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A 'normal' life!

Popularity 1Viewed 2236 times 2015-6-15 08:52 |System category:Life| normal, life, china

I suppose many of you reading these blogs probably think what an exotic or adventurous time I must lead but I am not sure it’s a lot different to what you all do back home. Whoa! Well it is different in that you can’t understand what people are saying and you can’t read signs to help you get around either, everybody looks Chinese, nobody can drive, the food you eat is not the same, strange customs, no pubs, opposite seasons and you probably don’t use an interpreter to go to the supermarket. Other than those minor differences the things that you do are basically the same. You get up, you have breakfast, shower, get ready for work, go to work, shop for food, occasionally go out to a restaurant to eat, catch taxis, cook meals at home, visit friends and so on. Some people work in offices, many  work outside in the fields or construction and some of us are teachers. So the day is basically the same as when I lived in Australia. Basically!


Walking down the street in China is an adventure, that’s for sure, because it’s akin to walking a mountain trail strewn with rocks, cracks, wild animals and various obstacles. The state of the sidewalks / footpaths are not far short of disgraceful so even bird watching of the female variety instead of concentrating on where you are walking is not a smart thing to do as you will either twist your ankle on the broken pavement, fall down a manhole because the cover has been removed or stolen, get hit by a car or electric scooter because vehicles are allowed on the footpaths or just be barreled over by a Chinese person as they have no idea of personal space. It wouldn’t look real cool to the girl you are looking at as you go base over apex while giving her a flirting smile either! Mind you the laughs and attention you would get from everybody else would be almost worth it. 


You know what else irritates me here? No Yellow Pages. Or even a directory to give you the address and type of businesses being run here. It’s all done word of mouth. Even the foreigners just tell each other what little shop or eatery they have discovered. Mind you I don’t know what value a Yellow Pages all written in Chinese would have for me! At the risk of being stared at even more openly I still venture into shops that look interesting from the outside and in this way I have found stationery stores, shoe repairers, hardware, electronics, bike repairs, a seamstress and places that sell every conceivable thing you want to buy….except a butcher shop that knows how to cut meat.


The dress shop in the courtyard below sells not only dresses and women’s clothing. If you walk down to the back you will find the most amazing items all made of jade in different purity and therefore varying prices ranging from $10,000AUD to $50AUD. Yes, expensive stuff, jade! Because this is not a tourist area (and never will be) the goods are made for the local market and that makes the stuff all very Chinese craft and I, for one, found a lot of it quite beautiful and unique. I am considering it my private gift store for when I go home because I want to bring gifts to my family and friends that are genuinely Chinese and not the cheap and nasty stuff you might find at a tourist venue like The Great Wall or the Forbidden City. Well, it’s not so cheap at those places but you can bargain viciously.


When you are alone in your apartment and either working, playing the guitar, listening to music or reading a book, you have the windows closed if it’s winter outside or you have the air conditioner on because it’s summertime, no outside noises penetrate your fortress, that is when you can imagine you are at home in your own country. You can ring the family on Skype, even see them on the monitor, talk to friends on any number of chat platforms and it seems like life is normal. (I actually have my computer streaming a Perth radio station into my apartment every day.) Once you open those windows and the curtains, that’s when you know you’re in a different country. Street sounds, smells, voices speaking Chinese, apartments all around you. Not home. China

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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