Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Bad China Day

Anyone who has lived in China for any length of time will know what I mean by a “Bad China Day (BCD)”. Everyone gets them. It is a day where nothing seems to go right and no matter how much you like China, for a spell you hate it with venomous loathing. There may be good reasons to feel bad that particular day, but often there aren’t. You just feel all the frustration and insanity piling up against your door.

I had one of those days yesterday.

I decided to go to stick some money into my prepaid bus IC card. I usually fill it up with ¥100 at a time, which lasts me about a year. I walk most places. Not only does the card save you having to worry about having the correct loose change, but you even get a little discount (¥0.10) on each trip!

Liuzhou Bus Prepayment Card

Liuzhou Bus Prepayment Card

I arrived at the bus company office on 广雅路 to find the entire aged population of the city standing in a long, snaking line heading miles back through the adjacent market space. Looks like I’d picked the pensioners’ free bus pass issuing day (actually, it goes on for 6 days!)

Free Bus Pass Day

Free Bus Pass Day

That was enough to trigger a full blown BCD.

I then had to go out into the countryside to pick up some work. That is never a good thing! Then went to catch my bus back to the city. I was standing at the bus stop when I realised I’d left my USB hard drive attached to the computer in my country home. That 1T hard drive is my central nervous system. I need it. So off I trek through the drizzle and cold to get it. Of course, then I missed my bus and had a freezing 20 minute wait for the next one.

Happy chappy, I wasn’t.

I had arranged to meet a dear friend for dinner. She is going to Washington State in September to do a master’s degree, and while I am delighted that she has this opportunity, I am going to miss her enormously.

When she arrived at our chosen venue, she told me that although she is going to the US in September, she first has to do some pre-MA training in Beijing and is leaving next week for five months, before going directly from there to the US. I had unknowingly turned up for a farewell dinner with one of my best friends.

It was a strange meal. Not the food which was fine. But, most unusually, I just wasn’t in an eating mood. Her announcement had thrown me a total loop. We tried to remain upbeat, but I am sure anyone could see we weren’t succeeding. For the first time in the many years I have known her, we didn’t know what to say.

Eventually, although we tried to delay it, it became time to go. We walked home (she lives very near me) and said our tearful goodbyes with a hug. I had a bit further to go and I walked the last stretch feeling utterly depressed.

I got home to my Liuzhou place and found that my home computer, on which I write 99% of this blog and do all my work on, had died completely. Stone cold dead. Also, I couldn’t recharge the failing battery in my cell phone as I use the USB connection from the computer to the phone for that – the charger is in the countryside.

It was too late to do anything about it (the computer shops were all closed. I had just walked past them all. I live almost next door to Liuzhou’s main computer shop area), so I just sat there staring at the dead monitor, a now blind window to my world. I felt empty. I was no longer depressed. Depression is a something. I felt nothing. I went to bed hours earlier than I ever normally do.

This morning, I carried my dead PC across the road and half an hour later, with some parts and ¥150 lighter in my pocket, I was back home and reconnected to the world. It even stopped drizzling for long enough for me to get there and back.

So, I’m back on track, more or less. I still feel the immense sadness that my friend is going, but also deep happiness for her. She has had a shitty couple of years and deserves some adventure.

(Friday Food is taking a break this week for technical and personal reasons. Back next week.)

Have a Good China Day. They are a lot better. Believe me.

. This entry was posted on Friday, March 7th, 2014 at 12:47 pm and is filed under Friday Food, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

15 Responses to “Bad China Day”

  1. Matt Says:

    It might be trite, but some say: this too shall pass.

  2. Robert Shwab Says:

    . My girlfriend’s daughter has a small car, and it is very convenient. What’s the deal with having a small car? You sound like the perfect English gentlemen with city and country estates. It seems like you could use a car.

  3. Liuzhou Laowai Says:

    With 600 new vehicles hitting Liuzhou’s streets every week, the city grinding to a halt and the increasingly bad air quality, I won’t be buying a car any time soon.

    People tend to blame the smog and pollution on the factories. Wrong. Liuzhou’s air was much worse 10-15 years ago, then around 2000 – 2003 they closed the worst offending factories, moved others away from the city centre, and introduced cleaner ways of working. The air cleared up. Around 2003, for the first time ever, I saw blue skies in Liuzhou.

    Then around 2008 China went on this insane, unsustainable craze of car buying. These damned commies sure like to keep up with the Joneses. Everyone and his uncle has to have a car. And the pollution swiftly returned.

    Now, I do 95% of my work at home. Why the hell would I want to spend all that money to buy a big lump of metal which sits outside my apartment 24 hours a day? Why would I want to go to the expense of buying the thing in the first place, then tax, insurance, maintenance, fuel, oil, etc? Why should I have to worry about the where to park or whether the car has been stolen?

    I reckon, as I said, I spend about ¥100 a year on transport. It would be insane to buy a car. Are you really suggesting that a car would be a better idea?

    Usually I walk. It’s exercise. To get out to my “country estate”, I use a bus. It costs me ¥1.70 a trip. If I’m in a hurry to get around town, I use taxis. Liuzhou taxis are cheap and convenient. Let the taxi driver worry about all the garbage that comes with car owning.

    A plague on this car culture. It is killing Liuzhou. I’m not going to be that irresponsible.

  4. David Says:

    Well we all have that kind of day occasionally Ken , but to be fair to the good old PRC (!) shouldn’t that be headed Bad Day IN China ? Sounds miserable though , mainly about the loss of your dear friend , but hey , there’s always Skype and now that Baillian Airport is promised (yet again) fast jets are only a cab ride away…….

  5. Liuzhou Laowai Says:

    No. It’s called a BAD CHINA DAY! Has been for decades.

    My friend is Chinese. We won’t be using Skype!

  6. Robert Says:

    Point taken, about the car. I guess you could always rent or borrow a car, in case for example, you wanted to visit that sprawling new Guangxi province park near Yangshuo with all the gaudy Simpson characters. My laopo’s daughter kept calling it a bowuguan, but the huge buildings were empty of bowuguan stuff. Let us know if you learn anything about this park.

  7. Liuzhou Laowai Says:

    Despite my total refusal to buy a car, I’d rather do that than visit any theme park anywhere in China, but especially in Yangshuo. You won’t be learning anything about it here.

  8. Carl Johnson Says:

    I think I MUST visit Yangshuo now. Just to see how bad it really is! LOL

  9. David Says:

    I kinda guessed she was Chinese , Ken , but why does that rule out Skype or QQ ? Well , apart from not being able to share dinner !!

  10. Liuzhou Laowai Says:

    a) I didn’t rule out QQ.

    b) How many Chinese people use Skype? Next to none.

    c) We will be using WeChat.

  11. Carl Johnson Says:

    Really? I regularly Skype with two people in Liuzhou. Feng Lian got me started on Skype. And I quite agree about the car. Public transportation is so inexpensive there, and by and large, pretty good!

  12. Liuzhou Laowai Says:

    I’d say for every person using Skype in China there are 10,000 using QQ/WeChat.

  13. Carl Johnson Says:

    I understand. Just surprised to learn this. I had never heard of either of those, but that is not surprising at all. I’m about as computer savvy as your Great Aunt Martha!

  14. brian Says:

    I am staying in Liuzhou can you tell me where that computer shop is

  15. Liuzhou Laowai Says:

    There are dozens of computer shops on 三中路 (sān zhōng lù)

    From the city centre take a no 5, 6, 19, 24, or 31 bus heading north. Get off at the first stop in San Zhong Lu (市委
    shì wěi). The computer shops are on the opposite side of the road. Or ask a taxi to take you to (市委 shì wěi).

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