Thursday, April 05, 2007

Beware the 3-wheel man

I have been in Suzhou and Shanghai for more than 10 days now. There are always new things to learn when you are overseas. Two days ago, I was shopping in Suzhou's Guan Qian Street - on my own. It was my first time there, although this wasn't my first time in China. I had an appointment with some friends that evening. I left early, about 5.30pm. I tried to hail a cab to take me to my destination. I wasn't successful, or quick enough. A couple beat me to a cab which had stopped about 25 metres away. What to do? Well, I walked to the main road but empty cabs was as rare as a red moon.

Then a trishaw rider came up to me to offer his services. I was hesitant. My destination must be quite far away, although I didn't really know where it was. I didn't think his old legs could last that long. He persisted. I stated my destination again, he didn't understand at first. I thought maybe it was my Mandarin or his Mandarin. He kept persisting, I kept rejecting, asking him if he really knew my destination. He said yes, everyone is out to have fun with friends, he said. Anyway, he said the ride would be for 5 Yuan. So on a whim and perhaps out of desparation, I boarded his trishaw. You could see that he was exerting all his energy. I am a heavy man. About 100 metres into the journey, he turned left and headed right for a bar! A sexily clad lady in Cheongsam but with some bare breasts on show, was ready to receive me! I knew that this definitely was not my destination, so I quickly got off the trishaw and headed for the main road again. I never looked back, nor paid that man the 5 yuan.

But he did do me a favour though. There were two empty cabs when I reached the main road. I quickly boarded the first and was on my way, out of temptation island. When you are alone in a foreign land, temptations abound, uninvited and facilitated by a 3-wheel man.

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