(image courtesy of

Anyone who has been to Hangzhou, or indeed elsewhere in China, would be familiar with the CRAZY death-defying merchants of translocation terror, the green taxi.  The taxi drivers drive like madmen, and every time I get in one the first thing I do is desperatley hunt for the seat belt, the buckle for which, unfortunately, is buried most of the time under the seat, which is now the pit of despair. Clinging to the loosly flapping belt, wrapping it around your arm like a hard tourniquet gives some semblence of security, but I do actually have the utmost respect for their amazing driving skills, the way they’re able to navigate with millimeters of precision around other vehicles coming from the other direction at 100km/h (and I suspect, laughing maniacally on the inside at the sheer look of terror on their victim, sorry, passenger). It’s mandatory to use the horn, in fact, I think it’s an insult to the other vehicles if you don’t. [this last said only slightly tongue in cheek].  The last driver, knowing my Mandarin is limited to hello, thank you and receipt, insisted on asking me highly complex questions just to invoke my look of stupidity and pantomining I don’t understand (which caused him no end of laughter).  Still, I’m alive and relishing the 18 or so more taxi rides I have to take whilst here…