The daily commute
As I mentioned in the post about books, since October I don’t have a room in Shanghai anymore and I have to commute every day from Suzhou. That implies taking 2 trains.
Does it sound exhausting? Well, it is actually better than I was expecting. The worst parts are getting up early in the morning and arriving home quite late! I don’t have time to do much during the week, but at least I can read on the train. A full one way journey takes 1.5 hours, which is more or less the same time it takes my colleagues who live in Pudong to arrive to our office in Jing’An.
I leave home at 8 am. C. drives me to the train station, which luckily is quite close. The train departs at 8:28 but you have to arrive at least 5 minutes earlier to get in. By the way, if anyone needs to take the high speed train frequently, between Nanjing and Shanghai or any of the stations in between, you can purchase a top up card and access the train without needing to buy the actual ticket every time.
The bad part about that card is that, even though you pay the full price, you don’t get a seat. So, unless there is an empty seat, you will have to stand for 30 minutes, which is the duration of the trip from Suzhou Yuanqu station to Shanghai.
If I don’t have a seat I just stand near the door of the second carriage, because it will be the closest to the exit gate in the station. When the train arrives to Shanghai it’s better to hurry up and be the first to get to the gate, because there you have to check your ticket again and everybody knows how Chinese people queue…
There is a subway exit directly in the train station. Line 1 is always crowded, but every day at around 9:05 am there is an empty train arriving. Beware of the running and pushing old ladies who will run over anyone who dares trying to get a seat!
Then I have to change lines in People’s Square, which is probably the most crowded subway station in Shanghai (and we are talking about a city of 24 million people, according to Wikipedia). However, lately it is not as crowded as last month, when it took me a good 5 minutes to get to the stairs from the platform, because I couldn’t even move in the sea of people. Maybe everybody decided to go to work earlier.
Many people are watching movies on their phones while they change subway lines and I so want to hit them. Can’t they keep their eyes off for even 10 minutes?
After I ride Line 2 for 2 stops, I only have to cross the road and I arrive to my office. I scan my finger at around 9:30 (yes, we have a finger scanning machine).
And in the evening, the same journey but on the opposite direction. When the train arrives to Suzhou, if it is raining, the PA announces: “Be careful when you get off the train, the floor is slippery”. Well, thanks.
That’s my daily commute. But only until January, when I will start working from home!