Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Recycling, lame bikes, and floors

Recycling in China is quite a different story than in the US.  I feel like in the US, the people who are most excited about recycling are rich and educated people.  In China, you can earn money from recycling, so you often see poor people digging through trash bags looking for recycling, and people with a 10 foot cube or recyclable material strapped to a cart behind their bike (which are very scary when they pass by)

Bikes suck here.  The quality is just terrible.  I've been here 6 weeks and I've had to get my bike repaired three times:  the tire went flat, the pedal fell off, and the axle broke.  Consequently, there are bike repair shops everywhere.  I think our campus has at least 20.  I imagine that the repair parts are about the same quality as the original bikes, so they break just as easily.

When I first arrived, I was always confused with the Chinese aversion to putting your stuff on the floor.  No one ever puts their backpack or purse on the floor in the classroom.  In the canteen, you can't put your bag on the floor because people are coming by every 5 minutes to clean it.  After a month, I'm starting to know why.  I've seen students spit on the floor, I've seen people drop any kind of trash on the floor.  I think it's part of the same cultural phenomenon as the trash in the mountains.  The world is my trash heap. . .

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