Pharmacy, Pizza Hut, Wuda Roads: Monday 09 June 2008
Dragon Boat Day. As we walked around the "Wuda Roads European Style Esthetic Area" (as the map says), some residents and workers could be found laying on the sidewalk near this area taking naps (as it was cooler for them there in the shade than in their apartments). The apartments in this area are expensive, so many of the ground flats have windows that open up to some kind of commercial enterprise--like food or drinks. We went to a tea house where the men were playing cards in one room, with plenty of money on the table. The private tea room could be used for 40 Yuan (less than $6) and the tea itself could be had for 140 Yuan (around $20), which seemed to me a bit pricey after lunch at Pizza Hut for around 200 Yuan. Tea is said to be quite an experience here, perhaps another time, however... Many of the historic buildings are now hotels. One hotel was priced at between $80-$300 per night and seemed to be frequented by Japanese businessmen.
The Super Supreme pizza there was alright, though I would have preferred a bit more sauce. Their Veggie included corn, as well. Their smoothies were nice: Green Tea seemed to be the favorite coming out of the kitchen. We observed a bit of Chinese culture there: On at least 3 occasions, people piled their one-visit plate to the salad bar higher than a foot, carefully packing as many things onto said plate as possible. They would then bring it to their table as 3-4 people would pick food from the same plate. This just adds to the "China Price" concept mentioned in some of the prior readings. I suspect that they just wanted to get their money's worth; I also suspect that there is more of a price-elasticity of demand for most products in China than back home.
The train station was packed as everyone was going back to Beijing for work the next day, perhaps. Tickets, though the same price, were for standing room only. The unofficial bus had raised its price from the previous day to 40 Yuan per passenger. While the train is the state-run company. The taxis and the bus are entrepreneurs' solutions to the needs of the customer: that's what makes an economy.
I picked up some herbal medicine from a Chinese pharmacy. It is in Chinese and English: Nin Jiom Pei P Koa Traditional Chinese Herbal Cough Syrup that is to be taken three times per day (but won't hurt you if you take it when you're not sick, so I'm told). It tastes a bit like Robitussin with lots of honey--it's not bad, actually. This pharmacy would not sell me antibiotics without a doctor's prescription (then why was I able to buy some the previous day at a different pharmacy across town--that guy didn't strike me as being a doctor). China: some follow the rules perfectly, some less so...
The Duluth-like frigid temperature of my hotel room was a nice intermittent respite throughout the hot day.