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Published: March 21st 2008
Now I know I have been rapidly posting entries the past few days, and it may be too much for you to read. But bear with me--we have almost arrived at the present. I am almost 'caught up.'
Here is something I came across in my little black book that I thought was interesting. It is quick: Simply my observations of the bikes that pass by me as I sit on a bench, waiting for my AM chinese tutoring session. All of these (and much more) passed by me in 20 minutes!!
12:30 PM, December, 2007: Liudaokou, Beijing, China.
-a big blue hauling truck with man, wife, and baby inside. Baby oblivious to parents’ hardships.
-a hauling motorbike with flatbed back. Carrying cardboard stacked two feet then Styrofoam four feet, 3x the width of the bike itself.
-many empty flat-back bikes (a bicycle with a cargo platform on the back). It is just after lunch time so they are returning from their deliveries.
-Flatbed bike carrying Styrofoam and Tupperware coolers on back.
-man on foot, pushing a rickety pushcart down the road.
-a white guy ‘going native,’ biking down the road.
-two bikers with flatbacks, one a woman and the other a man, both carrying tropical produce. One carries mostly oranges the other mostly bananas.
-man with flower-patterned arm protectors (protecting from dust, dirt, etc). Many people wear these “armings” and “leggings" when biking through the streets of Beijing.
-motorbike with new electric foot massager in a cardboard box strapped to back.
-many people biking past with air masks or surgical masks on, or scarfs covering their faces (to protect from dust).
-bike with leather hand-covers. Leather “hand boots” attatched to the handles of the bike to keep hands warm.
-guy singing very loudly and Chinese-ly as he bikes past.
-Two people, friends, biking in tandem (side by side). Chatting.
-A woman with a yellow covered flat-back bike, a big trashcan. Her job is to keep the street clean. She collects trash. She is wearing a bright orange jumper.
-A flatback with a big barrel, and cooked sweet potatoes on top. The barrel is a makeshift grill. This is his livelihood. She sells sweet potatoes in the street.
-cycler carrying a friend sitting on bag rack.
-guy transporting a huge canvas bundle. Bundle is much bigger than his bike.
-Bike w/ an old man carrying his wife in a chair on the back. Both elderly.
-Another bike loaded up easily twice as high as the guy.
-A guy on foot pushing a cart filled with pottery, coffee mugs, plates, etc. A street vendor.
-A bike enclosed to look like a small car. Red.
-A biker with a flatback, carrying two wooden tables on his back, with another guy sitting on top of the tables. It is a windy day and as the bikers pass by they shield their eyes from the dust atht is flying past.
-another bike taxi with a reverse seat on the back (to transport people for a small fee).
-two bikes, riding together, each a guy carrying a girl. Men carrying their girlfriends seated side-saddled on the back of the bike.
-two bikes riding together with junk. One carrying a glass aquarium.
-A bike taxi takes his third pass by me in ten minutes.
-two more bikes, carrying big Styrofoam/Tupperware containers. What is inside them, I wonder? I think this woman cooks meals and then bikes to construction sites to sell them to the workers.
-A dude wearing a Mao Suit.
-a bike with a big metal cooler fridge on the back. I think it contains milk/dairy products.
-An old skinny lady pushing a huge flatback bike. Loaded with scraps/junk. Unbelievable.
I think that if I sit for twenty minutes on a street in Durham, NC, I might see 1 or 2 bikers bike past. And each would be carrying nothing but a backpack. During this twenty minutes on a street in beijing, I saw well over 100 bikes. All with a different story.
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