I had assumed until now that China was more conducive to producing laughable stories than my homeland, but I have been shown how foolish a thought that was. After a week and half of being home, traveling here and there, seeing friends and family, I headed down to visit the home of my brother and sister-in-law down in Waco. The week before we, the family, had all been on vacation together at a lake where we have vacationed for years. This is where the story begins.
Though the air is still damp and cool, necessity is the mother of laundry. My first priority after class was to bundle up some whites and take them down to the laundry room.
Now, before the story really starts becoming another humorous China story, the laundry room alone deserves an honorable mention. I would be greatly exaggerating to simply say we have two washing machines. That alone would conjure images that do not belong anywhere near our modern washboards. These are the good old-and yes, they are supposed to be old and outdated even in China-manual washers. I know, I am not going to draw any sympathy from those of you that actually used washboards and washers with names like Beaver Creek. However, here is the process for a load of laundry: turn on the faucet to fill the tub and insert clothes, turn on the spin cycle timer, turn knob to drain tub, take out clothes and place them in the spin tub (taking up the right third of the washer), send them for a spin, then do it all again. This is no marvel of modern laundering electronics, but beats the boards.
Anders, a new foreign student in town, asked me to show him to the disc market. By disc market, I mean a market for anything that comes on a disc: DVD, VCD, CD, MP3, and lots of other acronyms I know not of. We found hundreds of movie and music discs, but did not see any computer software. If it is going to be anywhere, it is here.
As I stepped out of Wuxing department store, I stood amazed at the stampede of peddlers charging past with no concern for life or limb. As they pushed their “hot dog” stands at flank speed and ran with arms full of gallon pickle jars, water splashed, wheels roared, and the road cleared of all pedestrians. Was it just quitting time or were there mean cowboys at the rear bearing 20-foot whips?