06.07.2010 39 °C
Hello again one and all, just taking a quick study break to continue where I left off in the last post. I believe I was at the airport?
Day 1 (cont.): To get from BCIA to the BNU campus, I had to take a taxi. The driver was the first non-English speaker with whom I have ever had to converse, and it was rough. Native Beijingers have an accent that attaches an "r" sound to the end of nearly every sentence, and makes things a bit harder to understand for people like me, who have never heard anything but the official standard Mandarin dialect. Fortunately, the driver was friendly and helpful (Turns out, most Beijingers are!) and he got me where I needed to be without much trouble. I even learned the Chinese word for sedan.
Driving in this city is something else. Traffic laws exist but are scantily enforced, and things like lane markers and streetlights are considered guidelines rather than strict rules. The result, I think, is surprising: drivers here seem far more alert and attentive to their surroundings, especially since about a third of them are professional taxi drivers. Rarely does anyone reach 80 km/h (thirty something mph) and traffic stays quite fluid for the most part. As of now I'd say I feel far safer here than, say, on the streets of a large city in the U.S. like Los Angeles.
Well, study break's over, look for more from me tomorrow!