actually equipped with trafic lights. Traffic lights are being obeyed, even in China. So there is a regulation. Still, I don’t know why, maybe to underline the fact of existing traffic rules, there is a man. Every morning the same, I swear! One lonely fellow in the middle of the intersection. Not on a platform or the like, just plain on the concrete of the street. Wearing a grey security guard or traffic warden uniform, but not police. Standing still. Absolutely still. Like a soldier. Then the moment I’m waiting for: The traffic lights turn, and with them in the same moment my man: He dashingly (“zackig” would be the appropriate German term) turns 90 degrees towards the street now facing the red traffic light, puts both feet parallel again, then dashingly raises is right arm straight up, palm facing the cars, imperiously ordering the cars to a stop, then lowers the arm in a last dashing move down, standing straight again and waiting for the traffic lights to turn again. In the meanwhile cars are rushing past him, before him, around him, only centimeters away, in a seemingly chaotic way. But they miss him. Small taxis, medium-sized busses like ours, and really huge trucks likewise. The drivers must sense him, but otherwise don’t get too cautious. My man waits totally unimpressed until his next big moment comes. And then he turns…and raises his arm…and turns…and raises…

Unfortunately, we always pass the intersection within one traffic light period. I haven’t yet figured out if my man keeps turning to the same direction, thus facing each street after four turns, or if he merely alternates between two positions. And that bothers me.

But I will see him again. Tomorrow. Sure as the amen in the church. And maybe I’ll find out…

Categories: Shanghai

Originally Created: 02/03/2005 04:25:45 PM
Last Edited: 02/03/2005