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Pedestrian traffic jams and Chinese holidays

Shanghai, P.R.China5.3.2007Tai duo ren. Too many people. A cliche thing to say about the Middle Kingdom but once you are repeatedly in the throngs of pedestrian traffic jams in public streets for a span of two days I think you become entitiled to make this comment. Tai duo ren!! It is the May day holiday [...]

Shanghai, P.R.China
5.3.2007

Tai duo ren. Too many people. A cliche thing to say about the Middle Kingdom but once you are repeatedly in the throngs of pedestrian traffic jams in public streets for a span of two days I think you become entitiled to make this comment. Tai duo ren!! It is the May day holiday in China and the entire country moves to other places. Everybody going everywhere. Especially Shanghai. This holiday just happened to coinside with Mira and my’s slow romp up to Beijing…so it has been really packed going. Long lines and expensive habitations.

I seem to remember every night that I pay over $9 dollars for a place to stay. I don’t know why, but I do. Little scars on the traveller ego I suppose. All the cheap backpacker joints were full in Shanghai this week, and I am not one to ever make reservations, so we had to just wander around the streets looking for a Chinese place that would take us (a special permit is needed for hotels to take foreigners). So, needless to say, I was served a couple more ego scars. Paid 280 RMB (little over $35) for a room one night and 228Rmb ($30) the next. Time to get out of here!

Going up to Tai Shan to climb the most climbed mountain in the world. It is also a fabled place in Chinese lterature, folklore, and colloquilaisms so I figure it may be worth the crowds. Plus I think it funny to watch thousands of people climbing a mountain at the same time. But there is a really good chance that we are going to get there…look at all the people…and turn right around and go a walking by ourselves in the surrrounding hills. That is sounding like a better idea from here…. as I sit in a Chinese telecom office on the packed packed packed with people Nanjing Dong Lu. Yeah, I think I need to get away for a couple of days.

The only problem is that Mira’s bag is packed with her “going home” gear…laptop and all. SO she has a really heavy load and she is way too tough to let me carry it for her sometimes. So we are not too mobile on this little romp.

Mira has turned out to be a pretty tough traveller. Carrying her 50 lbs bag she was pickpocketed while fighting through the crowds to get on a bus a couple of days ago. As soon as she felt the weight of her wallet leave her pocket she promptly turned around and attacked the first person she saw. It was the pickpocketer, so Mira continued plummling him screaming profanities the whole while. He immediately gave her back her wallet, but Mira was not satisfied until she chased him out of the parking lot…screaming at the top of her voice as he ran away. She even scared me a little. “I just didn’t want him to go and pickpocket somebody else.”

Shanghai is neat but that is all there is too it. Neat little neiborhoods scattered in between the highrises, office complexes, and hotels. But two days in and it becomes time to get back on the trail in a big way.

Filed under: China, Other Travelers, Travel Preparation, Urbanization

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3548 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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