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02/05/08
Services
Filed under: Shanghai, China
Posted by: Alan @ 1:05 pm

Services in China are ridiculously affordable.  In other words, labor is cheap.  We pay our ayi (nanny, maid, cook all in one) double the going rate, and it’s still a great deal, at least half to a quarter of US costs.  We get massages all the time, not just because we invested in Diva Life.  And haircuts include a long massage and hairwash.  Here’s Kyle at our favorite hair salon:

Kyle haircut

Taxi rides start at 11 RMB.  I still think that’s only slightly more than a dollar, but with the dollar is devaluing so quickly, it’s $1.50 now.  Rides in town center only add a few “kuai” to the bill, so we never worry about bar hopping or visiting friends after we’ve sent our driver home - yes, we have a driver, but it’s really like leasing a car and the driver comes with it.  The great side benefit of cabs is that you can drink and not drive. 

Also, there’s no tipping, except included service charges at hotels and fine restaurants.  It’s galling to go back to the US and have to add another 15% onto restaurant bill.  If you try to tip here, half the time they want to give it back to you.  There’s one time when a waiter ran after our party for a block to give the tip back.

Yes we feel spoiled and pampered here.  But it makes up for all the annoyances of living in China, well-documented in the government’s attempt to teach the whole country manners before the Olympics.

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