To Your Heart's Content

Saturday, November 05, 2005

It's Crazy!

As a friend recently put it, "that's the way chinese do business i guess, no clear logistics AND certainly minimum transparency...it's crazy!!!" So the other day I got the old 炒鱿鱼--that is, my fish was fried. Promised a job till January, my boss told me that the company can no longer afford to pay me, blah, blah, blah. Which isn't a big deal except for its convenience: it was located at my university. So on to search for another one in the endless sea of jobs teaching English...at least I still have the other, also located on campus, which pays quite decently (in fact, it pays more than I was ever paid working in LA).

In China, a clear and bright day (rare in Beijing) can quickly turn into a storm (Chinese proverb). Accountability usually flies out the window, with baby and all, and one is left wondering sometimes how the hell a country of 1.3 billion manages. There is ostensibly some order to the chaos, and I am slowly figuring it out (that is soon to come....). If you ever want to get a taste of the closest a developing country can get to chaos, come ride you bike in Beijing at 5pm on a Tuesday. I dare you. Only the brave who yearn for adrenaline rushes, madness and mayhem, would do it, oh, and the average Beijing citizen, be he a grandpa with his child on the back smiling at you or a seven year old girl coming home from school.

Speaking of bikes, you can buy one for 10 bucks, brand new. But have no fear, it will slowly give way. The spokes will get caught in the chain, your axle will snap, or you'll get hit by somebody who's half asleep or is particularly angry at foreigners that day because Koizumi visited the shrine again. Don't be surprised if your pedal, or both, fly off (probably into somebody elses spokes or chain) and you just let it go (that is, the pedal-the other guy is used to it) because they are 20 cents each. If you decide to take it up one notch, and go for, let's say a fifty dollar bike, well, it will be stolen. so don't even go there.

Nevertheless, it's a great exercise for your reflexes. And, it's crazy!

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