Footpath of doom!

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If there was one thing about China that will always stick in my mind, it’s the sidewalks. While walking along them they were always a source of random ‘fun’. When I came across this video today, I couldn’t help but laugh.

While I didn’t come across anything remotely as extreme as shown in that video, I did experience many things that I simply won’t forget.

My experience of Chinese footpaths is that they were mostly paved with intricately cut bricks. They weren’t your standard cement slabs, but quite attractive brick designs. Most of these bricks were broken because the Chinese love to ride along the footpath on their scooters. Occasionally you’d come across a brick that was sticking up vertically, only noticed when you cracked your toe on it so hard that you were dead certain it was broken. We had one of these little babies behind the school, and I think it got me at least twice.

Other than causing undue damage to the brickwork, the other issue with scooters is they are almost dead silent. You would only ever hear a small whir of their battery powered motor as they got closer, or their luggage boxes rattling as they drove over the broken patches of bricks. I was certain that i would cop one of these scooters up my own tailpipe at least once before leaving China – though thankfully never did.

The most annoying and borderline disgusting part of the footpaths was when water got trapped beneath them. It rained a lot in China and not just your occasional shower, but it often absolutely dumped down – sometimes for days on end. The water would collect beneath the bricks which somehow weren’t connected to the ground beneath them. You would regularly find the bricks would move as you stepped on them – and I still don’t know how this works, but as you pressed down on the brick, a small wave of disgusting black water would slosh out from the brick and OVER the foot pressing down on it. This happened to me twice before I had even any idea what was going on. I was walking along, avoiding puddles, then my shoe was suddenly completely waterlogged, the only trace of water being a lovely black residue. I couldn’t work out what had actually happened until one day I was walking along behind a business man in nice tan pants who stepped on one of these bricks, causing a black smear to slush over his foot and up the back of his nice clean pants. Ahh China.

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2 Responses to “Footpath of doom!”

  1. ordinary malaysian Says:

    OMG, that must have been traumatic to say the least! Suddenly here and suddenly there! From light to darkness! I bet she wasn’t aware what really happened to her for more than a moment. Poor girl! What if this had happened to you? I myself would have thought that the world had come to an end or something like that. A former colleague of mine here once had an almost similar experience. He sued the local council and won. Fortunately he only broke his clavicle.

  2. Marcus Says:

    Heh yeah no kidding. The way she complete and utterly falls in…you would have absolutely no idea what had just happened, or where you were. I often thought about stuff like this when walking across certain Chinese bridges…you just never knew.

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