Street Fight?

The other day we were waiting for a taxi on a street corner when I noticed two shapes moving around in my peripheral vision. As my ears adjusted to the cold and the noises of the street traffic I realized the two figures were arguing.

We moved in a bit closer to see what was going on. The men were standing next to two mangled but drivable mopeds. Judging by their position and condition, it was obvious they had just collided with each other. But what were they fighting about? In the US I could imagine two people arguing over who was to blame and who was going to pay, but I wasn’t sure about crash-etiquette here in China.

Watching for a while it became evident the men were arguing because one of the men refused to take the two red bills (200 yuan or $25 USD, actually a huge sum of money!) offered by the other. They kept passing the money back and forth, stuffing it in every available nook and cranny – closed hands, wallets, pockets. It was really turning into quite a big scene and I thought they might even throw fists over it. I’m not sure how it ended because by then a taxi had stopped and we sped away.

The people here constantly puzzle and amuse me. If only I could understand Chinese!

**Many months after this incident occurred, I learned that, most likely, the men were not arguing about how one did not want to take the other’s money, but that one was not satisfied with the amount of money offered by the other.** 


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