I've mentioned that a single Starbucks coffee will set you back at least 30 yuan, ($5.33) A package of Starbucks coffee beans to take home costs 85 RMB (so about the same as in Canada, $15).
In contrast, Ross and I can get a simple dinner at the food court for 12 yuan ($2.13) apiece. A meal on the street, such as squid on a stick or a pancake with egg and sausage and lettuce is about 4 or 5 yuan (80 cents to 1 dollar). I put 100 yuan ($17.75) on my bus pass card and have used it all summer, usually every day, and I still have more than 50 yuan credit on it. A nice sit-down dinner for the two of us with beer (which is cheaper than the iced drinks at the mall) is about 100 to 120 yuan ($21.30). Taxi rides start at 8.00 yuan ($1.42) and we've never paid more than 20 RMB ($3.55) to get from A to B in Zibo (Beijing is a different story). Our strata fee this month is 60 yuan ($10.65) which I suppose pays for water, maintenance, gardening, and the guards who patrol the property. Natural gas for cooking is incredibly cheap, just a few yuan a month. We don't cook all our meals but we do heat water to wash dishes.
But the thing that has really struck me as odd is the cost of plastic bins, the kind you would pick up at Canadian Tire or London Drugs for six to 15 dollars. They cost at least that much here and even more. When I first moved here I looked around for wicker wastebaskets and a wicker laundry hamper. Couldn't find wicker, which is plentiful in Vancouver's Chinatown. (Eventually Ross found me a wicker hamper at YiWu, shopper's paradise. )
However, it seems that colorful plastic goods, especially goods from Japan, represent the Good Life to the upwardly mobile Chinese housewife. I think wicker represents the past.