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The Great Traffic Wall Of China

By / 08.25.10

On my mama, on my hood, I will NEVER complain about being stuck in traffic again. Before I continue, I have to say that traffic is one of the things I hate most in this world. I’d rather whisper sweeting nothings into Kat Stacks ear and mean every word. A traffic jam is the vehicle version of a hangover in the fact there’s nothing you can do to make it go away, rather time is its only cure. No amount of music makes it go by quicker nor does checking Ubertwitter on my phone make it any easier. It’s just annoying, especially when it finally clears up and you realize there was nothing to stop it in the first place.

One of the best lessons my mother ever taught me was regardless how bad things may be going in my life, there’s always someone out there who has it worse. In this case, try the worst traffic jam of all time. For the past 10 days (as in 240 hours or 14,400 minutes or 864,000 seconds) thousands of Chinese commuters have been stuck in gridlocked traffic on the Beijing-Zhangjiakou highway. Yes, you read it right. They have been stuck in traffic for going on 11 CONSECUTIVE DAYS. What’s even worse? It stretches for 62 miles!

Truck driver Bai Xiaolong, 30, said it took him five days to navigate the 350-mile journey to Tianjin, a port city east of Beijing. He said he spent much of that time reading, text-messaging and sleeping rather than accelerating.

“There was one day that I didn’t move, not even an inch,” Bai said.

The traffic jam, triggered by road construction, began 10 days ago and could last for three more weeks, authorities said.

In the worst-hit stretches, drivers pass the time sitting in the shade of their immobilized trucks, playing cards, sleeping on the asphalt or bargaining with price-gouging food vendors. Many trucks that carry fruit and vegetables are not refrigerated, and the cargoes are assumed to be rotting.

Oh, there’s more. Plenty more. China’s second greatest wall has several more unbelievable facts.

1. There are no portable toilets. This means you either foot it to the next rest area/exit or handle your business in a field somewhere. It gets much more graphic, but just imagine not taking a shower for over a week with no toilet paper in sight. That’s a sh!tty situation. Pun intended.

2. Bottles of water are being sold for 10 yuan ($1.50) – over 10 times the normal price. Locals on bicycles are loving this traffic jam as they are beating desperate and hungry commuters over the head for boxed lunches and hot water for noodles. Proof that hustling knows no ethnicity, country or situation.

3. There have been NO signs of road rage. That’s the most amazing part about this entire ordeal. Let this happen in New York, hell even DC or Los Angeles, and a state of emergency would have been declared after this thing topped 10 hours. America is impatient. A week long traffic jam would mean Anderson Cooper would be in the middle of the warzone giving the 4-1-1. There may even be a telethon hosted by Ryan Seacrest. Plus, it would further suspicion that Barack is Muslim. I’m not exactly sure how the latter would prove true, but trust me, it’d be brought up.

And last but certainly not least…

4. Zhang Minghai, director of Zhangjiakou city’s Traffic Management Bureau general office, said traffic may not clear up until September 17th. Say what?!?

That settles it. I’m taking the train in the morning.


TAGSCHINAChinese Traffic JamEVERYTHING ELSESMOKE BREAKSpotlight

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