Shanghai taxis

My long haul travel habit began five years minus a week ago, with the ICANN meetings in Shanghai, and a visit to the Shanghai Museum. Particularly memorable from that trip, the taxis: Plexiglas barriers between drivers (in white gloves) and passen…

My long haul travel habit began five years minus a week ago, with the ICANN meetings in Shanghai, and a visit to the Shanghai Museum. Particularly memorable from that trip, the taxis: Plexiglas barriers between drivers (in white gloves) and passengers, spotless white fabric covering the back seat, and recorded messages that would welcome you to Dazhong Taxis when entering the cab, and remind you to not forget your “receipt and belongings” when you left it. To tell the driver where you wanted to go, you’d keep a stack of little pieces of paper, with various destinations for the day written out in Chinese, prepared by the hotel front desk. Very reassuring, then, the English-language signs posted at the highway (right next to a crashed cab), reminding people to drive carefully. Overall, like many ICANN meetings, that week had a strong feeling of life in a bubble. (Lost in Translation only came out later, but, yes, that’s the theme movie for these kinds of conferences.) I haven’t had an opportunity to get back to China since.In Ups and Downs, Tim Bray has a hilarious account of his first-time-in-Shanghai experience, and it’s good to see that not everything has changed over the last five years. In particular, the taxis seem to be still the same. Including the white cloth that covers these ugly seat belts on the back seat…