Friday, May 1, 2009

Company Town Life in Tanggu, Tianjin, China

The custom in state run companies in China is that the workers take a long break of about one and a half hours at lunch time. Most take a nap. We used the time to wander around the village/town area near the plant. This area is basically a company town. In days past, the company built and provided the housing free to employees. They also provide the steam to heat the homes in the winter. You can see a steam pipe in the picture above. In China, the state owns all the land. Companies and individuals can only lease the land for 70 years. Not so long ago the state run companies turned the housing over the the employees and they no longer assign housing. People can buy or sell the right to live in the property for the remainder of the lease.

This is a small courtyard with 4 or 5 homes opening from it. It is across the street or alley from the picture above.

This is a tailor shop in the area. Basically the front room of the home. The husband was wearing a Dagu Chemical uniform and the wife does the tailoring. One of the Shaw women in our group (who is Chinese-Canadian) took some things here to get altered. Bascially USD$1 to redo a lined jacket to make it a size smaller.

On the right, this white sign says funeral home - full service.

On the left, the trucks are handymen. Plumbers, roofers, etc.

Interesting construction on this building. I guess the reeds are for insulation.

These folks are making an extruded crispy puffed rice snack on the street. The engine powers a little extruder like device that pushes the stuff out in a ribbon which is wound up into the rolls you see. Tastes pretty good. Only saw them one day. I imagine that they moved to a different place every day. They reach a wider audience and stay a step ahead of the vendor enforcement police.

Same deal with this guy. He is making popcorn and puffed rice snacks. He loads the corn and a little sugar into the black pot, closes the lid, heats it up for 6 minutes until the pressure reaches about 70 psig, then he kicks the lid open and out flys the popcorn with a big BANG!

This is a bus stop sign advertising painless abortions.

This is the local hospital. They specialize in burn care according to the sign. I'm a little skeptical.

There is a market in the village near the tailor shop. Lots of fresh vegetables. Didn't see a grocery store so I imagine this is where everyone gets their dinner. Here is a Google Maps link to the area I'm describing. The market is the 6 vertical roofs in the center of the picture. You can click the View Larger Map and explore the area.
This is the road leading down the street to the market above. It connects to the north west corner of the market in the picture above.

This is the egg delivery truck. I guess he goes around to all the markets and supplies eggs.

This is an assortment of beans.

You know the fish is fresh when it is still swimming around. This is apparently a time honored way of buying fish. You can imagine that if people are willing to put melamine in baby formula they wouldn't think twice about selling you week old fish.

This place is selling prepared food and snacks. The package in the lower right hand corner is spicy dog meat. I bought a package for my teammates back in the States. No report on the taste, yet. I'm guessing similar to chicken. What do you think?

This is a view from the fourth floor conference room that we met in everyday. Big contrast on the two sides of the river.

Most days we took the ferry. You can't read it but the blue sign says the capacity is 300 people, 12 cars, 74 life jackets. No need to worry - the life jackets are safe. They are in a locked cabinet.

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