Monday, December 22, 2008

Amazing Shanghai

I got my pants fixed at a tailor in the market (yes, one of the shops in the market belongs to a tailor). It was about 4 cm too long, and the wear over the years had frayed the last 2 cm quite badly.

The tailor tut-tutted disapprovingly at the terrible state of my pants, and told me one of the holes would have to be patched before she can shorten and hem the legs. “You should have got them repaired earlier before they became like this,” she chided.

Expecting the worst, I asked her how much to get it fixed.

7 RMB, she tells me.

I collected it the next day, and the workmanship was good.

But golly, 7 RMB! 

(7 RMB is equivalent 3.60 MYR or 1.02 USD.)


On days when I do not feel like taking the 30 minute walk home from the office, I take a bus that costs 2 RMB and takes about 30 minutes for me to get home (after considering the waiting and the bad traffic).

The front door of the bus is for entry, and the rear to disembark. However, when the bus is full, commuters will squeeze in from the rear door anyway. On bad days, the interior of a bus can be more miserable than a can of sardines (part of the reason I chose to walk).

Remarkably, some of the people who enter from the rear (this sounds… sexy wrong) will tap the shoulder of someone in front, and pass them their metro card. Slowly, the card gets passed to the front where it is beeped against the card reader-writer to deduct the fare, and then it makes its way back again.

Perhaps this is a very normal occurrence in cities around the world. Maybe it’s just my kiasu, exploitive mindset that makes it appear so amazing.

Please enlighten me – is voluntarily paying the bus ticket normal?


Updates on the previous post:

I have found an unsecured wireless connection in range, so I borrow their bandwidth in the meantime. It’s a tad bit slow and unstable, but it’ll do for surfing and chatting. Still need to use my own connection for more intensive activities like Skye and YouTube though.

And I download my physics lectures at the office as FLV files and watch them at home. At 1.30 hours a lecture, these files are not to be trifled with.