Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Well, it finally happened. My one-lock bicycle was stolen. No, really. I'm serious. I had parked it outside the East Gate under the steps of the pedestrian bridge. I have parked it there several times, but it is a vulnerable spot, because there is no bicycle guard there, and several bikes have disappeared. Not only that, but there was a guy sitting there watching me as I left my bike. Not that that means anything, but I am suspicious.

Actually, I should be happy it lasted so long. I have had it since January. And it was due for some major repair. Most of the time, when I had it fixed, it was something small. But this time, there was something wrong with the crank. It was making a strange sound and skipping a bit every time I peddled. And sometimes it was hard to peddle. Almost like someone threw some sand in the crank. Maybe it just needed oil. Or maybe the bearings were shot. Anyway, I was planning to get it fixed, and I would gladly have paid anything up to the value of the bike, because it looked really ugly, and that was handy.

It isn't really the cost, it's the nuisance of having to worry about getting another bike. I paid a little less than 100RMB for it. What's 100 RMB? The exchange rate is about 8.2, so it comes to a little over twelve dollars. One hundred renminbi is what I gave my first tutor in China for two hours of tutoring on a Saturday. It's the figure quoted me by a black market taxi driver in Shanghai for going to the Bund. It's two thirds the cost of lunch at the restaurant in the tower. Believe it or not, I paid 150 RMB for lunch in the revolving restaurant at 263 meters. One hundred RMB is the cost of a Turkey dinner at the John Bull Pub. It's about what you would pay to take a cab from the airport to the center of Beijing. And last, but not least, 100 RMB is the maximum daily payment allowed for hospitalization on my health insurance policy.

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