There is a taxi stand at every bus stop, and the bus service is inexpensive and much better than in my home town in Canada. With a bus pass, a bus ride costs the equivalent of 30 cents Canadian. The bus drivers, I've noticed, are the only people who seem distinctly unimpressed by the sight of a foreigner. I've discovered that the bus that runs along my street has a great route for getting downtown and to various interesting parts of the city. Easy-peasy.
This shot shows the three road boulevard structure I described in an earlier post -- the wide multi-lane road to the left, (mostly blocked from view by the bus stop shelter), and to the right, a single asphalt lane for bicycles and scooters, and beyond that, a brick lane for parking and pedestrians, all separated by plenty of trees and other greenery. I will try to get more pictures of the amazing variety of scooters, electric bikes, carts, three-wheeled cars and so forth. This picture is deceptively calm but it was actually taken during morning rush hour.
Zibo residents (Ziboans? Zibo-ites?) are early risers. By the time I head out the door at 7:40, the morning commute is in full swing. During my morning walk to the bus stop, I pass a small strip mall which includes several restaurants, a pharmacy and a car wash place. I pass the car wash place just as the manager starts assembling all the employees (young men in coveralls, young ladies in short skirts and very high heels,) in the parking lot for their morning pep rally or song or chant but unfortunately if I stayed to listen, I might miss my bus. Then I turn up the alley to an open market square where there is a cluster of street vendors selling vegetables or food to the commuters. The street vendors here have realized they don't need to sing or chant loudly for hours on end to advertise their wares as street vendors in all countries have done for centuries. They just use a megaphone and a looped recording.
I'd love to serve up National Geographic-style pictures of wizened Chinese farmers selling produce from their carts, but until I can say, "Can I take your picture and post it on the internet?" in passable Mandarin, I won't have many close-ups of people to share.
After the open market area, the other pedestrians and I continue to dodge scooters, bikes and cars while walking past a rather lavish-looking primary school. Some of the children walk to school with their grandmothers, other kids arrive in Range Rovers and Mercedes-Benz, others on the back of bicycles and electric scooters. Friendly guards greet the children as they arrive and happy music is played over loudspeakers. Then more scooter and bike-dodging and I'm at the bus stop. You don't want to be day-dreaming or wearing headphones or texting while crossing the street around here.
I don't take a city bus to get to work. The institute lays on a bus for the teachers. I get on at the last stop before the drive to the campus, which takes about 15 minutes. The bus swings through the campus gates and the guards snap smartly to attention and salute the teachers as we arrive for the day.