At the risk of having nothing left to write about or show you for awhile, I (Ed. note: Who do YOU think is writing this one?) thought I would clean up a bunch of old and new photos, stories, experiences etc. Oh wait. Tomorrow Terry and I have to go in to Shanghai to the Canadian Consulate to have some papers notarized. That should be interesting – seeing our and your tax dollars at work – no blog stuff? Right. Wednesday I go back in to Shanghai to see an endodontist about an infected root canal I have – like that won’t be blog material. Thursday and Friday is the Annual Sports Meeting at school. Last year they held it on a weekend and we had to work but this year during the week AND we don’t have to work the weekend to make up for it. I’m sure there will be stuff in there to share. Friday night we are venturing out to the other side of town for dinner with Cheryl and Andy. Pretty sure more blog material there. Wow, this IS a power packed week! Better get to it!
Let’s start on a Transportation Theme
We were sitting on the plane in Lhasa (Ed. note: Last Lhasa literary looks) waiting to leave and we look out the window. Nicely organized, don’t you think? Thank God it wasn’t raining.
Now, I have talked about the number 97 bus before. This is the one that takes us to the train and often there are three or more lined up. Schedule – what schedule? Terry thinks it must be a highly coveted run and only open to the senior drivers, since it can leave them with a 30 – 60 minute nap. Anyway the other day there were so many of them there, this guy had to park on the opposite side of the road AND on the sidewalk to boot.
Carrying on with the China in Motion tour (sort of), here are two examples of “parked” cars. The first is an example of someone who didn’t pass the parallel parking test. The next one we came across yesterday afternoon. The car was just parked in the middle of a four lane road. The people in the background were chatting away – don’t know if they belonged to the car or not. Let’s move on to how, after you chop down the cherry tree (or whatever kind of tree you have in your yard) you get rid of the trunks.
Imagine, if you will, you are a bus driver. You are waiting at a red light to turn right. (Ed. note: Now I know most of you will say “Waiting – they never wait” and most of the time that is true.) This time, however you really were waiting. As the light changes to green, this woman hits the throttle and makes a left turn and tries to get around the corner before you. Well! That’s just not going to happen so you hit the gas and it becomes a bit of a dogfight for half a block while you cut her off. Remember, scooters don’t exactly have the quickest acceleration in terms of 0 to 60mph. Finally, she sees the error of her ways and backs off. After all, remember the hierarchy – size matters!
(Terry’s ed notes: Standing at the bus stop to come home, I witnessed a number of traffic infractions, which are common place. Had I been speaking out loud, I would have said something like this: Are you kidding? You’re going to pass this guy about 100′ from the corner, then turn left into the on-coming lane? Well why wouldn’t you? And you, blasting away on your horn. Can’t you see the woman’s turn signal? She’s turning left, for the love of gawd, while you are attempting to pass her in a school zone! Now, you, sure, back off the sidewalk, into on-coming traffic. What’s this–are you going to park in the bus zone? No, just copping a u-ee. Okay then! Never a dull moment waiting for the bus.)
When I was much younger I wanted a British racing green TR6, but the closest I ever got was an olive green MGB which, to be perfectly honest, although peppy, did sound a little like a sewing machine when you stepped on it (Ed. note: figuratively, not literally – the stepping on it I meant). To borrow from Melanie Safka, Look What They’ve Done to My MG, Ma.
Speaking of destroying an icon…
And finally, on this theme. You know how large trucks, buses etc. have the beeping sound when they are backing up? I am standing on a corner today and I hear the traditional Chinese version of the beep. I look around and there are no large trucks though. Suddenly I notice this guy and he WAS backing up and the sound WAS coming from him. I almost wet myself.
And now, Sundry and Random
Now (with no photos), I want to say that I am no longer offended by the fact that little Chinese kids (1-2 yrs old) wear no diapers and have no stitching in their little pants so that when they have to take a little pee, they can squat – anywhere, anytime. But, come on mom, right outside the door of KFC so that I have to step around him and the little river flow…c’mon… (Terry’s ed note: this is why Puneet left Jiaxing.)
Yesterday (Sunday – remember that) we went down to Moon River (think Granville Island on a MUCH lower in-every-way-possible scale). We were sitting on a bench waiting for our event to start (more about that in a bit) and all these people are walking by and gawking and staring at us. Terry’s comment – “It’s like we’re at the zoo and we are the animals”. Anyway, for all you prairie people out there, do you think this would make a good curling broom? Pretty sure it wouldn’t leave any straw on the ice. This IS the standard Chinese street sweeper broom.
I was very comfortable in my shorts and short sleeved shirt. Terry was regretting bringing her little jacket since she had to carry it and then there was this woman sitting across from us.
Anyway, our Sunday afternoon event was to meet the Grade 11 class at the “Soft Bar” to hear a lecture on the history of Jiaxing, delivered by a university professor and sponsored by the parent council. Excellent! Now two points:
- 1. It was in Chinese
- 2. Imagine telling grade 11s at home they were going to spend their Sunday afternoon listening to the history of Vancouver.
- 3. Exactly – however the kids were very well behaved but very bored – at least for the first hour we were there and I assume the second hour they were there.
Also Sunday we saw this fellow – unfortunately I didn’t get the phone out while he was walking just balancing this 50 pound bag of rice on his shoulder with no other assistance and carrying the bags of meat in each hand.
This is a defunct phone booth – repurposed as a place to advertise. Somewhat ironic, I thought, that the inside (right hand side picture) is advertising cell phones.
There were three people (two middle-aged women and a middle-aged man) working on this particular “Chain Gang”. They would come out, load these 1″ thick 30″ x 30″ marble squares onto their slings – one on each slide, the slackers, go back into the building, disappeared up the flight of stairs and then come back down and repeat the process. I saw them about 2:45 and did they ever look exhausted!
Finally, how does this ever get done?
(Ed. note: To our long time readers – you may remember Terry talking about sex ed with our Grade 10 girls last year and their (and other adult) assertion that breast feeding does not exist, specifically in Jiaxing, if not China as a whole. Well, I am here to tell you it does indeed occur in Jiaxing – and I saw it live and in colour in the RT Mart parking lot today! And just like the kid peeing outside KFC, no photos. Hey, we have standards – low ones, but we have them.)
(Ed. note: Well there it is all done and cleaned up and now I am out of stuff. Pray that the Consulate etc. gives us more material! Cheers.)
Whoops – there is always The Shoe