Noise Pollution in Shanghai

December 14, 2010  |  China

On a warm autumn Friday morning, Tiger Woods lines up his par putt on the 9th hole.  The green is in beautiful condition despite being early November.  The perfect condition of the course could be attributed to the world-class skill of its grounds’ crew.  Without their tremendous efforts, the golf course would have been unable to attract the who’s who of PGA golf: Tiger, Mickelson, Ells, and more.  The most extravagant European-styled mansions and a luscious green forest decorate the outside of the playing field.   The entire view from the enormous gallery of people following the famed golfers is absolutely breathtaking.  Onlookers watch Tiger approach his ball, which lies about 15 feet from the hole.  He steps up to the ball, getting ready to take the short putt.  What makes this real life scenario exceptional is not its visual imagery, but instead the constant clamor of ambient noise missing from the appearance.  In a game necessitating such complete concentration as golf, honking car horns and droning sounds of motors are completely out of place. If it were not for the distracting clamor, Tiger might have made his putt and I could have fooled you into thinking this golf tournament could happen anywhere in the world.  However, the scene could only take  place in Shanghai, China.

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Bicycles and Automobiles around Fudan University

December 14, 2010  |  China

I am unable to count the times which I have had near collisions while riding my bicycle around Fudan University.   The bicycle path on Wudong Lu is merely a painted path along the side of the road.  Because of the massive quantity of automobiles on the road without a developed system of publicly-accessible parking lots, the bike paths on Wudong Lu double as parking spaces for cars.  While I was riding my bicycle along Wudong Lu on the day of this writing, I was put into a dangerous situation while I was in front of a local hospital.  There was parked Audi car in the bicycle path in front of me, a city bus was approaching me from behind, a bus stop was in front of the parked car, and my bicycle brakes (like the brakes of cheap bicycle in China) were barely working.  The city bus whipped around from behind and drove toward the bus stop.  The bus thus sandwiched me between itself and the parked car with a mere 2 foot gap.  As a result of this, my handlebars just barely missed colliding straight into the Audi’s rearview mirror.  After this near-collision, I still had to swerve my bicycle into the curb and slam on my brakes before hitting the people who were about to get onto the bus, which was now at a complete stop.  I wish that this same type of story was a rare occurrence, but it seems to happen to me on a weekly basis.  Many of my fellow American classmates in Shanghai have had actual collisions with buses, cars, and mopeds while biking around campus.  They still have the destroyed bicycles and scars to prove their stories.
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