Story Time: Shanghai Night Scooter Ride
Have you ever been stranded after public transportation has closed for the night? No taxis. No Uber. It’s not fun and I’ve learned quickly to not wait for the shoe to drop at midnight.
Drop a suburban girl from Florida into the great, big city of Shanghai, there are bound to be a lot of stories. It’s a whirlwind difference from relaxed, laid back beach life, to fast-paced urban life. One of the big differences is transportation. Time and time again, I say that I miss my car and stranded nights at the metro station is at the top of my list of reason why.
Now, Florida has city transportation, but it is nowhere near the level of Shanghai. The public transit here runs like clockwork. It’s fast, on time, efficient, and fairly cheap; however, there is a drawback. The schedule. Most lines open at 6:00 a.m. and close near 11:00 p.m., but there’s a catch. The terminal station on line 2 (my line) closes at 10:00 p.m. So, if I don’t make it to the terminal station by then, I’m stuck.
So far, I’ve missed the terminal station twice, leaving me to inevitably ride on the back of some Chinese person’s scooter. The riding experience was different each time, but they both started off the same way. I get on the metro line, fully aware that I’m not going to make it to the terminal station in time. I’m just riding to get as far as I can. Once I get to the station, it is a leisure ascent up the stairs, past all of the taxi and DIDI drivers asking if anyone is going to Pudong Airport—because I’m not going. I learned the first time that if I don’t need to travel longer than thirty minutes, then they’re not taking me. As a matter of fact, the last time I missed the terminal, the taxi people called over the scooter drivers for me.
The first time I got stranded, I considered walking until I mapped it out and saw that the walk would be over an hour. Yea… that wasn’t happening. I paced on the corner stuck in thought until a nice ayi asked me where I was going. When I told her, she offered to take me. I hopped on the back of her scooter and the adrenaline kicked in as soon as she took off. I held a death grip around her as she sped around curves and even raced other driver. I think I had multiple heart attacks my first ride.
My main thought was getting home, so I didn’t even think about whether or not I would need to pay her and how I would pay her. Still, I asked the cost when we made it to my stop. The panic was brief after realizing I could pay her with WeChat. Thus, the second time this happened, I was fully prepared. I was ready with WeChat, found my scooter driver, said where I was going and took off. I didn’t even hold a death grip on the driver this time. In fact, in my dress and shorts (that I thankfully had on underneath), I barely held on—mainly because I had a new wig on and wanted to make sure it stayed on. I was holding my wig like I had on a bucket hat. But, the second time wasn’t as terrifying since I knew what to do. I even enjoyed the cool breeze that came after the day’s rain.
There will probably be another time I get stranded, hopefully not during winter though. The third time will be the charm and I’ll probably be a scooter riding pro.
Have you ever missed your ride? How about in a foreign place? Share with us below what happened!