Well, I have seen a counsellor, but... I just keep flying into these fits of rage. Where I come from, things are very simple, if there are people on a pedestrian crossing, or crossing at ANY corner, drivers stop, wait for the pedestrians to cross the road, and then go. But here! If it's not blaring the horn, it's literally swerving around anything and everything. So, this morning I was with my wife, and I just went off - I screamed at them and tried to tell them what the point of a pedestrian crossing was. Never mind these, the point is that my wife got angry at *me*. We've just come back home, and she started crying, and no matter what I say she just tells me to shut up, What can I do? I don't want to be like this, I don't know what the problem is.... I love my wife, I don't want her to be angry or sad. I just get annoyed at some things, mostly crossing the road and worrying about being late. So, if I could just never need to cross a road ever again, or never need to work, go to an appointment etc., problem solved, right? But obviously that's impossible. I don't understand what's so wonderful about having to "take your life into your hands" just to cross a road, but maybe that's just me.
Hehe, You sound exactly like me when I first arrived in China. All I can say is that time does heal all wounds as well as time changes us all. Reminds me of something a friend told me, Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? I came to realize that although I was right in demanding respect and safety from the crazy drivers, no matter how much I yell and scream they will not change for me. What is ironic is that over the years, I have mellowed out and it is now my chinese wife who yells and screams when the drivers blow their horns or drive right over us. Ask yourself, is it worth to jeapordize the relationship with your wife over some uneducated farmer driving a new black Audi? Your not crazy you are just feeling the pangs of culture shock - it will pass - Keep your wife.
Good advice from HFCAMPO.
Its OK to complain about dangerous traffic (to yourself) but getting angry about it will just bring you stress. Shouting on the street will just upset your wife and again, bring stress.
When it comes to educating people about road rules/safety, pick your fights, for example don't try to stop a car with your body as you cross a zebra crossing but if there is a scooter beeping like a maniac from behind as you walk on the SIDEWALK,, do your best to stop him by walking very very slowly and act really stupid and surprised as he gets angry and starts yelling.
After you have been in China for a while you will realize its the little "victories" that can be the most fun.
Let's face it, this is THEIR culture. This is how they are. Have you ever taken a bus? When the bus arrives, you see how they all rush to enter the bus regarding if you are in line? Especially the seniors. They are the worst. This is the culture in China. If you don't learn to control your reaction, one of several things will happen. You will die sooner than later or You will lose your wife. You will get beaten up by a Chinese mob. We have all been there. It's a cultural shock but China has good things too. Try to focus on that. If your wife is Chinese then has being angry is just because this is her country and 'losing face' or being embarrassed is no cool. Good Luck!
Just think of the traffic laws in China as a 'suggestions' and not real laws. It will make your day much less angry.
The insanity in Kunming roads is pretty ridiculous though, you must admit! People doing their free right turn at lights while the pedestrian crossing light is green is one of the more... entertaining local driving culture idiotsyncracies (misspelling intended). You don't get the same crazy driving on East Coast cities (generally) unless someone has come there from the country. Well, in my experience...
And it appears to be getting worse. a month or so ago I was side swiped by some crazy farmer in a tiny car going 40kmh around a corner into oncoming traffic, tyres squealing and all, while on my bike. Didn't even stop or care. Plus numerous very close calls in the past year, 1 just yesterday where a taxi came up the bike lane, horn blaring, giving me no space and literally 10cm from my back pedal (a swift back heel into his light made him realise he was being an idiot and he dropped back). Previously I have had years here of trouble free riding but recently the insanity level seems to have jumped to 10 and its every man for himself. And if 1 of them happens to be wrapped in a tonne of steel, well that's because he is more important! It doesn't really upset me, I look at it in a more detached way, but man, it sure makes getting around more dangerous.
Another local driving idiotsyncracy is people driving normally, then when they approach an intersection they speed up! Just before they get to the intersection they jam on the brakes again. The intention appears to be to scare all the pedestrians into scattering from their path, a highly dangerous and stupid thing to do.
Here is hoping for a quick subway implementation and that they then start charging fees for cars entering the central city.
Oh, for the OP, take HFCAMPO's advice.
It's one of the 1st things I always mention to people back home when talking with them about how things are going! I'm always like 'you'd never believe the roads out here', I have mellowed since 1st months here though, when I'd be angry nearly every day with the potential death machines....
i use to live beside the jiaotong xuexiao haha, they all come out at 5pm or so, and swing accross the main road on the wrong side over a zebra crossing all in one go :) the traffic highschool ffs! :) i think things are gettin better though, especially.in the.city. often, if.they try to break red and run me over i will stop.and tie my.shoelaces in the middle of.the.road right in.front of.them.
@kmdragon: HFCampo's got it right. It's called culture shock - happens to most people in different degrees. Different standards in different cultures - usually it's not about what is 'right' & 'wrong', or if it is (I'm not promoting some complete moral relativism here) it is usually about things you will just have to get used to - plenty of things that outside observers to ANY culture will see as right or wrong while those on the inside will be so used to that they won't see them at all. Nowhere comes out perfect, you know that in your head but we deal with most day-to-day activities in terms of our habits, not our stop-&-think-about-it analyses. Point is to adjust, you can still calmly maintain that crosswalks should be more respected by drivers than they are and even discuss it & point it out to people, but jumping on the issue in fits of unreasoning rage will not only get you into trouble, it will also make it clear to the recipients of your rage that you're over-reacting, will not change anything, and will bring on the over-reactions of others as well (the so-called 'Chinese mob'), who will judge that the major problem here is you, who can't control himself - and they may be right. The only way to deal with it is to chill out, try to learn (not just in your head), and rationally understand that lack of practical experience with the things that really piss you off means that you are likely to exaggerate their importance. It takes varying amounts of time, can be a bit disorienting. Look around - everybody has to adjust a bit, everybody can, it's a bit of a strain, so is growing up (I'm not saying you're immature), in the long run it'll be okay and you'll be able to function with the now-unfamiliar imperfections (rather than the ones from 'back home' that you're used to and may not even be aware of) without having to think about it all the time. In the meantime, just be careful at crosswalks or wherever, as local people do without having to think about it too much. The world will probably remain imperfect, like all of us. Not necessary to go to war, and after awhile you shouldn't need the satisfaction of 'little victories' either. Even 'missionaries', who may think they have the final answer to everything, usually know that they have to learn to swim before they can rescue drowning people, or even to keep their own heads above water. In the long run you'll see that it's MUCH easier than it now appears to you, and you'll (hopefully) be able to have a laugh at yourself.
PS: You're not crazy, just maybe slightly obsessed - and this can make you crazy and/or make people think you are, which will pretty much spoil the effectiveness of any reasonable observations or judgements you may have. Don't do it.
@AlexKMG Traffic suggestions :):) I love it!