Dalian – Frogger the Pedestrian

First, a little something about Dalian – it’s a city in China (in case you haven’t picked up on that one yet) located near the Korean peninsula. It’s right on a rather large bay, and has a population of roughly 6.17 million people.

Of note, the ONLY American city larger than this is New York.  Even LA, the next largest, is sitting pretty at just over 2 mil.  Just to put that in perspective for you.

Oh, and in China?  Dalian is a Tier-2 city. Which is, to say, there are a number of Tier-1 cities which are significantly larger than this.

SO!!!

With a population of this size, it means you tend to walk.  A LOT (oh god, my legs….)  There’s just frankly not a lot of places to park.

Oh wait.  There is.  It’s called the sidewalk… I wish I was kidding.

Like I said, walking.  A lot of walking.  Yes, you can take public transportation, but if you’re only going a few blocks away, it’s easier just to hoof it.

Like the trek up the hill to the school every day where I’m working.  You know.  The gray building here….

Doesn’t look too far?  I’m sorry. Here’s a better pic for perspective.  And of note, this is from my apartment on the 8th floor.

So what does any of this have to do with Frogger?

Pause a moment – do you remember what Frogger is? For a flashback to the old arcade came from the 80s, check out the YouTube vid here.

So you would think with the fact that everyone needs to walk all over the place, there would be some concessions for pedestrian foot traffic, wouldn’t you? I mean, you’d be mostly wrong, but it’s a nice thought.

Yes, they have sidewalks (often with large holes… probably because someone keeps parking their car there). And when crossing the street, they DO have the lines on the roads indicating where you should cross, but there’s not often a light to allow foot traffic.  This is where Frogger comes in.

You basically get to judge traffic, and go!!

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So you do have these big wide areas where you’re supposed to cross… the problem being that with no light to slow on-coming traffic, it’s a bit up in the air on how well you’re going to do on this particular game.

I’ve noticed most of the time, people tend to congregate and cross en masse.  Afterall, plowing through one pedestrian may be fine and good, but if you have five or six?  Tends to get a bit more dicey.   I’ve noticed that the Chinese people have learned to just flow with it, and they are seriously functioning at expert level at this point.

I’m still a beginner… but I have NOT been flattened by a bus as of yet, SO GO ME!

BONUS!!

They do often have foot bridges for the really heavy areas, but people are so used to just crossing where they want in the road, they often ignore the bridge and go for that next level of Frogger.

This is the footbridge near the university (when we go the long way).  I had noticed people standing out front with this red sign, so I stopped my fellow TA (she’s Chinese) and asked her what the sign said.  It basically says that you’re ugly if you try to cross the street at that place, but if you take the bridge, you’re handsome.

See how there aren’t any lines in the street? Means no crossing, peeps.  Be handsome – take the damn bridge.

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