April 24th, 2007

I suppose I should be out taking advantage of the beautiful weather, getting fresh air and exercise and all that. Nah, bugger it. I fell asleep this afternoon and stayed that way for about an hour. Then I woke up. Funny how that tends to happen sometime after you fall asleep. But I still don’t feel fully awake, and although I did think about going somewhere and doing something, I couldn’t really get up the motivation to wander further than the local xiaomaibu for a few beers.

A few very warm beers, which are now sitting in the fridge being cooled to an appropriate temperature. And given my current drinking habits, those few beers will probably last me that next few days, especially considering I have another trip out to Yizhuang to look forward to tomorrow evening (oh, joy).

The dreaded 拆 has struck in our neighbourhood. Well, it was only a matter of time. Most of the buildings around here are around fifty years old, and those that aren’t are mostly very dodgy and illegal-looking shanties. Directly opposite the gate of my school there were two groups of shanties and a shed my school used for storage. Not anymore. Now the school’s Santana and spare furniture are piled up rather haphazardly on the side of the road, and workmen are digging trenches where the shanties and shed once were. Judging by yesterday’s visit by a truck with a big tank, a hose, and a sucking machine on the back and the smell out front today, they must be fixing the sewer. About time, too.

I’m told our road was dirt, completely unpaved and unlit, when a friend and former colleague arrived here about four and a half years ago. Then not so long ago it was paved and lit. Well, the put street lights along the road and turn them on at night, that’s what I mean by lit. They seemed to get the lighting part right, but even though it was paved very recently, the road very quickly started showing signs of wear and tear. It wasn’t just that the paving stones started cracking and wearing down, parts of the road started sinking. There are potholes so impressive they’re starting to rival the mammoth, truck-swallowing series of potholes that  made up the road I lived on in Taiyuan. Then I noticed there’s a sewer pipe running the length of our road. Well, the writing on the manhole covers certainly suggests that there’s a sewer pipe running the length of our road. Could it be that the sewer pipe is leaking and eroding the roadbed away from underneath us? This kind of thing has happened before.

Just up the road there are some buildings, about fifty years old, of course, with their cultural revolution slogans still visible for the edification of the revolutionary masses.  Somebody tried to whitewash over the slogans, but, although some of the characters are still obscured, it seems the cultural revolution-era paint was of a better quality than the whitewash. The steps leading to one of these buildings were starting to look really dodgy- there were huge holes visible under them, and they were showing signs of sagging. Then one day some workers came and demolished the steps. The next day they put in a new set of steps. How and why I don’t know. The holes I saw under the steps were so huge I can’t see how this new set of steps could possibly be stable.

lzh has just finished work for the day. Her colleague told her how to make hamburgers, so that’s what’s on the menu tonight. I guess that means I should stop this rambling and go wash my lunch dishes.

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