Taxi rides — like an intense game of chicken

Fresh from Shanghai, our small group exited the train and wheeled our luggage to the street in an attempt to flag a cab.  The first driver refused with an angry shake of the head, the second denied us with a grumble, the third and fourth offered rides with covered meters.  About ten refusals and three suspicious meter-less offers later we discovered that the official taxi stand was located elsewhere. 

Driving in Hangzhou is equivalent to playing an intense game of chicken.  2010 BMWs race along the interstate entry ramps while equally zealous taxis refuse their access.  Both vehicles drive at mach speech until the moment when collision seems inevitable, at which point one driver stops millimeters from the other’s bumper.  That merely describes the first thirty seconds of our first cab ride in Hangzhou.  The remainder of the journey yielded a friendly cabby nodding his head to Chinese techno, a man urinating on a public road, and all the sights, sounds, and smells of Hangzhou. — Annie

One of the many obstacles that taxis must nagivate.

Our first glimpse of Hangzhou, followed shortly by fireworks.

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