Wednesday, May 14, 2008


We know, of course, that there is a particular magic about the number 3 (and more especially, more spookily so for me); but in the last couple of weeks I have started to worry that there may also be a potentially dangerous significance in the number 300.

The Wednesday before last, I realised that I had only 1,650 RMB on me, and, since I was unlikely to be doing any more cash-in-hand work until the following Monday, and was facing a string of party nights out, I was going to have to be a little bit careful with my spending. Just a little bit. I didn't think it would really be a problem, keeping myself to within around 300 RMB per night.

Perhaps it was dangerous to start thinking in those terms, to fix such a spending target so vividly in my head.

I find I have been spending very nearly 300 RMB every time I go out on the town since then. And I have been out on all but 2 or 3 of the last 15 nights. That is a pretty frightening rate of expenditure!

I recall a couple of years ago having a particularly splurgey sort of weekend that set me back 600 or 700 RMB - far more than I had ever spent on such indulgence in China over so short a space of time before. But that covered Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; it included eating out at 'Western' style restaurants for almost every meal; it included doing a week's grocery shopping, putting 2 or 3 months' worth of credit on my mobile phone, attending a CD launch party for a local rock band and a jazz recital by a visiting French pianist at the Forbidden City Concert Hall, criss-crossing the city a dozen or so times by taxi, and getting completely wrecked on each of the three days (especially with the humongous tequila session at the CD party). That was a good weekend.

Life in this city is definitely getting more expensive.

And the really worrying thing is this: now when I spend an evening in with my DVD collection, I start thinking I've saved 300 RMB.

The picture at the top, by the way, was a commemoration of the Tercentenary last year of the University of Edinburgh School of Law.

But that's altogether a far too joyous and upbeat note to leave you on. No, I am severely disgruntled at the rising cost of living (or of dying enjoyably) in this city, and at my own recent abandonment of the righteous principles of thriftiness. It makes me want to SNARL!!!

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