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Johnny Foreigner

Foreigners Have No Sense of Danger

One thing that’s scary about living abroad is you get to realise that foreigners often have little sense of personal safety.

Of all the countries I’ve visited, China was the scariest in terms of things that could go wrong.

Outside my University where I was studying, I’d routinely see Chinese students cross the road without looking. They were often plugged into their iPods, and were completely oblivious to the world.

Well the good news is that as a safety conscious foreigner, you should be more adept at spotting potential dangers. Just don’t go abroad and leave your brain at home.

As I explored in Is Thailand Safe, loads of foreigners seem to go mad abroad, and sadly a few pay the ultimate price. But it’s not too hard to stay safe abroad. Roughly a third of all fatal accidents involving foreigners in Thailand would be avoided if foreigners didn’t get on a motorbike or went into the sea.

Avoiding alcohol is also a good idea. In China there are all kinds of things for drunk people to fall into:

Hole in Chinese sidewalk

Hole in Chinese sidewalk

Well this was by a deserted shopping out of town shopping mall and thankfully not many people walked past it. But this one was in a very busy neighbourhood:

Hole in Chinese road. After a week somebody put the branches there, presumably in the hope that more people wouldn't fall into the hole...

Hole in Chinese road. After a week somebody put the branches there, presumably in the hope that more people wouldn’t fall into the hole…

Apart from unexplained holes, the sidewalks in China were often in a precarious state, with much to fall over. Like this one in Shenzhen:

Crazy paving in Shenzhen

Crazy paving in Shenzhen

I don’t know why this is such a common site, after all Shenzhen is one of China’s wealthiest cities.

This stuff is always a danger in China. It’s also worth bearing in mind that there isn’t much in the way of street lighting in China – it gets very dark at night.

One of the expat guys I used to hook up with in China actually fell over a rough piece of paving and broke his arm. I’m surprised more people don’t have accidents in China.

The locals though, seem pretty much oblivious to danger. It’s very common to see folk walking down the sides of busy roads:

Chinese people walking down a busy freeway. More often than not, they actually walk down the centre lanes, or think nothing about crossing 8 lanes of traffic...

Chinese people walking down a busy freeway. More often than not, they actually walk down the centre lanes, or think nothing about crossing 8 lanes of traffic…

Please, if you go to somewhere like China, don’t do crazy stuff the locals do. They’re probably Buddhists and believe in reincarnation, so they’re not worried about fatal accidents.

I don’t know what an other explanation would be for climbing ten foot up a ladder placed right on the bend of a busy road:

Chinese man repairing a truck

Chinese man repairing a truck

Although these examples are from China, I have to say that there are also many sidewalk dangers lurking in Thailand. Plus there are lots of motorbikes here, and they’re always trouble.

Stay safe, and always remember to buy travel insurance!

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