Wednesday, June 9, 2010

China 9 June 2010

Well here we go again.

The hostel I was staying at had internet and it was free for the guests. Actually a lot of locals come in and drink at the bar there and I think they use the internet too. Sometimes it was so hard to find a free computer. Anyway that is how I was able to send news from Xi'an.

Now let me say at the outset of this little tale that I am O.K., no bruises or broken bones.

Yesterday afternoon I was crossing a small street, looked both ways and successfully arrived at the other side of the road and stepped onto the footpath. Now remember what I said about them parking on the footpath? Well just as I took a step on the footpath this car reversed into me! Only clipped my arm and I hit the back of the car with my hand, there was a man behind me and he was nudged as well.The driver stopped but, as I was not injured, I kept going but his paint (because I can not spell duco) was scratched by my watch. That will teach him to mess with an Aussie. As I said am O.K. and today my hand and arm is fine. I think it was just the shock of being hit by a reversing car while on the footpath!

When I related this tale to locals, nationals and foreigners, they all said I should have fallen down and insisted on the police being called. Now I can think of lots of reasons not to do that. Firstly I did not think about doing it, secondly they may have insisted I go to hospital for a check-up (not a chance) and thirdly I know I scratched his car and I did not want him after me for a re-paint.

In Xi'an I noticed lots of groups of ladies, about 8-12, sitting on the footpath so I asked back at the hostel what that was about as they did not seem to be selling. These ladies help people complete forms, write letters etc. They also do sewing, taking up hems etc. I am amazed at the ways the people find to make a little money.

At construction sites there is always groups of men waiting to be called for one or two hours casual work. I know this sort of thing occurred in Australia after the wars but it is still going on in China. Cause for thought.

Caught the train last night at 8:40pm from Xi'an. I had what is called a "soft sleeper" which means there are 4 beds (two double bunks) in the compartment. Would you believe I had to share with 3 MEN! No one here seems to think that is unusual. The men stripped down to their undies to sleep (not in front of me though, under the covers) so, not to be outdone I went into the toilet, put on 2 more pair of undies, a shirt, jumper and two pair of slacks! Oh and for comfort I unhooked my bra.

I went to the buffet car for breakfast and one of my bunk mates (the only one of the 3 who spoke English) was there so I asked him what was on the menu. He said only what was on his plate. Have a new eating rule here. If they can not make me understand what is on the plate I am not eating it! I saw a boiled egg and that was all I recognised.

Photo of my English speaking bunkmate leaving the train.

The bunk mate who could speak English got off the train about 3 hours before Tianjin and a lady came into the compartment. They do not change the bedding and she just laid down, covered herself up and went to sleep. About 2 hours later she awoke and starting eating. Cup noodles and something in a vacuum pack which I am sure were chicken feet!

Scenes of the countryside snapped during my train trip back to Tianjin. I do not know where I was at the time but this is pretty much the scenery all the way back. I was trying to snap some workers in the fields but by the time I clicked the camera we were passed them. Again, if you enlarge the photo and to the right you may just be able to make out some figures. It must be such a hard life as they may have a hoe else they work with their hands.

Arrived at Tianjin and 2:40pm today and only had had biscuits to eat so I was really starving.

Am home now, bathed fed and coffee'd.

Am tired so photos will go up tomorrow. Besides which my camera's battery needs recharging as much as I do.

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