Thief saves us from hell on three wheels
Updated: 2013-01-24 13:35
I hit the accelerator, and within about two seconds and as many meters - CRASH!
Three more collisions followed in the coming 10 minutes.
I didn't even get our family's new "three-wheeled electric-bottle vehicle" (sanlundianpingche) - an electric tricycle with a transport bed in the back - out of the "dealership" parking lot.
I instead careened into the first of a row of pricey e-bikes arranged like dominoes. The shopkeeper dashed over to steady the first bike and prevent the potentially expensive chain reaction.
He advised me to "go slowly" and sent me on my way. A block and a half later, and three more scrapes, we arrived at our home.
I realized our "family van" - as we'd been thinking of it - was less of a car that's actually a bike than a likely ambulance ride to the hospital.
That's an entirely different form of transportation.
Beijing has become harder to navigate by taxi, as cabs become scarcer and drivers choosier about whom they'll take where and for how much.
We want a car but are unwilling to deal with the traffic jams, license-plate lotteries, day-of-the-week driving restrictions, parking (which sometimes happens in the middle of intersections because drivers are so desperate for spots), insurance, gas, driver's licenses and repairs. That's not to mention the cost of the actual vehicle purchase.
We've encountered too many cars prowling for parking down what would be the wrong side of the street, except it's actually the sidewalk.
Car ownership seems more of an expensive headache than a solution to Beijing's inconvenient transportation.