This tollbooth in Lin’an is exactly what you’d expect a Chinese tollbooth to look like, isn’t it? Well, they don’t all look like this.
And they don’t all look like the viral photo of a huge traffic jam at a very wide tollbooth. That’s a photo taken during Chinese New Year, which I imagine causes the most and biggest traffic jams anywhere on the planet. Chinese New Year, known in China as Spring Festival, is when Chinese people all go back to their hometowns. (If you’re American, imagine Thanksgiving traffic, with about four times as many people involved.)
See below for more photos of tollbooths. The third one will surprise you!
1. Tollbooth at Jiufeng
It cracks me up that the acronym for automated payments of highway tolls is ETC.
It stands for “electronic toll collection,” but, like, WHY would you use a set of three letters that strongly suggests an existing, unrelated phrase?
2. Tollbooth at Zhuantang
I don’t like this design. It’s like differently sized tents with a construction crane holding them up. It looks temporary but isn’t. And it’s asymmetrical. Bleh. I guess it’s better than the boring rectangular concrete design above. Maybe.
The green symbol is Hangzhou’s emblem, as of 2008. In the time since it was selected, they’ve managed to put it on a lot of bits of city infrastructure.
Incidentally, you can’t drive in China with a driver’s license from another country. You have to take written and practical tests to get a Chinese license. There is an English version of the written test available, and a lot of city signs have street names and other words written using both Chinese characters and the Roman alphabet, but… not every sign you see is going to have text you can read.
Case in point, look at the non-English signs at the tent-like tollbooth:
I mean, Chinese road signs are not the primary reason I don’t want to drive here, but they’re on the list!
3. Tollbooth at Yuhang
This is my highway exit. Yuhang is home!
Use your best Sean Connery voice: “I’m afraid I mustache you to pay a toll.”
Looks pretty cool at night too, right?