The bumper-to-bumper line of cars that has taken up 62 miles of highway outside of Beijing will likely not clear up until September 17, when completed construction will allow for the opening of new lanes. The automobiles have been inching about a third of a mile per day down the Beijing-Tibet Highway.
So often is the snaking procession at a standstill that mini-hubs have emerged in the place where cars once flew by. The Wall Street Journal reports that vendors sell noodles to people through their windows, or at roadside stands. Taking advantage of the immobile desperation of people stuck in cars, these stands jack up their prices, the article says.
Truck drivers, when they weren’t complaining about the vendors overcharging for the food, kept busy playing card games. Their trucks, for the most part, are basic, blue-colored vehicles with no features added to help pamper drivers through long hauls.
Long Jie, a truck driver who works for the Baotou Zengcai Shipping Co., has seen his three-day trek from the coal city of Baotou to Beijing turn into a sojourn lasting over a week. He told the Journal that traffic got better after exiting the highway, but the article notes that he sounded “frazzled and tired” when talking over the phone. But during this part of August, don’t we all?