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Published: December 13th 2012
I’m hoping this will be my last blog from Jinan as my flight is due out tomorrow morning at 8am.
However there is a forecast for snow overnight so let’s hope roads and airports remain open.
So these are the things that are on my mind after living and working here for 10 weeks:
There is an obsession with keeping the roads swept with an army of people out there with their brooms, dust buckets and bags collecting up anything that may fall on the roads and footpaths. Yes this does employ lots of people. But there is little education about putting rubbish in any of the numerous bins, little information about what rubbish is recycling and total disregard for littering with some areas looking like garbage tips, right beside an immaculately swept street.
The new rich are out and about in China displaying their wealth with flashy cars, clothes and manners. Shops sell shoes for Y3000 a pair and in the same block you will see a homeless person or beggar. Yes this does happen in all cities around the world, but in China there is little philanthropy, little volunteering and little
assistance for any person who is unable to work or who is not entitled to a pension. I have described “Op Shops’ to various people and there is a look of absolute amazement at the concept.
You either work really hard for a living or stand there all day being employed to do very little. Huge shops selling the biggest, best and imported goods have a plethora of shop assistants doing nothing all day while the street sellers and food stalls and the cardboard collection people work so hard all day under very trying conditions.
Construction sites are a constant everywhere I have been, layering everything with fine dust. Old buildings get knocked down right beside new ones, or buildings are gutted and abandoned and just sit there. Huge machines work away at sites with no barriers and life goes on around them as per normal.
Supermarket shopping involves live fish, toads, crabs and shellfish, killed and gutted for you. Huge containers of frozen chicken, dried fish, dried nuts and seeds, rice, and so many unidentifiable other things are there for you to pick over, choose from, handle and bag as
Any place is a good place for a shop, be it a small wheelbarrow, a disused set of stairs, a small alleyway.
If your place is big and you want to impress, install revolving doors.
Roofs are held down with rocks and bricks and timber, obviously nailing it down does not happen here.
You can’t buy a sink plug anywhere.
Most picture advertising in shops is of western models.
Are there real changes to the one child policy? One advertisement showed an Asian couple and 2, yes you read right, 2 children!
When the green light says you can walk do this as you would with the same caution as if there was a red light. Because cars will cross the line of pedestrians, various other forms of transport such as bikes, cycles, 3 wheel cars and scooters may also be crossing against you.
Footpaths are really not just for people walking; they might well be the place to park your truck, a bus lane, and a taxi pickup, this lane could also be
used for cycles, motorbikes and 3 wheel bikes and just about anything but people walking.
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