The Shanghai Smack-down

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You might be wondering if I’m going to spend the next three years writing about the 911 bus. I might. Although eventually I may no longer be phased by the friendly harassment visited upon me by the old people of China - or maybe I’ll just start dressing my child in a way that they find more acceptable i.e. more clothes, looser socks, none of this fancy sling business.

I wrote a few weeks ago about getting on a particularly peculiar version of my trusty 911 - this time with tables inside and no roof on top. It has become something of a regular on my route. I took a few covert photos last time I was on just in case no one believes me that the bus has tables. It’s hard to take sneaky photos when you’re the only baby-toting foreigner on the route. I probably should have just taken the photos openly but, to be honest, they think I’m weird enough as it is. If you look closely you can also see the shouting bus conductress behind the tv.

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The table-bus has become my favorite way to travel but it wasn’t until yesterday that I found myself on it unencumbered by Baby A and therefore able to check out the roofless upper deck. It’s essentially a dilapidated tourist bus which, presumably, is why there’s no roof. It was a glorious autumnal Shanghai morning. The sun was beaming down and the world was looking very fresh and pretty. I bounded up the stairs of the bus and was surprised to find it totally deserted despite the fact that downstairs was wedged. I had the whole top deck to myself - just me, the breeze and the Shanghai sunshine - bliss! I couldn’t fathom why the Chinese wouldn’t come up here on such a lovely day but they can be peculiar about the elements. As a nation, they’re not very outdoorsy.

So I was happily relaxing on the top deck on my ownsers, peering down at the peeps, soaking up the rays and…wham!…smacked in the face by a branch. Thankfully, all my fellow bus riders were downstairs and my humiliation was therefore without witness. I recovered swiftly but spent the rest of the journey crouched down in the aisle keeping an eye on the various dangling electrical wires and foliage that suddenly seemed closer than would be acceptable to ensure general bodily safety. The lesson of the day was - if the Chinese don’t do something, think about why that might be. Do they not sit upstairs because they’re peculiar about the outdoors or is it more likely because they don’t fancy being beat-down by a tree?

It was an educational experience. I took it on the chin (literally) and dealt with it by doing what one does when one gets bitch slapped by China - turned on country music. Nothing is less China than country.

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