Taxis and Rain
12 Sep 2005
Yesterday as I rode in a taxi through Xujiahui I was glad that I was not one of the many people trying in vain to hail a cab. It can be extremely hard to find a taxi when it rains. Sometimes it’s completely impossible.
A thought struck me, so I asked the driver:
> Me: Master*, do you like rainy days better or non-rainy days better? On rainy days you get more business, right?
> Driver: With traffic like this, the rain doesn’t do that much for business. I can only get a few fares anyway, with all the traffic I have to sit in.
> Me: Well what about rainy days when the traffic isn’t bad?
> Driver: The traffic’s bad even when it doesn’t rain. When it rains it’s even worse.
> Me: Well what about late at night when it rains?
> Driver: Yeah, I guess business is a little better than usual then.
> * In China, drivers (and many other blue collar workers) are addressed as shifu, which is the same way students address their kung fu masters. I always get a little kick out of calling a taxi driver or a plumber a word that can be translated as “master.”
The typhoon is upon us here in Shanghai. What an auspicious sign for my first week of classes. This week I don’t actually have my first class until Thursday, though.