January 3, 2009

Crazy Taxi Day

We went out on our Wednesday morning date this week and walked around in the snow. We saw the snow sculptures on campus stopping to take a lot of photos. You can check out the photos by clicking the link at the top of the page. We were just generally out and about and decided to go to a great import store just up the road from our apartments. We jumped in the taxi and slowly drove the straight shot to the store (slow because of the extra icy and slick roads).

We ran around the store to grab the items we needed and rushed back to catch a taxi home. Our babysitter only has so long with the baby before we needed to be back. We walked to the corner and tried to hail a taxi. Several empty taxis simply waved as they drove past us. Then some stopped only to wave us off after learning where we were heading. (We only wanted to go back home straight down the street for maybe 5 minutes, a minimum ride of 8 RMB.)

We were beginning to think that maybe the USA did something that China was protesting by not giving us a ride. We waited some more only to see a Chinese lady and her small child denied access to a taxi. So now it was not because of being a foreigner.

Needing to get home quickly we just decided to jump on a bus to come home. But there is no bus that goes straight down the road to our apartments and we didn't know where we might end up if we got on the wrong bus. So we asked some Chinese friends which bus takes us to Wal-Mart (located about halfway home) and jumped on that bus. We then changed buses and made it home. While waiting at the second bus stop, we say 4 elderly Chinese men refused a taxi ride even after one of them was already in the back seat.

Talking with our teammates we learned the phenomenon was city wide as he also had trouble getting taxis. We will never know what the issue was, only that it affected us and our mobility around town.

Update: The taxis have since returned to full and normal operations.

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