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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Queuing in Beijing 

Trains are the best way to get around China, but Beijing West Railway station has to be experienced to be believed. After finding the entrance we joined one of the two queues to get in. Chinese queues are not queues as we know them. Our queue temporarily seemed to be moving faster, so people halfway down the other queue rushed across to join our queue, joining it ahead of us.  At this point the other queue seemed to be moving faster, so of course they all rushed back to join their original queue in the middle. At this point our queue seemed to be moving faster, so ...okay, I guess you’ve got the message about Chinese queues. Us? We’re British. We stayed where we were.  British don’t queue jump, we go to the back of faster moving queues not join them half way down. And that obviously was not going to work here.
Eventually, we got to the front of the queue. Here we were confronted by airport style x-ray scanners. The system here seemed to be to put your luggage on the scanner, and rush though the body x-ray as fast as possible and grab your luggage on the other side as fast as possible as it comes through.  Here we most definitely did join in the scrum; I did not want to lose one of my bags at this point!

Hong Kong airport had it sorted. When a man tried to queue jump at the scanners, he got sent to the back of the queue and thoroughly frisked when it was his turn. You don't mess about with airport security anywhere in the world. 

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