There are several topics I really want to write about, including economic disruption, quality standards, organizational cultures, and future education paradigms. But I'm so unmotivated, it's the holiday and this heat does a lot to make one groggy. :)
But at the very least, here's another top-5 list of strange experiences in China. Am I getting punk'd or what? Or is this just China? :)
5. Tried to negotiate a ride with a guy on a moped. He wanted 8RMB to take me home from the subway station. You see, at all the major bus stops and subway stations, there are hordes of these moped guys (especially during rush hour), who try to provide alternative transport to commuters and travelers. You gotta wonder how much money they make doing this, considering the fuel cost (it's either gasoline or electricity-powered mopeds), and the number of refusals they get. I hardly see anyone climb aboard a moped. That makes sense, given that the bus came along shortly after, and I only needed to pay 1.6RMB to get home. Never mind that, the other night, my co-workers and I went to play soccer. The soccer field's pretty far away, so we tried to find a taxi. Freelance drivers are of course waiting during rush hour too. They wanted 200RMB to drive us to the soccer field. 200?? Maybe I heard wrong, but I swear that's what my co-worker told me. We found a taxi. Total cost? 30RMB.
4. Sorry, your hotel fees are not claimable for your relocation allowance. Wow, why not? It's the policy. But this policy makes no sense! Where am I supposed to stay when I'm trying to relocate then?? It's the policy, there's nothing I can do. Sad, but true. She's only the messenger, no point getting upset at her, especially after she shows me the policy. :( Am I glad I switched to a cheaper hotel back then.
3. There's something strange in the water here. Or there's something strange in the air. Whenever I take a shower, more and more residue of SOMETHING gets stuck on my towel after I dry off. After a few days, the towel can get pretty nasty. It'll get all brown or grey, and it'll stink like hell. Maybe there is too much pollution in the air, no idea, but I'm definitely thinking there's something in the water. For example, when I wash my hands, I can sometimes feel something slimy in the water. It could just be my imagination, but I don't think so? Suffice it to say, I'm never drinking water straight from the tap in China. Never have, never will. Unless it's been boiled and there's nothing else. Of course, the scary part is... the clothes washer uses the same water when I do my laundry? So is my towel getting cleaner or dirtier? I notice for sure anyway that I have to wash my towels twice before it gets really white and the smell completely disappears. Or is someone just sneaking into my apartment and dipping my towel into some kind of toxic gunk?
2. So I'm supposed to be learning Mandarin here, right? Why do I end up speaking Japanese more with certain co-workers than Mandarin or English? I am in China, right? :)
1. I tried to withdraw some cash yesterday. I got paid just in the nick of time yesterday, as I literally spent my last 14RMB on dinner last night. Well, the ATM would only let me withdraw 100RMB. Why?? At first, I thought there was something wrong with my card, some kind of hold on my paycheque, since I had already deposited a little over 100RMB into the account previously. Numbers matched up for that scenario. But no, it turns out the ATM was empty. Wow. First time I've ever experienced an empty ATM in my life. :) I wonder how long it'll take them to refill it with cash, since today was the start of the week-long public holiday. Oh yeah, speaking of which, I worked 5 hours today. Maybe I should just do the same as one of my program managers and just shut off the computer until we come back to work. But I got two projects in the red zone. :(