I don’t know if you would find this shocking, or funny, or amazing, or ... I’m reading a book entitled CHINA ROAD by Bob Gifford, who is an NPR (National Public Radio) correspondent. This is a true account of his trip on a Chinese highway, about which I will write more in a later posting. I found the following fascinating:
“I tell of the time I visited a racetrack outside of Beijing where people were clearly placing bets on horses. I was astounded to discover that this was going on, since gambling is illegal in China. I thought I would give it a try too, so I approached what looked like a betting window and said that I would like to place a bet. The woman told me that I couldn’t place a bet (betting is illegal in China, she confirmed) but if I wanted to, I could place a guess on one of the horses.
A guess! I could place a guess on one of the horses! So I put down 20 yuan ($2.50) and stood cheering the horse on. The horse didn't win, but it didn’t matter. I would have paid a lot more than $2.50 for the experience, and what it told me about modern China. That a horse-race track (not some secret gambling joint, but an out-in-the-open, everyone-can-see-you horse-race track) was able to operate openly, taking bets on horses, simply by calling the bets something else is quite fantastic.”
The wife thought her old sofa was pretty shabby, so she talked her husband into buying a new one. And it looked great! But it made the living room look shabby, so they had the living room repainted. And it really looked good! But it made the rest of the house look shabby, so the convinced her husband that they should have the rest of the house redecorated. And when that was done, WOW! did it look good! But now the house made the exterior look shabby, so they redid the gardens, both front and back. Now their home was a showcase, but that made her husband look shabby, ...