Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Well, it looks like the old dollar twenty cabs are going the way of history. I did manage to find one today, but I really had to look.

Sometimes I think China is too image conscious. Everybody is getting ready for the Olympics, so all the old taxis are being replaced. Right now, there are dollar twenty cabs and dollar sixty cabs. The dollar twenty cabs are small rough-riding Xialis. Not much for comfort, but they are cheap. The dollar sixty cabs are a little bigger, and they are now all being replaced with Hyundais or Volkswagen sedans. But the little red Xialis are not being replaced. They are just disappearing.

Perhaps I should not make such a big deal of the difference. The small cabs start with a base of 10RMB. Then each kilometer adds an additional 1.20 RMB (about 15 cents). So what's the difference between 1.20 RMB and 1.60 RMB? Four mao is about a nickel. But that is what frustrates me. Because the difference is small, people just let it slide. It's always that way.

I remember when the price of the daily paper (Wall Street Journal) went up from 50 cents to 75 cents. I was in the trucking industry at the time. I said, "No way. I won't pay it." So I started buying USA Today, which was still fifty cents. But after a few days in kindergarten, I got tired of it and decided to bite the bullet and pay up. So it is with the good people of Beijing. They will have to bear the brunt of China's image-consciousness re: the coming Olympic games. But maybe it's fair in the end, because they will have more than their share the government funded upgrades, including several new church buildings, that are being built in preparation for that event. We'll see.

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