POST IN PROGRESS
You know you're in a Chinese public toilet when you'd rather be peeing in the middle of the woods and squatting between thorn bushes.
At the Wanfu Flower Market, my friend suggested I buy this dried up bunch of twigs. She claimed that once put in water, in two weeks they would sprout leaves and fill with beautiful blooms. "What the heck!", I thought, and bought a bunch. And wow! Watching this bunch of twigs turn into a brilliant bloom has been like watching life unfurl in slo-mo!
Prices are crazy inexpensive for most commodities and services. (I'll convert all Chinese Yuan (RMB - ¥) to US$ for ease.)
For instance, everything I bought at IKEA last week I had delivered, so I could join friends for dinner that evening. Delivery cost $11 and boxing/wrapping $6 (!!!).
In the morning, when I'm huffing to work nearly late, I stop at a spot on the ground floor of my apartment building to by steamed buns and a hot, sweet, rice drink: $1.25. I ate a "western" style dinner last night at a cafe nearby, which is much much more than you'd pay at a little sidewalk Chinese restaurant. I think the most I've paid for dinner at a Chinese place is $2.25 for a huge meal--if that much. Dinner at the "Italian cafe" was $19 but I had wine. The difference is this: a meal at a Chinese sidewalk place is 10¥ and my pizza last night was 59¥. That's a $7.50 difference LOL.
What else... bus fare is .15 cents with a card and .30 cents cash. Subway tix are .30 cents. Household necessities are also very inexpensive.
The crappy Walmart-quality stuff from China must only be made for export, because I just don't see a lot of low-quality goods here. Even inexpensive items are decent-to-good quality.
I like it! More soon!