Chinese Stories in English
Laopo and I have moved twice in the last year and a half. We moved from the west side of Liuzhou to the east side in the summer of 2011, and last week we moved to a place a little farther south. We hired a moving company each time.
Four young men showed up for the first move. Three of them were average size (for China) but the fourth was a little guy. I say "little" only in reference to his height. He was about 4'6", well over a foot shorter than me, but his shoulders were broader than mine and his arms were as big around as my legs. Mr. Universe would suffer from comparison with this fellow.
The three average-sized guys went to take the beds apart, leaving Little Big Man to start with the boxes. As he approached the first one, Laopo made the mistake of telling him, "That's very heavy. You should get one of the other guys to help you." He gave her a dirty look and, with an "ai-yo" (Chinese for "oomph"), jerked the box up onto his shoulder and walked off toward the truck. No sissy hand truck or dolly for this guy. He was almost finished carrying the heavier things out to the truck by the time the other three finished with the beds.
The same thing happened at the end of the move. Little Big Man unloaded most of the boxes while the others were putting the beds back together.
That move covered five miles, took three hours or so, and cost us a princely 280 Yuan (≈$44.80). I wonder how much of that Little Big Man got.
We hired the same company for the second move. I was hoping to see my little friend again, but four different guys showed up. They were all average size. Two of them did the "executive work" and the other two did the heavy lifting. They divided the work evenly, except for one instance.
Unloading the truck at the new place, one of the men started to pick up a (very light) bookcase, leaving a (very heavy) chest for his friend. The first guy tried to lift the bookcase from the long end, though, which made it clumsy. He staggered a bit and his buddy seized the opportunity. "You've got to get it from the middle. Let me show you." He lifted it right up. "Well, I'll go ahead and take this in," he said. "You get the chest." I don't think the first guy even realized that he'd been outfoxed.
This time the move covered about a mile and a half and took less than three hours. We paid 360 Yuan (≈$57.60). Only 30 Yuan of the increased cost was due to inflation; the other 50 was a surcharge for moving during a holiday period. The "holiday period" is the time between the Western and the Chinese New Years'.
Oh, one other thing. The street cleaning truck that goes by our new condo plays Jingle Bells! I can hardly wait until July. (See here.)
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