via The Daily Post
The communal experience of travelling by metro in Suzhou is not as daunting as compared to travelling by train in India maybe but it can be quite scary for someone who had never been in a metro or a train before.
The only modes of transport in my country are the bus, car, bike, motorcycle, bicycle, van, lorry, ships/boats, and planes. There are neither trains nor the metro. When I first came to China, I travelled by metro to get to some places because using buses or taxis would have taken longer because of the monstrous traffic at peak times. I used to be stressed when using the subway because unless you have your student id card, you should buy a ticket at the machine, and even if there is the option to change the language to English, I used to be confused about the different lines that I have to take, whether I have to change to another line or where I should get off. Now I ensure that there is money on my student card because it is way more convenient than struggling to find coins or good notes. Sometimes the machines do not accept the notes if they are wrinkled or their corners are all twisted or if it’s an old note.
Once you get your ticket after annoying the people waiting behind you in the queue, you need to go through another scary step; scanning of your bag. Here in China, if you have water or any liquid stuff, you need to drink it in front of the officers to show that there’s nothing wrong with it. Also, if you have a spray, like deodorant spray, which is more than a certain amount, you will not be allowed to take it on the subway with you. I once went to Nanjing for a debate workshop and we were late, and we had to take our stuff to a friend’s place first before going to the workshop. We decided to take the metro because it is faster than the bus. Unfortunately, I had a deodorant spay with me and they told me to dispose of it before getting on the subway. But it was a new one and I didn’t want to get rid of it. So we had to take the bus and we got to the workshop much later.
The metro station is quite clean compared to what I had thought before. Given the amount of spitting that goes on here, I thought that the station would be dirty, but it is surprisingly not, in Suzhou anyway. The metro is not squeaky-clean (some people do spit in the metro) but you get used to it. The thing I like in Suzhou’s metros are the Tom and Jerry videos or the different cartoons that are sometimes shown on the small screens. I can watch those over and over again.
I like travelling by subway more than the bus. Sometimes buses are overcrowded, and I know that in other places in China, even the metros are crowded but in Suzhou, it’s quite okay. On good days, like yesterday, you can even find a seat.
I think that travelling by metro is more fun with friends. It is for me. I can prance around, be loud, and be more fun.
Today is the eve of Christmas. I hope you have been good the whole year and even if you haven’t, you can do something good today, not just so you can get a “gift” from Santa but just to feel good about yourself.