No, I am not referring to the board game: Chinese Checkers
What I am talking about is more of a real-life situation played out daily on the streets of Shanghai – and it does happen to involve Chinese people (and Westerners).
Aim of the game:
Getting a taxi despite all odds, while trying to remain polite and civilised and well-mannered.
- Busy time of day – preferably rush hour, people leaving the office, dinner time, etc.
- Maximum number of people trying to hail down a taxi – especially fun when a huge crowd of wanna-be taxi passengers are gathering in the same place at the same time – outside an office park, a restaurant, etc
- Minimal number of taxis for hire – choose the taxi-drivers’ dinner hour for best results.
- Pick a rainy day with howling wind and even some sleet or snow for an extra challenge.
How to play:
- Stand for a moment amidst the throng of wanna-be passengers.
- Get frustrated that everyone else seems more adept at pushing and shoving (more practice!) and less concerned about getting up everyone else’s noses
- Start sidling off in the OPPOSITE direction to where you want to go – the direction is very important.
- Try not to attract anyone’s attention – you don’t want others to realise that the game has started.
- “Hop” over/around each group of players that have already moved away from the crowd and have started new gatherings further up the street
- If necessary, “hop” all the way to the next block, around the corner, two intersections away – strategy is very important at this point.
- It doesn’t matter at all if you are moving further and further away from your destination – just “hop” along until you have bypassed all the opposition.
- Walk in the road so that your view of the oncoming traffic is not obstructed in any way – this gives you and your future driver a better opportunity to bond before you wave him down.
- Eye contact and initial engagement is vital to determine right of passage.
First one to get into a cab is the WINNER!