An ode to the tuk-tuk

September 3, 2017 , In: Beijing , With: No Comments

When I first arrived to work on my tuk-tuk, my colleague saw me on this contraption. He wanted me to write a blog about that right away. Now you might think what can you write about a tuk-tuk? Quite a lot a lot as it turns out.

I always had a fascination for anything weird driving around on the street. When I saw a chicken car in Texas (in what year?), my joy was immense. I screamed in delight and could not stop talking about this amazing riding chickadee (see picture below). So moving to Beijing has been quite a pleasure for my eye. But the roads here are quite dangerous for everyone. So it’s always a wild ride even just walking around the city.

When I saw that one of my dear expat friends had a tuk-tuk, I told her immediately “If you leave Beijing, I need your tuk-tuk.” Lo and behold, she left Beijing and I inherited her family tuk-tuk! Since I have never owned a vehicle or anything bigger than a bike, my husband was quite worried. But soon after, I adapted to Beijing driving and after putting a car seat in the back for my daughter, I was ready to hit the town.

As I said earlier, walking and biking in Beijing is already a rollercoaster ride but driving a tuk-tuk is another level of danger. I won’t lie, I enjoy the thrill it gives me and the most exhilarating thing I do nowadays is driving around town. I don’t go to raves anymore so this is a great substitute.

A tuk-tuk is a great way to do my grocery shopping as I don’t have to lug my shopping stuff inside the taxi anymore. I can also make several stops. I pretend it’s my car; in fact, I actually tell my daughter to “get into the car.” Shunyi is full of moms driving around in luxurious looking tuk-tuks but downtown Beijing has not seen a blond woman with a blond child in the back racing around like a real Beijingren. People always laugh when they see me. I had cars stop so the driver could laugh out loud. People like to take selfies with me. And actually, some old people have tried to stop me to hitch a ride until they see who is driving and then they are surprised.

Tuk-tuk driving is quite dangerous at times. I remember how I was driving and both my breaks broke down, and I had still ways to go. When the front of the tuk-tuk gets wet by rain, it triggers the horn and it stays on for some rides around town, unable to be turned off. Nobody gets surprised by this, so I assume the tuk-tuk is made in China. Many people jump in front of the tuk-tuk like they want to commit suicide because Beijing is just a town for the fearless. I tend to drive on the road when possible because bikers on the bike lane are just a bit too fragile and don’t adhere to any rules. Nobody actually does in traffic, and I admit loving every minute of it. Riding my bike is probably more healthy for my weight loss. But driving around with my tuk-tuk gives me such freedom and joy that I’ll keep doing it till my tuk-tuk is ready to be passed along again.

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