I must comment on how good some people are to me. I moved house a few months ago to a zhuang (庄), which is like an estate - several blocks with the same name, hedged by main roads. Each building in the zhuang has a number, if it’s a big zhuang and crosses several main roads, it’s split into north, south, east and west areas. Zhuangs have reputations like all areas do, I live in the centre of Shantou so middle and upper class people surround me, it’s a good area. Note: The majority of residents live in buildings with no lift, this is not an indicator of wealth.
I love living in an estate. There are trees on the road, people around all the time, and little shops everywhere for everything you could want, and they are the subject of this post.
There is the little hardware store that sells me cables, lightbulbs, plug sockets, superglue, fixes my fibreoptic Christmas tree and broken fan. They’re great, they don’t overcharge me and they don’t charge for service, only for the products.
Then there’s a couple of chemists, I buy my Chinese and Western medicine from them, whatever problem I have I go in and describe, they tell me what to take.
Over on the edge of the estate is a shop that opens out onto the street, she fixes my clothes for me. Technically I could do it myself, but she does it so well, they don’t break, unlike my work.
And also near the market is the shoemender who is also my bag mender, he sits on a stool outside all day every day mending shoes, nice bloke and thanks to him my shoes and bags last a lot longer.
Then don’t forget the market and the Dazhong supermarket (大众超市), so very convenient and both cheaper/better food than Walmart.
Yeah, I really like my zhuang.