Empty seats are hard to find on public buses in Shanghai, especially during rush hour, when there it is hard even to stand. However, things are most interesting earlier in the morning when there are fewer people.
At around seven in the morning, when the only people milling on the bus are nice old grandmas and grandpas, one wouldn’t dare take a seat. Armed with walking sticks and mastery of tai-qi quan, they are formidable contenders for seats. Anyway, you’re supposed to give up your seat for them.
The spectacle begins before someone gets up to leave a seat. As that person gathers his bag, makes up her hair or adjusts his tie, the standing grandma will eye him or her through the corner of her eye. As the sitting person gets up, the grandma flies onto the seat in a split second and continues reading the paper as if nothing has happened. It is truly a sight to behold because… there is no one competing with her for the seat.