16:30, 11 December. I made the best purchase of my time in Shanghai so far. I hear you ask: “What did you buy, Renée? Those pajamas you were raving about? With matching lense-less glasses? A miracle machine that would prevent Max from being run-over? Surely not the iPad you’ve been drooling about for the past 3 months?” No, I bought something far better. I bought a bike.
Over the last 3 months, I’ve loudly been declaring that owning a bike wasn’t necessary. In reality, I was quite jealous of the millions of people that own one here. But, convinced I’d get run over if I ever attempted to weave my way through the streets in this crazy city, I stubbornly maintained that the metro was just as effective in getting me from place to place. Yesterday, I caved.
My flatmate mentioned last week that his classmate had an extra bike he planned on selling. This wouldn’t have interested me if it hadn’t had been for the fact that I had come late to class every single day for the last 5 days. In all fairness, I can’t actually blame this lateness on the tube. I blame it on my inability to leave the apartment without eating some kind of breakfast. Since my parents visit, I’ve taken to eating toast with hagelslag (if you don’t know what this is, you’re seriously missing out). It’s delicious. It also causes me to daydream about tulips and windmills and all other things that the typical Dutch person living abroad thinks about in their mornings (yes, I’m being slightly sarcastic).
But back to the point. A Chinese person without a bike/electric scooter is kind of.. unnatural. But a Dutch person without a bike.. well, that’s almost unheard of. We grow up on two wheels. And I’ve never actually bought my own. But yesterday, for a whopping 150RMB (roughly 15 pounds, or 19 euros), I acquired said bike. This purchase was monumental. The first real step of my adulthood. Buy a bike. Buy a car. Buy a house. Maybe I should try to squeeze getting my driving-license somewhere in there first though.
This bike, you can hear it from a mile off. It squeakes and squakes and the front wheel makes this rattling noise that probably means it’ll fall off within the week. The basket is loose, one of the brakes doesn’t work, and it’s actually a man’s bike. But it’s bright blue. And it’s mine. I love it already.
So Shanghai, beware, you’ve got another crazy Dutchie racing through your streets.
Tagged: Out and About