Because the Street Belonged to Her

She was jaywalking in the huge intersection under the light patter of a persistent drizzle.

The traffic warden yelled out to her to return to the curb as the red man flashed, escalating with a stern tweet of her whistle.  Everyone else stood sullenly by the side, wishing they could do the same.

Ignoring everyone else, she perservered towards the the middle of the street as large buses and shiny cars rumbled by and honked around her.

Suddenly, I was in an episode of Seinfeld, watching George Costanza playing Frogger on the street.

The light changed and the masses began shuffling across just as she got to the other side.

The lady saved herself all but 30 seconds. Probably well-worth in her mind.

July 2010



  • Reply July 6, 2010


    Two weeks ago I was observing locals in Giessen, just north of Frankfurt standing at the pedestrian crossing until the light went green: when I say locals I mean both the German and immigrants who live in this town.

    Of course the reason I found this to be interesting was that in my own little town of Galway, this is not normal practice!

    The real danger zone, however in Shanghai is the so-called ‘bicycle lane’, where all hell breaks loose.

    • Reply July 7, 2010

      Sue Anne


      How odd that such behavior exists in Germany, I imagined that they enjoy rules very much.

      In busier and larger intersections, many Shanghainese now adhere to the rules, simply because the traffic has gotten too busy to risk danger. I would say it’s improving slightly in that regard.

      The real danger, I find, are cars which turn right very quickly on a red light, which is allowed in China, like in the US. However, common sense and courtesy dictate that you stop for a pedestrian. In China, they simply don’t, and you have to scurry to get out of their way. I get very angry when that happens, especially when they honk loudly like you’re in the wrong … and in their way.

  • Reply November 9, 2010


    I couldn’t help but notice the wardens (often two on each end of a crossing, making at least eight on the criss-cross junction at Huaihai Lu Dong. They are so firm and bark with such bite that I didn’t see anybody cross without their go-ahead. Are there fines or penalties if one disobeys these wardens?

    • Reply November 10, 2010

      Sue Anne

      Traffic is tighter in downtown Puxi, especially when there are a LOT of pedestrians and cars. Traffic ettiquette is improving, though the recklessness of cars taking corner turns with no regard for the pedestrian (even if it’s their right of way) continues to be a headache. They do fine people for jaywalking though I’ve never seen that happen.

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