Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Better and better

We live in a new and improved China. This year our city recorded the highest number of clear sky days ever. Well, at least since they've been keeping track. I'm sure back in the days of the emperors they weren't tracking air quality. But even more than the weather is the development. The throw pillows I bought at a store here look like something from Pier 1. When we were here before, it was hard to find a diet coke. Now you can buy one off any guy on the street. Erik called about an apartment in the famous Olympic dragon building next to the water cube, just out of curiosity. The units there are 600 sq meters (about 7,000 sq ft) and are selling for $7 million. There are Chinese people who can afford those. We can't.

Everywhere you look, there are signs that China keeps getting better and better. This reminds me of a video they would play during the last Olympics when we were here. The gist of it was, "Our cell phones are smaller, our houses are bigger, our kids are smarter, the old people keep getting older, life just keeps getting better and better!"

This was evident again this morning when our refrigerator repairman came. Our fridge has been plugged in for about two weeks, and the kids have been thrilled by all the "snow" in the freezer. The man who came wore new cargo pants I might find in my husband's closet, and a company shirt, and his hair was spiked in a bed head kind of way. When I pulled out the receipt to show him it was under warranty, he pulled out his cell phone and took pictures of it. Contrast that image with the time we had our AC installed in our first apartment in 2000. Three men came wearing belts that wrapped around them 1 1/2 times. They carried their tools in old nappy bags. When one of them had to lay perpendicular to our window to hang out twenty stories and install that AC unit, they wrapped an old rope around his waist and gave the end of it to Erik. Not exactly the picture of professionalism.

Ah yes, I have to say that though a part of me misses those days because they made for great stories, I'm enjoying the new and improved China. I'm heading across the street for a Coke Zero and another bar of Dove 66% dark chocolate (couldn't find much chocolate of any kind the first time around!).

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