Buying a Flying Pigeon in China

Joyce Reingold, publisher of The Palm Beach Daily News, and a blogger in her own write (that’s a pun, not a typo) said I might be interested in reading Rachel Sauer’s tale of buying a Chinese bicycle.

What’s so unusual about that?

Rachel Sauer's Flying Pigeon bicycle, The Chairman MaoWell, it’s because she bought it IN China.

Rachel is what we call a member of the PBNI 600. In less than a year, our former newspaper has shaken off about 600 of us like fleas off a stray dog. Some of us were lucky enough to take early retirement, others have started new careers. (I think I saw a former copy editor on a street corner holding up a sign that said, “Will Count Commas for Coffee.”)

Meet The Chairman Mao

Rachel, a former features writer for The Palm Beach Post, is producing a highly readable blog, Mandarin Orange, “In Which I Live and Teach English in China.”

Here is her account of buying her new bike, The Chairman Mao.

This blog is going to be on my daily must-read list. That gal can sling words around. Post readers are really missing something.


  • I really wanted this bike. I’d dream about having one every time I gazed toward the horizon and considered what could be out there. Desert! Farms! Mountains! Donkey carts! Oh, I was filled with longing. It’s been fun walking everywhere, of course, but as I discovered when I walked to the Iron Gate Pass — 10 miles round-trip — I tend to be seized with ennui/nihilism by mile eight or nine: This whole stupid world looks the same and I will never get home so I might as well die right here. In Nowhereville, China.
  • He said 750 yuan and I clutched for the pearls I wasn’t wearing. 750! I swooned a little, letting him know that I’d never heard such a thing in all my born days. Why, I could hardly catch my breath! I made to leave, to go find a nice fainting couch somewhere, when he told me 690 yuan (about $101).
  • This time, I hung my head. Oh, this was sad news. About the saddest I’d ever heard. I shook my head mournfully. What was this wicked world coming to when a girl — a stranger to this country! — couldn’t even have her own flying pigeon? Tragic.