Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Pictures and Stories to Share - May 15 @ 7:00 p.m.

Andy, Mr. Li, and Laura in the Hill's apartment on our last night.

These were the sorts of traffic conditions that Mr. Li had to deal with!

One of the many advantages to visiting China while my relatives lived there was the fact that they have a driver. This meant that instead of having to learn the subway system, chase down taxis, and learn our own way around town, we could just tell Mr. Li where we needed to go and he would figure out how to get us there. Mr. Li would tell us how many minutes it would take, warn us about traffic jams, take us to places with safe food for our delicate Western stomachs, and deal with the craziness that is driving in Shanghai!

The rule about driving in Shanghai is that you don’t follow the rules. The drivers, most of whom are full-time drivers, are not aggressive, but they are very opportunistic and very defensive. I watched Mr. Li move his hand to prepare to honk the horn or flash his lights as he made a left on red in an intersection, drove our van down the bike lane, and avoided collisions with the millions of pedestrians, bikers, and scooter riders on the roads. He had go be prepared for road construction with no warning signs whatsoever, traffic using the road in the opposite direction, and all sorts of distractions that would have confused me or caused a wreck. Mr. Li was not only a good driver, he became a very memorable part of our trip. He was our guide through Shanghai with all of its cultural differences, wonder, a beauty. When he dropped us off at the airport, he told us, in his limited English, that he and all of China were happy that we had been able to visit. While I’m sure that is a bit of an exaggeration, it was wonderful to have a Chinese friend and guide.

Laura and I would like to invite all those who are interested to join us so that we may share more memories of Mr. Li and our time in China. Please join us at Good Shepherd on Monday, May 15th at 7:00 p.m. We will share some pictures, videos, and a bite or two of Chinese food. If you can’t make it, or you’d like a preview of the pictures, click on the China Trip Photos link in the Links section to see some of our almost 700 pictures! If you are thinking of coming, don’t worry, we won’t show all 700. We’ll plan on being done around 9:00 p.m.