Posted by: 1of10boyz | October 17, 2011

Driving to Mt Tai.

We were able to our driver in the middle of the week and got our car. The car is a Chevy Cruze. It is called red in China but we could call it maroon. It is most definitely not the candy apple red of LaDawna’s Avenger. Not much time to spare for this trip in regards to getting there. We left for Tai’an about 4pm. It is supposed to be about a 4-5 hour drive based on what we have been able to tell from others that have made the trip.

I haven’t really driven much with this driver and we don’t know what to expect. We have a hard time remembering his name so we are going to have to give him an English name so we can remember what to call him. We are really excited about getting to know him and his family better. We will give his son and his wife an English name also.

The driving here is unique. We have become quite concerned many times as the drivers just pull out in traffic and then look. It is not anything like what you try to tell your teenage drivers for sure.

We have found that the equivalent of an interstate highway doesn’t exist. Everything of equivalent size and speed is a toll way. It costs us on average 100RMB roundtrip for tolls when we go to Qingdao, we estimate it will about twice that for the trip to Tai’an.

I believe that I could drive on the interstates but I would not try to drive in town. The rules of the road or guidelines of the road here are pretty close to the US standard when on the toll way. We still see people passing on the shoulder but spacing speeds are relatively comparable.

We travel through some really interesting mountains as we are on our way to Tai’an. We can’t really see them because it is dark but we go over many bridges and through a lot of tunnels. Most tunnels and bridges are between 800m and 2000m. I think that I would have liked to see the scenery.

 We are lost in the process of getting there. We have a GPS but it isn’t much help as everything around us is Chinese. The highway system and the related transitions to roadways leave much to be desired. It appears to me that all the roads in this part of the country go to Jinan, the provincial capital; it sure would be nice to know that they go by something we are interested in going to instead. I am not able to be much support as the driver’s wife has the unit in the backseat. Hum?

We arrive in Tai’an about 11pm. Once I realized we were lost it took us an hour to get back to the right road going in the right direction again. So it would have been about a 5 hour drive.

On our return to Haiyang we let the Xu family know what names we would like to give them. They all seemed happy about the choices we made.

We made good time in our return home. We are tired and we have seen much but there were some things that we did not get too see. We didn’t return on the same road that we arrived on and didn’t pass through the many tunnels and cross the many bridges. The roads are still quite confusing on the transitions between the different tollways. I find that the engineering approach and ways that they merge is almost backwards. I really think that they are designs that are more appropriate for a right side driver than the left side driver. I wonder if the interchanges are modeled from Hong Kong and European rather than the US and Canada?


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