Katherine Fan's blog

Safety Is as Safety Does

 “You don’t need that,” Xian taxi driver Chang Xumin remarked sharply, as I reached for my passenger seatbelt. “It’s very safe, really.” He apparently took offense at the thought that I might need a seatbelt in his cab, but the prospect of riding beltless in Chinese traffic persuaded me to buckle up anyway. Chang clucked a few times and sped off, narrowly missing an old woman who was slowly crossing the street.

Lost in Translation

Our team toured the hutongs of Beijing Friday morning. Hutongs are narrow alleyways unique to the streets of this city, built by the Mongols during the Yuan dynasty 700 years ago. Part of the experience included visiting a household in one of the neighborhoods. Our hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Chen, were in their early seventies. Retired government workers, they were eager to share their home and viewpoints with us (although cynics questioned how much of that alacrity might have been influenced by a possible arrangement with the tour organizer).

 

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