Honk twice if you’re happy.

August 7, 2010




Hating honking with passion, i often found myself throwing random curses in the streets of Athens behind my helmet. Car horn has completely lost the sense of a warning device becoming an extension of road emotions. In Greece it usually translates to stupidity of the caged driver waiting for the green light just to get stuck in traffic a few meters ahead. In China the problem is 10 times worse although in different fashion. Horn here has a bigger pallet of expressive possibilities and you could even distinguish a language behind the tone, repetition and strength of the sound. You can’t escape honking being a pedestrian as every free cab, tricycle or other form of taxi will honk at you, behind you, to you just to double check that you are not looking for a ride, even if you are just walking on the street minding your own business. Second wave is from motorbikes and cars stating their presence when you try to cross a road. The most ridiculous ones are those performed on pedestrians walking on pavements! so the car/electric scooter/tricycle/e.t.c. can run along.

Riding on two wheels again, powered-not by internal combustion (except if you consider the small cell factories burning oxygen inside your body) i still can’t stand people honking aggressively behind me and some times i can’t help but let some Greek curses fly off, old habits die hard. In order to reach the hills of Hangzhou in the other side of the river, the closest option is bridge no. 1. This piece of double decker steel complexion forbids bicycles on the street, but you can tag along riding on a dangerously high pavement (30+cm). The pavement has sufficient width for only one bicycle and you have to be especially careful to balance between car crash on your left and entanglement on the rails to your right, add to that the fact that it gets quite slippery when wet and you have a nice mental image. All the above would be fine but you also have to deal with the pavement intruding electric scooter gang, which usually sticks behind you honking until you submit defeat, stop and let them pass. Governments attempts to ban honking fall in the brown waters of Qiantangjiang river.


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2 Responses to “Honk twice if you’re happy.”

  1. Katerina said

    Yes but then you rest on the shade of the misty trees along the nice-bend stream and all the honk-induced stress goes away!

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