Two months ago today I flew out of Beijing to begin a longish stint back in the US of A. For a variety of reasons, both personal and professional, I will be based in the US and travel often to China, instead of the other way around — as has been the case for the past 4 years.
I miss Beijing and my friends there A LOT, but following the news out of China last week reminded me of a couple of things that I don’t miss: the pollution and trying to get a taxi.
Chinese air pollution hits record levels — in pictures (The Guardian)
One of my favorite websites, Tea Leaf Nation, did a story on the difficulty of hailing a cab in Beijing, particularly during rush hour in a piece titled “At Rush Hour in Beijing, Riders Beg, and Many Taxi Drivers Say “No.”
This problem had gotten so bad in my neighborhood that it was impossible to get a taxi between 7 and 9AM or between 5 and 7PM. Whenever someone would suggest an appointment at 8 or 9AM my heart would sink because I knew I would have to leave at 630 or 645 if I had any chance of getting out of my neighborhood. And sometimes, even if they were empty cabs on the roads, the drivers would just wave as they drove by.
Two things I really don’t miss….