Holiday Time

So we have been on holiday now for 5 weeks, hence a lack of posts. We are back in the southern hemisphere experiencing winter, a cool break from the heat of China’s summer. So what have I been enjoying lately?
1. Sparkling waters
2. Beautiful sunsets
3. Watching winter-swimming
4. Catching up with family and friends
5. Cycling from one side of NZ to the other


Safety Not Guaranteed

So I had just had a $6 hair cut and I crossed the street.  I saw these two just hanging about.  They looked like a husband and wife team.  Perfect unison.  I can’t say I envied them.  They were only about three stories up, but that’s three more than I would care to share with anybody.  It didn’t look like the safest set up going.  It reminds me of the danger that exists in the day-to-day run of the mill stuff.   In the weekend I enjoyed sitting in the back of a friend’s car whilst they drove around town.  It seemed like there was a lot to see.  I realised that when I am out there on my bike I spend so much of my time avoiding accidents that I really don’t get to take in my surrounds.  I think the key to safer roads where I live is more adherence to the basics like keep right, don’t drive against the traffic and take the odd look before you manoeuvre that car.  Safety is not guaranteed and I can guarantee you it’s not safe.

Rubbish in any Language

Rubbish heap, rubbish mound, small pile of rubbish, seen em all.  Rubbish truck, I saw you twice this year.  Burning rubbish pile, I smell you most days.  Opportunist rubbish collector, I see you all the time.  Why then is there so much rubbish out there?  In the photo we see a rubbish collection area at the end of a street, on a bridge over a city canal.  Rubbish is deposited at any unused junction of a street, bridge, new road or communal point as decided upon as mutually acceptable.  I have seen used: unfinished roads, lay-bys, nooks, crannies, middle of roads, sides of roads and perhaps the most seen, the side street next to our school.  It was never a road ‘road’ apparently.  It’s gravel on some bitumen with small gardens on one-side and textile shops on the other.  There is the worst smelling public toilet to boot that conveniently wafts with the prevailing wind.  Rubbish levels range from piles of plastic filled bags to concrete to grass clippings and occasionally you get the big digger around to scoop it all up and it’s trucked away.  Rubbish, but why?  There is no collective recycle-reuse-reinvent mind set.  There weren’t even rubbish bins up until 18 months ago.  Hence the common use of the ‘end of the street’ for rubbish dumping.

Exit Observations

Leaving somewhere always brings a big bunch of mixed emotions to the surface.  Today I visited my friend, and on the bike ride there, decided that an entry a day, up until my exit, was in order.  Point of order number one; my man-bag.  Just recently, due to the onset of the summer heat, I have taken on the use of a man-bag.  When you are sweating from the knees and you realise you need to loosen the load-bearing weight around the sweaty crotch region, what is in your pockets goes into the man-bag.  So far I have tested two prototypes.  Prototype one and quite successful, was a toilet bag I was given.  It’s got a handle bar strap, handy for the bike, and three compartments.  It hasn’t had the obligatory lotion spill in it yet from plane decompression, so it’s in fairly good shape.  Prototype two is the wife’s Cath Kidston handbag.  It’s a bit big in reality, but that six-pack of beer tucks away nicely inside.  I must admit both make me realise I am a man carrying a man-bag, but hey, what you going to do?  Men in China man-bag it all the time.  I have to be more fashion conscious.

Outside Pyjamas

Recently there have been a number of articles in the papers back home about wearing pyjamas outside of the home.  The comments on these stories ran into the hundreds, discussing everything from what is deemed acceptable attire to go down to the shops in, the unseemly nature of outside pyjama wearing, and the mental state of people who do so.  Here in China however, I can with confidence assure you that it is totally acceptable and in winter almost mandatory.  Pyjama wearing is not just for the young and lazy as some commentators have espoused, here the pyjama wearing public include the young and old, male and female, business people and parents, you name it.  I have to admit that the winter padded pyjamas look toasty and warm and I have considered buying some myself.  The winter here is very cold (-10 degrees celsius) so wearing some toasty padded pyjamas to go do the shopping in, sounds like a logical idea to me.

Sign of Our Times 4

Ok.  They’re rearing people in there.  This is a building inside the compound of a school in our county.  Just what goes on inside, I’m not sure.  It looks like a big comfortable building, room for one and all.  I’m sure people rearing is big time, but I’m not convinced.  It’s not possible, surely?  Besides, there are enough people already in China without the need to rear them.  It wasn’t that long ago that the one child policy was in full swing.  One policy to rule them all or people’s rule?