Sunday, October 21, 2007

$3.70 meal for two!

Yep. Two lunches of noodles for a total of 28RMB ($3.70). Nice dishes. Great taste. Same price as the nice iced coffee (29RMB) I can get a block away from the noodle place. Without mentioning the
cafe latte they wanted 69RMB ($9.20) for at Xiamen airport (I revolted against that last one and refused to pay more than for a Starbucks coffee!). It is tough to figure out price relationships here. I give you these examples, but usually in the same neighborhood we will eat for 100-110 RMB ($15) per person (including beer), Chinese or Western food alike. And there is this great Japanese place we just discovered with superb food for an "all you can eat" 95RMB ($12.70) dinner including 2 little containers of sake per person! So, what is the cost of living in China, for us Westerners or for Chinese people? Hard to say, some things are simply a lot cheaper than in North-America, especially when labor is involved and some things are sometimes more expensive. I can get my professional printing jobs done for less than 25% of the cost, but we paid more for a home printer than we would have in the States.
And salaries you ask? Well, a factory worker or technician can make 2 to 3,000 RMB ($270-400) a month, but according to Rob Gifford (you know the author of China Road I always talk about),
a farmer makes 1,000 RMB ($135) a year. And I see some young Chinese women driving big BMW cars I seriously cannot afford. Some people are extremely poor here and some people are now extremely wealthy. This is the contrasting world of today's China.

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