After work, left with two women from the office who are also from other places and staying at the same hotel. One from Japan the other from Singapore. They also wanted to go shopping, then eat, and I didn’t have anything better to do…
One Thing I Really Don’t Like
In traffic back home, if someone speeds up into a merge lane, and tries to get ahead of everyone else - it’s considered rude, and overall the majority of people will not do that. Here, merging and even changing lanes is an art of war. It seems to be the responsibility of the least overtly aggressive driver to get out of the way… back to merging though. Imagine that merge lane, where it is simply considered by everyone the preferred place to be. Go to the front, merge aggressively, and everyone else will wait. Except, someone has just swung around the far side of the person who is doing the aggressive merge - so now the lane is two cars wide (and the bicycle lane is mostly gone). Then what really caught me off guard, is when a full size bus came all the way around - driving partly on grass to make that merge lane three deep, and cut in front of everybody.
A side effect of this merge process is that the bicycles - which there are actually fewer bikes than cars, but there are still many bicycles - have no where to go, so they simply start weaving through the traffic randomly.
And crossing the street is a game of timing and nerves. If you can’t cross the street before the cars will get to you, judge the aggressiveness of the driver against the aggressiveness of the car that’s already coming at you from the other lane. Step in front of the less aggressive car, and they will slow down. Imagine this in an intersection where there are 30 people crossing the street this way, often deciding on different “less agressive” and with little regard to crossing lights. Conclusion… traffic sucks.
Went to Wal-Mart. Three levels, and only the top level looked like anything resembling a Wal-Mart in the states. Grocery in the basement, clothes and electronics on the top level, other stuff and checkouts on the main level.
Afterwards, dinner across the street from the Wal-Mart. The waitress offered to take our bags, and then jokes that she would take them home. I totally got it from the body language alone. Dinner over here with other people means that many dishes are ordered, and everybody eats a little of everything. This works out especially well if you don’t like something particular. There was this sweet and sour sparerib dish that looked really good in the picture, and was mostly a pile of bones on the plate. Otherwise there were two potato dishes, and a green vegetable (hard to say what it was - but it was green, and fully cooked, so I ate it).