With the help of a student from the school, I recently visited a second-hand market to buy a bicycle. The student negotiated with the bicycle vendor and translated for me. "She says you should not buy that bicycle because you are fat," he explained helpfully. We got a sturdier bicycle that has held up so far.
For my first forays into the mayhem that is Zibo traffic, I chose Zhongrun Avenue near my apartment complex because traffic is light on this wide boulevard and the streets are well lit. In the cool of the evening, there are lots of couples out walking. I pass a barbeque restaurant -- these are easy to recognize because of the smoky aroma and the fact that the patrons sit outside on little stools around low tables. I sure look forward to going to these places with Ross when he finally arrives in China. Except for the little stools around low tables part. We'll work something out.
The evening also brings out more street vendors at almost every corner, selling clothes or housewares, and I saw several mobile bookstores in the gathering twilight. Watermelons, cherries, plums and apricots are offered for sale. Old men sit and chat, grandmothers walk with their little grandsons and daughters. Most city busses have stopped by 7:00 pm but the neighborhoods are alive with activity and no wonder -- apartments are small and probably stuffy in this heat and the street is a pleasant place to be in the evening breeze. Furthermore, there is a truly impressive amount of urban planting in this city -- trees and flowering shrubs and flowers.