The Mac computer has a rather slow Chinese input, I'd better switch back to English for easier typing.
Know what I look like a moment ago when I at last came back from the rain? Jacket drenched, water drippling down from my hair, hand trembling from exposing a long time to the cold rain. When I went out, it was not raining. I needed to have my bike repaired as soon as possible, because my wife needs to ride it to work. The damned Wal-Mart-sold made-in-China bike broke down last week on the way when Wei rushed to work. Thank goodness she did not hurt. And she's been walking 40-50 minutes to work since then.
Actually I've bought a used car three weeks ago. Not having time to do the smog check, insurance, and registration all at once, I'm still not ready to learn to drive yet. I went to DMV to registrate yesterday, but they needed me to bring my car there for an appraisal, which could save me a few hundred bucks, they said. When i asked a friend to drive it there for me, the appraisal office already closed.
In Reno, we are like crippled without a car. A city not big not small, the public transport system is not as convenient as most big cities in China. You can not just count on bus if you don't drive yourself. Then, I'm either riding a bike, or just WALK. The first time I went to DMV, I thought it was not far, then i decided to walk. It proved to be a bad decisioni as I walked and walked, the East 4 street turned out to be so long. It took me 50 minutes to walk to the car registration office, and another 50 minutes to walk back. I failed to have time to play my weekly backetball last Friday. I was so upset.
It is not only the dread and labor that upset me. It's the loneliness for a pedestrian. You'll seldom see a fellow pedestrian on the curb in this city. If any, they are most likely to be homeless people or darker skin - African American or Mexicans, often poorer people here. Once I stopped my bike to ask for my way, the black guy answered my question and asked, "Hi, man, can you buy me a Coco Cola?"
I swear I'll master driving my car during the 9-day spring break.
Now I know why Americans would prefer throwing their stuff away instead of having it repaired when it breaks down or even small problems. My bike broke loose in the axis of the pedals, losing some bearings. When I asked the repairman in the bike shop how much it would take to fix it. He offered 40 bucks, 10 for the missing bearings, 30 for labor. Gosh, I bought the bike from WalMart for only 50 bucks, who would spend another $40 to fix an otherwise quite new bike? I would rather trash this bike and buy a new one!
I asked for discount, in vain. Then I asked if he had a bike for sale at similar price. I led me to his basement, showing me a used bike, asking for 40. It's not a nice bike. I bargained for 20 offering leaving my bike in his shop, he lowered 10 and held on to 30, saying he can tune up the bike before I took it. "Twenty," I said. "Thirty," he insisted. After a few rounds, I stepped back 5 bucks and asked for the same stance from him, which he agreed. He said he did not want to keep my bike, as he would spend 40 bucks' time to fix it. Then I decided to take it home, not wanting to leave the JS any profit.
I said I would go back to pick the $25 bike from his shop tomorrow. But now I regreted. That's another crappy made-in-China bike. I'd better not risk my wife's life on that unreliable bike again. I miss the Giant bike I had in Beijing. But here it begins from $200 and runs way up to 1000, according to the repairman. nnd, I must learn driving in no time.