My daughter bought a train ticket to go to Nanjing to visit, so our chinese friend offered to drive her to the train station. He was about a half an hour late picking us up because of heavy traffic. Her train was due to leave at 11:20, and he didn't pick us up until after 10:30. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but for whatever reason, the traffic that day was horrid! I think it could be due to the fact that school is starting. There are so many colleges in this city, and students are returning. So we were getting a little nervous as we drove, wondering if we would make it to the train station on time.
Normal driving in China is frightening to me. Drivers swerve from one lane to another without even checking their mirrors. There is this basic understanding by everyone that the person behind has to watch out for cars swerving in his lane. Normal traffic is scary enough to me. But add to that the fact that we were late, and it was our driver's fault that we were late. This made for a very aggressive driver. He was swerving lanes so quickly that it was all I could do to not gasp out loud. And several times he simply went in to the opposing traffic lane so that he could drive around all the other cars. While we were on the main highway, he actually drove on the shoulder for much of the way. Where are those passenger brakes when you need them? I really thought we were going to get in to an accident. Part of me thought I should just close my eyes, but I was too terrified not to look!
About 11:00 we still weren't to the train station. Our driver informed us that they close the doors 5 minutes before departure. My daughter still had to pick up her electronic ticket, and get through the security check. Our friend decided to stop at a travel agency in the neighborhood of the train station, and have them print out the ticket. It only took a minute or so, and really saved a lot of time. But still the clock was ticking, and we weren't to the station yet.
Finally we could see the station up ahead, but traffic was stopped. We questioned whether or not my daughter should get out and run. But our driver said it would be faster to drive. By this time it was about 11:10, and luckily the light changed. As we drove right up to the door, our friend told my daughter to get ready to run. Then he ran with her, and pushed his way past everyone else waiting in line for the security check. He kindly told the guy at the front of the line that they needed to make a train. Then he ran with her to the station gate, and made sure that she got through. He came back to the car, and told us he had seen her go in. A moment later she called and told us she had made it on to the train. Whew!
I don't know if I can express how tight this was. You know the old saying, "by the skin of your teeth"? I'm telling you that she really did make it by the skin of her teeth. It's really did feel like a miracle that she made it on time. Even our driver agreed that it was a miracle. See, miracles still do happen!