Sunday, January 30, 2011

Jinrikisha

The last of Hongkong's rickshaws ceased operating sometime around the early~mid seventies.Understandably,there was a certain collective queasiness at the sight of rich European tourists being towed around Kowloon by ancient Chinese labourers.They still exist around the Star Ferry terminal on the island,but it's really just a photo op with no actual personal transportation involved. It may even be illegal now,I'm not sure.

These pedi cabs,which have recently made a resurgence, first appeared in Melbourne around 20 years ago.It seemed something of an irony to me,  that the boot was now planted firmly on the other foot ,with wealthy Asian tourists being pedalled around town by cheap Australian labour.I guess I don't really have a problem with this.The drivers are generally backpackers,saving up for the next leg of their grand tour or perhaps students earning some cash to help pay the rent.And with the appalling state of Melbourne's taxis,for a short trip,these antipodean rickshaws start to make pretty good sense.