Sunday, 21 November 2010

Life in a local town. Probably the same all over the world.

I'm beginning to muse about living life in two Small Towns: one in the middle of England and the other at the edge of an island in the South China Sea.

Yes, I miss my English Small Town with the random shouting and pointless violence. Here we have community events and free tea for visitors on the basketball court.

I miss the people of my English Small Town too. The expats on the island are some compensation, but not much. There's no brawling in the streets or beating up of pensioners. They're mostly well-behaved types come for the money and life experience. They're having a party today thanks to the Multicultural Melting Pot Festival, but it finishes promptly at 8pm so the cleaning ladies can come round.

Apart from the difference between violent and soulless, I'd say that the lack of car traffic on the island, due to the total absence of road, is the biggest difference between the two towns. At home in dear old Blighty, we can have car crime and traffic accidents any day of the week. They barely register on the local consciousness.

In this island life, you sometimes have to step off the path while a village vehicle passes by. They're the little motors that look like golf buggies. Anything is carried on the back of the village vehicles, which I guess is very similar to what you carry around the local town in the boot of a Honda Civic. Suitcases, soil, fish, concrete mix.

But there are similarities in any local life, aren't there? Dog poo and litter are things we both share. Although on the island I have seen a bloke lay down a little tissue just at the spot where his dog was about to concern itself with its business. Practical problem solving is just about the same as any local town.

And here, everyone's got a job to do, just like home. On the island, it's fishing, selling stuff, walking about the streets barefoot looking like a throwback to 1966, it's better than nothing. At home there's local work to be done too, like littering, painting vulgarities on brick walls, staggering home drunk at 2am, and chucking eggs at windows. I sort of miss complaining about the empty beer cans thrown over the garden wall. Here I can complain about the price of breakfast cereal.

I'm not sure what makes for more satisfying living on the island, apart from the fact that there's no Tesco, Sainsbury's or Asda. We also don't have arsonists, overt drug use, random mugging. But we do have pollution, cartels, and appalling waste. But then, every so often, the town is treated to a lion dance.

The kids get a ride on a sampan too. They can't have that in England. Someone would have set it on fire.

Of course I've been asked, what is most satisfying about living on the island? That is hard to answer. It might be the weather, which is sub tropical sunny. But there is nothing much to complain about on a crystal clear winter English day.

Then I thought, when I'm in Suffolk there's no piped gas. There isn't any here, either. But we have gas in bottles. Hey! We're one up on Suffolk!


sharon said...

Yes I rather like my small town too ;-) And we have bottled gas as well!

Rachel M. said...

I can only guess the weather has gotten better because you've ceased to write in agony regarding it AND it's gotten quite nice here and we are on the opposite end of the spectrum sharing practically the same. Enjoy the winter!