Birmingham,The Stirrer, Black Country

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond

Luke And Sarah's Nanjing Blog (2)



Birmingham couple Luke and Sarah Pinney have just moved to work in Nanjing, China for a year - along with their daughters Hannah (9) and Chloe(6). Luke has the latest instalment of their great adventure.

Sarah's been at work this week leaving me and the kids to our own devices. Most days have been spent shopping at one of the large supermarkets near us. We're slowly finding out what buses we need. The estate agent helped me buy a travel card so that the journeys are now 5p instead of 6p (10p instead of 12p in an air-conditioned bus).

So most things out here are really cheap. Trainers - £2, wall clock 90p, packet of fags 20p! (yes, I finally gave in after 2 weeks and bought a packet) and I bought an electric scooter the other day for £120.

It takes an hour for me to get to work on it instead of two hours on two buses. Apart from all the tower blocks, they're also building a metro but it won't be complete for two years.

I tried out the route to work tonight. Before I knew it I was in the suburbs of Nanjing. But I don't think you would call them suburbs. The roads quickly deteriorated into dirt tracks with just enough room for two cars to pass and not really suited to the large numbers of lorries and trucks transporting materials to one of numerous huge building projects.

My poor new scooter had a hard time so on the way back I took the main roads which all have cycle lanes on either side. Trouble is they are a bit busy and some of the bicycle contraptions are wide and slow. You wouldn't believe what some of them try to carry on them.

As for the new buildings - massive estates of tower blocks. I look at them and think of the riots of the 80s a generation after the estates were built in England and wonder if the Chinese youth will be rioting with frustration a generation down the line.

There are already some super rich Chinese (for example living in our posh estate). The new Chinese stock exchange has quadrupled in value in two years but many workers get paid £3 a day.

We hired an Aiyi (auntie) from yesterday. We are paying her just under £30 a week to do 21 hours work and that's a good rate of pay. We are part of the super rich with servants although Sarah says Aiyis aren't servants they are aunties who look after you - whatever.

In a good way she doesn't speak English and she's going to cook for us twice a week. We're certainly living a middle class life style out here. All we need is an oil guzzler and we'll be the perfect over-consuming planet destroyers in the true western capitalist style which even the Chinese are aspiring to these days.

Chinese local TV shows the Bunderliga which is a bit of drag when the satellite TV ain't working but Blues look doomed already. Might start playing soon!


The Stirrer Forum

The Stirrer home

valid xhtml

©2006 - 2009 The Stirrer