Category Archives: Cars

For 10.5 mid-range EFL teachers

You can have these two marvellously expensive cars.

A Porsche 911 Turbo S and an Aston Martin Rapide
This is what 10.5 mid-range EFL teachers will buy you.

A couple of days ago I was just leaving 远东百货 and spotted a very new Aston Martin (sans reg. plates) parked along the street. Today, I turn up outside the same building, and there’s a white 911 Turbo S.

Did I mention the violently yellow-green Audi R8 I saw a couple of weeks ago and which took about 100m to catch up with me after the lights turned green? I can’t remember, but you’re not misreading that. I, self-propelled and on two wheels, out-powered an Audi R8. Of course, dear reader, you should remember that imperial citizen either start before the light turns green, or spend a few seconds after it turns green before it registers with them that they should go. The Audi did come blasting by, but the driver should’ve been ashamed to have let me get so far ahead of him.

A Clash of Traffic

Go on orange.

The situation: Some halfwit on an electric scooter starts taking a left turn as the light is turning orange. At the same time some halfwitted taxi driver comes hurtling through the intersection and almost squashes the first moron against the front of a bus turning left from the opposite direction. The clod-brained peasant on the electric scooter is most aggrieved. Question: Which idiot is at fault?

If the Empire was governed by the rule of law, then I think the dolt on the electric scooter would’ve been (officially) at fault because the orange light signals the end of the green phase for traffic going straight ahead not the start of the green phase for turning left; but the nitwit in the taxi should also be censured for trying to speed through an orange light when he should’ve been slowing down to stop.

Mr Bamboo’s policy is to wait for the light to turn green and check behind him.

This wasn’t the only instance of idiocy I saw today. I was crossing 县前街 when I saw another moron on an electric scooter ride out in front of a car with a gap of 10-15m between them.

23rd of May. There was another incident at the intersection outside Baoli yesterday. I didn’t see it happen, but as I was turning left, I saw that some woman on one electric scooter had been knocked over it by some man riding another. She was yelling irately and he was probably wondering what the problem was.

New Keys to the Middle Kingdom: Luxury SUVs – China Real Time Report – WSJ

New Keys to the Middle Kingdom: Luxury SUVs – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

I quote

“When we buy a luxury car, we’re telling the world that we’re rich,“ Cai explains. “But with a luxury SUV, we’re saying look at me: I’m rich – and different and powerful.”

What Noddy forgot to mention is how vulgar and arrogant SUV drivers are, and how ghastly these things look.

No, what SUVs say in China is that the driver is some coarse, ill-mannered, lower-middle-class parvenu.

Video: A collection of supercars courtesy of the China Sportscar Club – Top Speed

Video: A collection of supercars courtesy of the China Sportscar Club – Top Speed.

Last week, I saw a live Audi R8, which was being parked outside the brothel spa which is on the corner of the lane to the side gate of Jinma. The only other R8 I’ve seen here was on display in Baoli alongside a 911 Turbo S.

The R8 on this occasion was a matt black and white car and had the SCC badge on the back, but I had no idea what it stood for until I saw the article above on Top Speed, and the video.

The irony is, of course, that the video itself isn’t viewable inside the prison walls – at least not on YouTube. Mind you, the video is from Youku (优酷).

Seeing a car park

Another tale of motoring stupidity from the Empire.

Since I don’t see PAL 2 until a bit later this afternoon, I thought I’d take my shopping home and have lunch while I was there.

I then headed back to school via the usual route and noted the large number of cars which were parked on the edge of the cycle lane along 香榭路. A Volvo hatchback (a C30; starting price £14,995) was trying to join them, but finding nowhere to park. As I followed it thinking, “What a complete plonker”, some woman came up alongside me on a bike and as the car slowed down, she would try to get past on the right-hand side, but never had enough room to squeeze by, nor the brains not to attempt such a manoeuvre.

When the woman finally overtook the car, she rode straight into some Post Office workers on their electric scooters coming from the opposite direction, who seemed to be paying no attention to the car at all; and when I say “rode straight into”, I mean it. Neither she nor the woman on the scooter appeared to see each other.

At this point, I skirted round the car, past the Post Office workers, and carried on. When I reached the end of that section of cycle lane, I noted that the stupid motorist wouldn’t be able to get through because some other four-wheeled genius had parked just a bit to far over. Since there was nowhere for this woman to park her car, she would have to have reversed down the entire cycle lane, thus managing to be an annoying halfwit in both directions.

Meanwhile, when I got back to school, the school’s lunchtime radio was blaring out. Peter told me that the room where the control is is locked, and the person with the key is off somewhere, which means that nothing can be done about the stream of noise coming from the PA system. (Ah, they must’ve found the keeper of the keys; silence reigns again.)

There’s also some sponsored event here at school today. Not sure what exactly, but it seems to be something cultural. There’s a big sign up at the gate and coloured flags have gone up around the school.

A yellow Cayman?


Porsche Cayman S (NFS: Most Wanted [Black Edition])My latest sighting was a yellow Por­sche Cayman turn­ing right at the inter­section to head over the 春申路 bridge. Not the first Cay­man I’ve seen and possibly one I’ve seen before. A rather low vehicle, and one with a fat arse.

Anyway, I have my own Cayman S with all the options maxed. Even without nitrous I can get it up to around 325kmh. It’s more stable than the inherently wobbly Carrera S, which is no faster with the same options.

Later. I can now trump this with a white 911 Turbo S, and for bonus points, a black Cayman although I don’t know which version.

The most common members are the Porsche family in Wuxi are the Cayenne and the Panamera, but there’s a fair smattering of Boxsters and Caymans, and the occasional 911.

There’s wrong; there’s very wrong

And then there’s ugly pink car.

Cadillac CTS in pink. Look away, children!For a couple of days outside the car wash­ing place there was a pink Bentley, which looked hideous. Bent­leys, like Rolls Royces, never look pretty at the best of times and the colour robbed the vehicle of what little dignity it had. (Here, for comparison is the ugliest car in Most Wanted, the Cadillac CTS, which is made even worse by the addition of body kits. Knowing that some of my readers may have weak stomachs, I omitted such additions since the unaltered car, which is a frequent sight on the roads of the Empire, is quite offensive enough to the eye.

I should add – although I forgot in the original version of the post – an hon. mention for Lady Penelope’s pink Rolls Royce, FAB1, which could pull it off. I even had the Dinky toy during my first childhood.)

Cadillac CTS with pink highlights. Not quite as awful.A black CTS, on the other hand, with pink rims and vinyls, and a magenta window tint gets away with it, or would if the car wasn’t so bloody ugly that even the cool colours lose.

(Cross-posted from Green Bamboo LJ.)

Never mind the signals; just keep driving

I’m invited to a party.

At around six o’clock, the intersection where 文翁路 hits the river can be a dire confusion of traffic. If motorists are one species of stupidity in China, the cyclists and electric-bike jockeys are another. The guiding principle of the latter pair is that it doesn’t matter what the signals are doing – red, orange, whatever –; if the way is clear, then they go. The particular custom remains disconcerting for me because it’s exacerbated when a minor road crosses a more major one. As I’m heading across the intersection of 文翁路 and 文庙前街, I have to contend with a stream of cyclists and e-b jockeys who, being innately inattentive, need to be watched closely. The latter often speed along with, it seems, little regard for anyone else.

Although motorists are more constrained by traffic lights, their principle at meeting these impediments to the advance of the aspiring Chinese middle class, corrupt officials and arrogant members of the armed forces is that if the car ahead was already in the intersection when the lights changed to red, it’s all right for them to follow. The result is a tailback which then impedes cars approaching from their flanks. Elsewhere (i.e., countries where motorists show a reasonable degree of civilised behaviour), you might expect the traffic trying to cross to wait until the tailback has wormed its way to safety, but, of course, that never happens. When the light is green, it’s time to go; never mind anyone else.

As I said, the traffic at this particular intersection can be dire around six o’clock. Tonight, it was dire++. Something was blocking traffic heading south so that when the lights turned green as I headed east to High Fly Pizza, there was no way for the traffic to cross, although it didn’t stop it trying. There were so many cyclists that the lights had changed back to red before most of us were able to cross by squeezing through the gaps. Because I was too far into the intersection myself to change my mind, I kept going, keeping a very wary eye out for any idiot motorists approaching from the right.

When I did get to High Fly, I, being a regular customer, was immediately invited to attend the establishment’s ninth birthday party next month. I’m informed that there will be cake.

[09.11.13. Since then, High Fly has been ejected from its former premises because the building was refurbished, and has been relegated to the one restaurant near the Shangri La in Chengdu.]

G is for gore

That’s goo-y and red.

A picture of a gory road safety poster in Chengdu, 2007No adventure today, but I did have to go out on business this after­noon. During the course of my search for a branch of the ICBC, I ran across that road safety cam­paign again. It’s not aimed at mot­orists, but rather at cyclists and people who ride those electric bikes. I got pictures this time. Al­though the quality isn’t very good (be glad I took them on my mob­ile), the images are pretty horrific nonetheless. Definitely not re­com­mended for the faint-hearted. You’ve been warned.

A picture of a gory road safety poster, Chengdu, 2007.Actually, I see that those electric scooters which the kids in Fuzhou liked to ride and which are popular here as well are only about ¥2600 a piece. Although they can go faster than I can on the bike I’ve got, I can easily out-accelerate them from a standing start.

[18.08.14. Chengdu was and remains especially bad for maniacs on electric scooters. In spite of this, they still stop at major intersections along roads such as 人民南路. In Wuxi, on the other hand, I have watched large numbers of these clowns do all sorts of things to cross inter­sections when the lights are against them, including what is, in effect, a clockwise cir­cuit of the intersection itself just so that they can go straight ahead.]

Road safety poster, Chengdu, 2007

Never mind the little people

I have a car!

I was woken at about 8am by His Majesty of the 4WD departing. As you can see from the picture below, there are some tight corners to negotiate if you want to get out of Green Bamboo Mansions. Instead of being bloody, bold, and resolute, our man wimpers out at the corner. Either his 4WD is underpowered, or he drives it like a pregnant, anaemic school girl with weak wrists. I rather think the latter. I watched him a few days ago and wondered whether his right-hand rear wheel was going to slip into the Slough of Despair. It was the screeching of his wheels at that point which roused me this morning.

Then he sounded his horn so that Gate Woman would know that his Imperious Majesty wanted her to open the gates. The response was in­suf­ficiently swift so he sounded he horn again and again and again. By this time I’m muttering, “Why don’t you open the gates yourself?”, when I hear Row yell out the window, “Shut up!” ^_^

He could’ve opened the gates himself. As you can see from the picture, if you can open a door, these should be easy enough. But that would’ve meant taking the initiative. Damn’d counter-revolutionary practice! Worse still, it would’ve been a gross social faux pas. His Majesty of the 4WD does not stoop to opening gates. That’s why God invented Gate Woman.

Mr Bamboo is sorely tempted to write 注意文明 (zhùyì wénmíng) “Be civil” in large characters on the wall next to the door to his balcony if only because he doesn’t know the grammatical Chinese for “Open the gate yourself, you lazy bastard!”