Bumping heads with Chinese logic: the gas case

Hi all!!!

We’ve been silent for a long time. We’re sorry! Thought we’d share a little anecdote of our current “problem” and the problems we’ve ran into solving it.

So yesterday we ran out of gas. To get gas (which you use to get hot water in your shower/sink and to cook on the stove) you put money into a card that has a chip and you feed money to the meter thing under your kitchen sink. We go to the bank only to find out the bank is closed. Most banks close on Saturdays here. To me this seems a little weird but apparently it isn’t.

Yesterday we did manage to cook breakfast on the stove before gas ran out. Had lunch at the mall and dinner with friends. We took very, very cold showers. 

So I go back today (Sunday) armed with my card and some money to go back to the bank and load the card. When I get there, the teller informs me that “it’s not available”. I need to go to either one of two other banks, one of which is closed on Sundays. So I go to option #2.

When I get to option #2, I’m informed that I cannot load my card unless I have a debit card from that bank. I cannot pay cash (Are you kidding me? You can pay cash anywhere in China – apparently not!). If I want to load my gas card with cash, “you can come back Friday” (so apparently you can do it one day of the week and not others). And also apparently, I’ll be totally okay taking freezing cold showers and being unable to cook until Friday.

So I go to another branch of bank #1, where I am informed that I have to go back to the branch I went to originally. If they said gas is “not available” I can go tomorrow.

Ah, China.

We could definitely have bigger problems. I’ll try filling our empty water bottle with tap water, running the water through it (since it heats water), and showering with a bucket.

Until next adventure,


UPDATE: I went back to the bank on Monday as instructed by the girl on the other branch. Once again, I was told that “gas was not available” and I could go back to ABC bank with cash the next day. We then decided to let the school person who helps us deal with things like those (he deals with our apartment landlords and other nuisances that the lack of communication would make nearly impossible). Since it was after 4pm, we would have to wait until the next day.

The next day, we were informed that guess what? Your gas card had money all along…apparently the gas machines load in increments of 50 RMB (?????) so this load (about 200RMB) should last us a while, since we’ve loaded about every 4 months or so.

We cannot catch a break when it comes to gas. At least there is not anyone vandalizing our pipes.

Posts coming up about our holiday break! With pics!!!!!

Published by Team McGregor

Living and teaching in the Middle East - previously in China, South Korea, and Hawaii (US). This is our blog dedicated to our travels and life living abroad...as well as some other fun stuff!

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