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Published: October 28th 2012
Could not put my book down on Friday night and read until midnight, and apartment dwelling in China does not lend itself to a sleep-in the next morning.
Between people up and about and having a very noisy chat, or the men continually clearing their throats and lungs of any phlegm and vigorously and loudly expelling said phlegm on the ground, I was wide awake at 7am.
Note to travellers- avoid the little wet patches on the ground could be other body products as well as phlegm!
Cup of tea in my winter PJ’s on the balcony in the warm sun, TV news and computer catch up with a late breakfast, made up my morning.
I have a bus card which had been kindly charged up by the last teacher and I have been merrily using it to get out and about on the public buses. So today I went off in search of the place to recharge it.
Basic instructions have been given in a communication book and its somewhere near In Zone and RT Mart near HongLu Sqaure, going east on HuaYuan Lu.
Maybe it’s like the train office
and has gone or has been moved because I looked everywhere. Just as well you can use money too, although small notes and coins are hard to come by.
Hua Yuan Lu, which is in the old town north is the gritty end of life; old China, working class China.
In this area today were the usual beggars and buskers but one stood out from the others; he was writing on the pavement in chalk and people were all throwing Y1 notes in his big bucket which was quite full of money.
I have had what he wrote translated; he was spontaneously writing a poem about people’s kindness and generosity, with immaculate handwriting.
People were so approving of what he was doing, they virtually ignore the people who are only begging and displaying grotesque physical deformities.
Baihua park, (thousand/hundred rose/plant park-this seems to have many names) is not far south from this area and has a fountain which is turned on only at the weekend at certain times, so off I went. (10am and 3pm)
A couple of very clever men were also creating toys and selling their
One was making it out of what looked like toffee and another was plasticine.
At 3pm sharp (the Chinese are punctual) loud speakers and the fountain came to life, with many families enjoying the spectacle. Children just loved the misty spray when it appeared and ran in and out shrieking with delight.
Coming home I stopped at a couple of little vegetable stalls on the pavement and for the grand total of Y1-30 I got 4 carrots, 1 eggplant and a large sweet potato.(about 25 cents Aus)
Today was English corner and there were only 3 Westerners there all morning until THEY arrived.
THEY being a busload of Norwegians who were immediately swamped with the Chinese wanting to talk and experience another accent, the Norwegians were also young, fashionable and beautiful.
So my little English group that had gathered around me, diminished to around 5-6 people; which gave the very kind ones that stayed with me a chance to chat and for me to ask questions about life.
The cost of a new car is 2
½ years’ salary for the average Chinese person. Compared to Australia which I would say would be ½ year salary.
A small apartment is completely beyond the means of most people, they would be paying it off ALL their life. Wealthy people have parents who buy the apartment for a wedding gift, (the groom’s side) and the bride’s side buy the car for them. The groom’s side pay for all the wedding costs and people bring gifts of money. You get married on a day with a 3, 6, 9 or 7 in the date for good luck. Never with a 4, this word is easily mistaken for the word death (different tone). Apparently about 30% of marriages are ending in divorce now.
People rarely live together before marriage, not in this part of China any rate, people doing post grad studies at university are still sharing a room with 5 others in bunk beds, and all universities seem to be live in that I have heard of. No ensuite either and a whole different building to go to for showers.
Today was discovery day.
-where to charge
His voice and manner was very cultured
my bus card (one block west of Tiger Springs canal side road between Quan Cheng and Spring City Square)
-where to book train tickets at an agency, (Corner Jiefang Lu and Li Shan Lu Sth East corner, blue ground floor round office)
-where to go to the movies (Parc 66 very expensive department store 6th
level, many in English, movies not expensive)
-where to find restaurants with English language menus (6th
floor Parc 66)
Parc 66 is THE most expensive opulent shopping centre I have ever set foot in, ever, anywhere. All designer label shops, immaculate top to bottom, all 8 floors of it. Western toilets add to the charm!
This is in the South part of the Old City, such a contrast.
And at the Eastern end of Spring City Park is a science and technology museum which looks great. Modern, interactive in some areas, a must see soon.
Students who were chatting to me in Spring City Square from English corner had no idea where it was and some nice young man when I was half a block away tried to help me (great English) had no
idea where it was either. It’s quite large, 4 floors, but is tucked behind the lotus flower fountain.
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