The bicycle that wasn’t stolen
Every Chinese person has had at least one bike stolen in their lifetime, are waiting to have their bike stolen, or don't own a bike because of a bad knee. This is no different for the English teachers at the Peace Institute (the name of my school). One of them has had two electric bikes stolen, which is not cheap (£100). It is fortunate that bikes are so cheap in China, a good one can be bought for the price of 2 single tickets on the London Underground. The threat of losing your bike does change your bike-buying behaviour. Portable fold-up bikes are becoming popular and people favour old second-hand bikes instead of shinny new ones. This morning, I stepped outside my apartment and couldn't find my bike, so I assumed it had been stolen. A bemused resident asked why I was staring at an empty spot for so long, and I tried to explain in very broken Chinese. Then I realised it was no big deal at all. No-one got hurt and the bike was a cheap one anyway. Also bike-theft happens everyday, and there is no reason why it shouldn't happen to me as well.
Losing my bike was likely to be the worst crime that I was going to experience in China. And I do feel very safe here, more-so than in England, where I was mugged twice in the space of a year (in Nottingham). So I forgave the thieves, though I didn't condone what they did, and went about my day's business. I was going to find half a roasted duck to eat for lunch. After going home and eating the duck I went downstairs and had a pleasant surprise when I found my bike sitting inside the apartment block. A kind stranger had moved it inside for me. I felt extremely thankful and happy.