Hello From Beijing

I am in Renaissance Beijing Hotel now. The trip was pleasant and the 1100 KM or two hour flight from Shanghai to Beijing wasn’t boring. The flight attendants of China Eastern Airlines were interesting this time. They seemed very happy and even laughed when people talked with them. I believe they must have broken some so-called working standard of the airline. But I feel good (along with other amused passenger) that they behaved more like human instead of trained emotionless robots. In Shanghai, I took the time to take a lot of photos of Hong Qiao Airport so I can create a photo website for this older airport as I did for Pudong Airport.

Beijing is not as cold as I expected. I took heavy clothes only to find I sweat heavily here.

Stepping out of the airport, I began to wander how I should go to downtown. Taxi station is on the left hand and the airport bus stop is on the right.

I finally chose to go right. My destination is the San Yuan Bridge. It is the exit of the airport exit. So it is almost the nearest destination for a taxi driver. Considering any taxi driver should have waited in the long line for at least 3 hours, I hesitate to call a taxi. My trip only takes about 60 RMB. It seems I am the Mr. Un-Fortune. Whose car I get on board, whose whole day’s good mood would be messed up.

I would rather take a bus out of the airport and call a taxi there. Am I doing a favor for the taxi drivers? Maybe yes, maybe not. If more people like me take buses instead of taxi, the time they spend next time would be longer and their business will be worse. :-( There should be a seperated team to serve short distance passengers dedicated to protect the taxi driver, like Shanghai does.

Anyway, the airport bus is always a very good option since it is cheap, it is large and it is also fast.

Arriving at hotel, it is already 10:00 PM. I am feeling good for “saving a taxi driver”.

14 Comments

  1. Anyhow, you can take some private un-marked taxi (so called Hei Che). Which is just waiting no more than half hour and without any mark as a taxi. It cost less than real taxi if you share with others.

  2. Well. It is even more unfair for the taxi drivers since they pay tax and pay for the administration cost of a company while the unlicensed taxi drivers don’t.

  3. u r so funny:P

  4. u r so funny:P

  5. JianShuo,

    Your awareness of reasoning and fairness always supprised me since you never live in western country for a pro-long period of times. I wish China would be a much better place if more people think like you.

    K

  6. Hi, K, thanks for posting comments. However, I do sense a little bit of the meaning implying people in China are not as reasonable and fair as in western countries. I have to disagree on this point. From thousands of years ago, at least from hundredes years B.C., Chinese people as using the term of “Jiang Xin Bi Xin” (meaning to be at others shoes to think). I am just a very common person without anything strange – it is the common sense here.

  7. Jian Shuo,

    Let me clarify a few things first so we can make the discussion a little bit easier.

    1) I am Chinese myself, currently live in U.S.

    2) I am proud as you are as a Chinese citizen with strong culture root.

    The evidence that you are a little bit fairer than lots of the Chinese:

    1) The Xbox game you play with is not pirated version. (Based on previous blog)

    But Lots of Chinese do.

    2) The reason you took the bus instead of the taxi is because you want them to have better chance to get a bigger fare.

    I think most of Chinese probably will take the bus because it is cheaper if it can not be reimbursed.

    The scientific evidence western (developed) countries are more fair than developing countries.

    I remember reading an article in Wall Street Journal a couple years ago. The story is base on one researcher designed psychological test. The test is very simple and interesting. He will select two people for each test. And give the first person one hundred dollar. Then ask the first person to give any portion of the money to the second person,

    However if the second person is not happy what he got, he can reject the money so the first person can not get any money. What he found out is that the more industrial developed country the higher percentage of money the first person gave to the second person. The lowest score is one of the African tribe and Asian score in the middle. The conclusion of the paper is that free market will make people more fairly minded.

    I think for a country becoming strong and mature we must be very confident and at the same time be very critical to ourself.

  8. Two years ago I did take an unmarked taxi or heiche once in Beijing Airport. It was late at night and I was really tired from a very short trip visiting my parents in the south. So I took whatever the first guy showed to me. I didn’t know what’s going on until I saw the unmarked car. It turned out that guy who introduced me to the car was paternering with the driver as a guide. I guess the guy would get a cut from the driver on the cab fee. Anyway, it was not a long drive since I stayed at Holiday Inn. The driver complained me that he had to wait for such long time and would not make much money for thr trip. I ended up paying him more than Y100 to shut him up, and he gave me a blank receipt! I told him that he had to write and sign the receipt since it would be false document for me to write whatever the fee was.

    The trip was so short and tightly scheduled that I didn’t have time to digest all the changes has been in the whole city since I left 12 years ago.

    Last year I booked the trip again, but SARS changed all that. We changed our original plan of visiting Beijing. Instead, we stayed in Shanghai for a week. Shanghai has changed so much for the better. This was first time I actually got to know Shanghai and went to many nice restaurants compared to many other trips where Shanghai was just a port of entry or exit:-)

  9. sv, just a kind advice that NEVER take any unlicensed (unmarked) taxi. It is almost the garrentee of over-charge.

  10. k, I don’t think fairness has anything to do with being Chinese, or being part of a developing country or market economy. I am American and have lived in China and the US. Many people in the US do not hesistate to buy & use pirated goods, nor do they hesistate to cheat other people.

    I am not sure about the “scientific” experiment of sharing money – but it seems like a sketchy research design to me . . .

    However, it raises interesting questions . . .does the market economy make people more “fair-minded”? If so, how do we explain why in the US there are scandals like Enron & more employers not willing to pay decent wages and benefits for employees? Why too, do people in the US not support strikes (like the supermarket workers in LA) when workers are being treated unfairly by employers trying to take away benefits? I personally, don’t think it’s any more fair…or necessarily less fair, for that matter. (Maybe it is differently “fair”???) Are business “networks” much different from “guanxi” and “houmen” when used to get opportunities in life?

    Wang Jianshuo, your concern about others is rare globally – not because you’re in China or Chinese.

    I do agree that we need short-distance and long-distance taxi lines in both BJ and SH (well maybe not Pudong, but Hongqiao). I too feel guilty when the driver has been waiting 2 hours only to get a 20 kuai fare.

  11. K and Du, I heard both of you. Anyway, it is always danger to draw a conclusion of the whole set of people based on few persons behavior. There is good and bad guys everywhere.

  12. Can you give the characters or the tones for “Jiang Xin Bi Xin”? I’d love to be able to express that in Chinese.

  13. Mark, it is 将心比心(Jiang1 Xin1 Bi3 Xin1).

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