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March 29, 2005

Song huo ma? (Do you deliver the goods?)

We wanted to buy a little table, on top of which we could set our electric "dish sterilizer," so we (usually Terry) wouldn't have to bend over to load and unload.

Several weeks ago, we took a Sunday afternoon stroll down Gong Nong Lu (Workers and Farmers St.) in our neighborhood. About a quarter mile down the street, we came upon a little second-hand furniture shop. They had exactly what we were looking for. Since the asking price was only $10 and it was exactly what we wanted, and since I don't mind the street vendors occasionally earning A LITTLE extra from us, I said I'd buy if they would "song huo" -- deliver the goods. They agreed and within seconds hailed one of the ubiquitous "ren li che" (people-powered vehicle) drivers waiting for such assignments. I think they gave the driver (peddlar, to be precise) 5 rmb, about $.60. I thought we'd meet the driver back at our apartment, but to our surprised, he told us to climb aboard. Since the "vehicle" was basically a 3-wheeled tricycle with a flatbed in toe, "riding" meant sitting on siderails and holding on tightly. Terry had previously been afraid even to ride in the version of this vehicle designed for passengers, so I was a little surprised that she climbed aboard. In any case, we took a route of sidewalks and bicycle lanes and arrive home safely. -- Norty

Posted by now at March 29, 2005 04:26 PM