All’s Fair in Lines and Taxis in China

So last weekend I went to pick up two dresses that I had made in Lowu (Low-woo).  I was really excited because I think they are super cute and I haven’t had new clothes in like, forever.  However, last weekend I was exhausted.  I almost can’t imagine being more tired than I was. The only reason I left my apartment was to pick up these dresses.

The taxi ride to this place is about 30 to 45 minutes depending on traffic.  We get there and it’s kind of a nightmare.  It’s hot and busy; the people I am with want to make about 4,000 stops before we get to the dresses.  You know the feeling. So we get to the tailor and guess what?  My dresses aren’t ready.

I would have just told him to forget it, but I had already put down a deposit and they had my original dress, the one they were copying.  Plus, his English was limited at best. I was also afraid to speak because whatever I would have said at that moment probably wouldn’t have come out very nice.  I just walked away.  I was over it.

Arranging to pick up the dresses again was not an easy matter.  Lowu isn’t a place I feel comfortable going to by myself.   The long ride and crowded conditions aren’t easily navigated so a buddy is a must.  I recruited my friend Tammy and we had planned to go Sunday.  Neither of us really wanted to go because were at the tail end of a two-day conference on teaching English Learners. But next weekend was out because we are registered for yet another two-day seminar in a city about two hours away from Shekou.  However, at the last minute, we rallied and decided to make the trek after the workshop today, so we could veg out all day tomorrow.

Surprisingly, we got there easily enough, with the usual white-knuckle taxi ride.  The dresses fit, I paid, and we left.  When we got to the taxi station, the line was huge.  Keep in mind that there is zero personal space in China and people will jump in front of you to get the next cab.  We simply did not feel like getting jostled.  So I suggested that we go to the Shangri La to get a taxi.

Now, the Shangri La is a hotel in Shenzhen that caters to Westerners – it’s about a five-minute walk from Lowu.  So Tammy and I enter through a side door, use the very nice modern bathrooms, and walk out the front entrance whereupon the doorman hails us a cab.  They assumed we were guests.  We let them. As we drove by the very long taxi line in the hot streets, I did feel a twinge of guilt for using my Western Card.  I thought, all’s fair in lines and taxis in China.


  1. Yeah: Claire, you rock!

  2. Claire, I saw the new pictures you posted on your other website! Love them!!

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