On a quiet street in Beijing

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March 21st 2008
Published: March 21st 2008
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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.


21st March 2008

Wow! I'd love to see photos of each of these, but your words paint good pictures. Hmmm...around Durham and here, some use bikes to get places, but see the most bikes out in the country riding for exercise or recreation.

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