Hello from Shanghai! I've been here about 10 hours and there's unfortunately not much to report back about it. I've now been to about 5 different countries and I can tell you that the car ride from the airport to the hotel is pretty much all the same and usually depressing looking.
The taxi itself was a bit of a dance with danger. Traffic rules don't seem to be rules so much as suggestions. Lane markers are just decoration. And the horn? The general rule of thumb seems to be "use 'em if you got 'em". I'm not trying to reinforce the stereotype that Chinese people can't drive. I believe the mere fact that I'm still alive proves that the driver knew what he was doing. I'm just proposing that "drive" holds an entirely different meaning on a different traffic dimension here. So does "pedestrian", "cyclist", and "red lights". Those seem to be accessory items that are to be avoided, but really only if it's convenient. If it's not convenient, refer back to horn usage.
I believe I will try to avoid walking on the street during my stay here.
Also, is SARS still rampant or no? I want to know if I should be worried about my driver pleghming out the window.