I was wrong!


I have 2 retractions to make today. I’ll get the silly one out of  the way first. About 2 weeks ago I said that I was getting used to the heat and humidity. I am. But I also went on to brag that I wasn’t sweating. That’s the first retraction. I walked 2 blocks through a nicely shaded, beautifully maintained park to get to Starbucks for an iced coffee. I arrived dripping, not just sweating but dripping! I had to get a napkin to clean myself up. To be fair it was 103° (39°C for my European and Aussie friends, hey K) but I shouldn’t have claimed so early on that I was used to the heat. I think it’s just that I’m spoiled. Ben drops me off in front of wherever I’m going and picks me up in the same place. I don’t have time to work up a bead of sweat! I think my body was rebelling that it had to actually walk someplace.

I make the second retraction with my hat in hand and head bowed. When I was describing the Crap Market a while ago I was comparing it to most American malls and said that cheap stuff is down low which is opposite what it is in the States. Several local Chinese have told me that the Chinese are lazy and I concluded that the cheap stuff is on the first floors  so that it’s more accessible to the general populace. I was just repeating what I had been told. Well, I’ve thought about it and have come to the conclusion that they are far from lazy. Very far from it. Perhaps while they’re out and about on their own time they come across as lazy but I think it’s because they’re so darn tired from all the work that they do! They are very hard workers. They are also willing to do any kind of work; no job is too menial. There is always someone waiting  to do the work if they don’t want to. You cannot believe the people we see with huge bundles on their bikes or the number of people who work to maintain the parks and gardens. They’re doing it in 103° heat too.  Anders and I watched a person on a bike on the road across the river from us with a load that defied the laws of gravity! Even Anders couldn’t figure out how the whole load did not just tip man and bike face first (should have bought binoculars!) Last night I saw a woman walking down the street with a piece of wood across her shoulders (yoke style) and on each end was a huge bag of something very heavy. These bags were only a few inches above the pavement. She was struggling mightily  but just kept on trudging. It was unbelievable and I can’t help but admire that kind of tenacity.I was humbled. Geez, no wonder they don’t want to walk up to the top floor to buy something. They should have conveyor belts of merchandise for these hard-working Chinese, similar to what you see in some Japanese restaurants.

They’re not lazy, they’re exhausted!  Thank you for letting me clear my conscience, I did not sleep well last night.  I’m 50 years old and was raised to think for myself.  I did and Anders this one’s for you:


4:45PM – 103°


About vikarenously

I am an ex-pat living in Guangzhou, China. I am married to the man of my dreams who has indulged my love of travel by working hard enough to snag two international assignments. Oh yes, I also have two amazing children who accompanied us on our first one to Switzerland and are now mature and responsible adults which makes it so easy for us to experience this adventure as empty-nesters. Experience it vicariously with Karen.

2 responses »

  1. I travel with my husband around China and I was shocked when I learned how little these people earn, how they live to survive and that the children are not allowed to go to school. Only the elite Chinese have any benefits. I wish you luck with your search for volunteer work, it is all controlled by the government. I am not allowed as we are not that high up on the corporate food chain. And I had to fill out all my own visa paperwork and pay for it myself.

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