Thursday, December 27, 2012

Comparing Airport Vehicles in Xiamen and Hong Kong

A couple of days ago I made use of various forms of transportation: a taxi from my hotel to the bus station; a bus ride that I expected to take me from Quanzhou to Xiamen's airport; the unlicensed "black" taxi I had to take to get from where the bus actually dropped us off to the airport several miles further away; two flights; an express train; and a monorail.

There's much I could opine about, but I will restrict myself to two scenes from the airports at Xiamen and Hong Kong.

The Dragon Air plane I boarded in Xiamen, Fujian province

The Cathay Pacific plane I boarded in Hong Kong

The smaller vehicles in the two scenes particularly caught my eye. You can click on the photos for larger versions, but I will also share here a cropped version of the photo from Xiamen.

Not cropped to highlight the van

The difference in the smaller vehicles at the airports in Xiamen and Hong Kong reminded me of a comparison James Fallows made in his "illustrated version" of the "Flying Blind Through the Mountains of Hunan" excerpt from his book "China Airborne". In that case, he used his experiences at airports in China and Japan to highlight a broader difference he saw between the two countries. I don't think the same lesson holds in this case, but the vehicles are indicative of other differences between Hong Kong and Chinese cities such as Xiamen in Fujian province. The most obvious is in the typical transportation methods available. Although a variety of three-wheeled vehicles are commonly seen on the streets of several cities I have visited in Fujian, I don't recall having ever seeing similar vehicles in Hong Kong. In later posts I will share scenes of transportation in Quanzhou and Putian--both cities in Fujian province. Plenty of tricycles will be included.

For now, I am just happy that my airport experiences weren't as adventurous as those of Fallows. For a great read with insights about China, check out the links above.

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