On the Subway 1: Not Actually On the Subway

Strange things happen on the Beijing subway, I guess that's true of the subway anywhere in the world, but it just feels especially true in the strange cultural melting pot that is Beijing. It seems like everyone else in the city, every morning I wake up and get on the subway to go to work. Obviously during "rush hour" it goes without saying that the subway would be packed, but packed doesn't come close to defining the situation on a typical morning between 7 and 9 am on Line 1. It's a nightmare, but its a nightmare that gets me from my home to work in 15 minutes from the time I get on the subway to the time I get into my office, not bad for 2 kuai.

This isn't a post about being an old China hand or more acclimated or anything like that, but I'm working for a Chinese firm and not a foreign one and, more than anything, I have to deal with Chinese relatives and therefore, despite the low price of RMB2 for the subway, they often ask why I don't take the bus for RMB0.40. Granted, RMB2 is less than US$0.30, but RMB0.40 is basically a nickle, plus taking the subway I'd spend in a day what it would cost me to take the subway the entire week.

My reasons for not taking the bus were the crowds and the time it would take, especially considering my journey would be down Chang'an Rd and then Jianguomen Wai. I finally got up at an hour early enough that I had enough time to take the bus so I tried it, well, the crowds are far less than what you'd see on the subway and it only took an extra 5 minutes.

Wow, I have a few more "On the Subway" posts that I want to write, but this series could die pretty soon.

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