With all the fuss we’ve been making about how many people are heading home for Spring Festival, you’d be forgiven for thinking Shanghai will be as empty as a cheap jiaozi for the next 10 days. Which is about right.
But don’t go thinking that the dearth of people will mean an easier time getting a cab on a cold evening. In fact, the great taxi exodus has already begun, judging from our experience last night.
Having worked a bit later than usual, we left our People’s Square office at 10 pm and wandered outside to find what looked like a scene from Dawn of the Dead, or Day of the Triffids: empty streets and hundreds of people (who haven’t left for the holiday just yet) stumbling about blindly, not quite knowing which direction to go.
Shanghaiist waited in our normal spot for 15 minutes, then chose a succession of eight new locations over the next hour. Each of these locations, it seemed to us, was even more cunningly strategic than the previous one. Scoffing at the writhing queue in front of the JW Marriott Hotel, we snuck away to little known back-streets and dark corners, sure that a victory was imminent.
Meanwhile, in villages across Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces, thousands of Shanghai cabbies sat in their ancestral homes, surrounded by family, staring at the television and waiting for the water to boil to throw their jiaozi in. They’d secured their train tickets a week earlier, done their last working shifts of the Year of the Rooster, dumped their cabs in a Shanghai depot, and left the city.
Shanghaiist walked home.
Also on Shanghaiist:
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Now that is what we call a ‘soft seat’