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Public cars in China

February 23, 2011

I’ve been going through old pictures lately and came across some from when I studied abroad in China years ago. I wasn’t the transit advocate that I am now, but it’s how we got around. I didn’t have a car, and heaven forbid I even dared to drive there. I took trains all around the country sightseeing and my first time in a sleeper car was in China. You eat Ramen. You always eat Ramen in China.

Here are a couple of pictures I find interesting.

A Shanghai city bus packed full of school children smiling and waving back at my bus.

This photo is from the rural city of Guilin in southern China. You got around on foot, bikes or motorbikes. Period. Or boat. There may have been one truck where we were.

The Chinese language is a fascinating one. Because there is no alphabet, the language is based off of radicals which come together to form words. Each radical has its own meaning and the given combinations give the word meaning.

Take, for example, the world train: 火车. The world is made up of two separate words meaning “fire” and “car.”

Later, as cars came onto the scene, they simply call them 车.

Then came buses: 公共汽车, meaning “public car.” I actually like the term public car better than bus, it has a nicer ring to it, with less negative connotations. If cars are a measure of prosperity, than a city that has public cars is prosperous.

A subway is called a 地铁, meaning earth iron, and a streetcar is 有轨电车, or an existing path electric train. Because it’s on the existing street. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

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