13 June 2003 2003 nian 6 yue 13 hao

Journal: Back in the Saddle

I bought a bike last weekend. I feel a lot more free now. Admittedly, I haven't used that freedom yet, except to ride to school, but I look forward to exploring more of the city. I don't dare go anywhere else until I buy a second lock, since everybody I speak to seems to have a story about how their last bike disappeared after a week, or even just a day! To make matters worse, my bike has gears (uncommon here) and is also brightly coloured red and yellow. In China, it stands out in a crowd as much as its owner does. The lock I have at the moment is the kind that resembles a padlock and locks through the spokes of the back wheel so that it can't turn. Bikes here are often secured this way, rather than chaining them to a fixed object.

Today was my last class for the semester. Only some marking and some admin to go until I can put it all behind me. I was planning to celebrate by buying a guitar tomorrow. But after my class, I had a few hours left before the department store would close. So I went out today and bought a guitar. My next goal is to find some music for Chinese folk songs.

I also bought a jianzi last week, so that I can practise kicking it. Now I'm thinking of buying a basketball. When will the spending spree end? This is typical just before a holiday: making all sorts of plans that probably won't be realised.

25 July

"Let some people get rich first", said Deng Xiaoping. It is yet to be seen whether the less often quoted second part of his master plan, "prospering together", will ever be fully realised. But my bicycle has already travelled down the path of wealth redistribution, having been stolen from inside the entrance to my apartment building last night. I will replace it with a real bike, without gears or fancy aluminium wheels, and see how long that lasts.

So Toddlington... now that you've got the basic possessions that make a man a man (guitar and bike)... you'll be in a good position to offer some songs to those who are dead keen to hear your singing. Your new cd released in China looms closer on the horizon of tomorrow.

Do chinese people make good musical instruments?

Why did you get a bike that isn't a stock standard local bike? Surely a single speed would have been an exciting challenge?
16.06.2003 , 19:19

Virtually all chinese pop albums have a photo of the singer on the front cover (is this true in Australia too?), so that's the only sticking point between me and a lucrative contract :)

I wouldn't say that China is renouned for musical instruments. One friend suggested that I buy a Yamaha! But I bought a mid-range chinese guitar, and the workmanship seems pretty sturdy. However, using three different tuning methods (pitch pipe, fifth fret, and harmonics) I seem to get three slightly different results. I'm not sure yet if this is a problem with the guitar, or with my ear, which has a bad track record. (Why do environmentalists make good musical instruments? Because they're always in tune.)

If my current bike gets stolen, I'll buy a prol-mover.
17.06.2003 , 08:49

Hi todd, glad to hear that all is well, hopefully by the time you read this you will still have your bike :) maybe you can serenade some nice young china dolls over there ? take care look forward to your next exciting adventure at the shopping malls!!
17.06.2003 , 18:16

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