我是一个破å??马桶的天æ‰?! Yep, it’s true. Since I’ve been in China, I’ve developed quite a talent for breaking toilets. I’m not sure how, I mean, at a little less than 70 kilos, I’m not exactly heavy. Anyway, at least I can lay claim to one talent.

One of the things I like about Beijing is that in the summer the rest of the country can be totally flooded out, but Beijing remains dry. Well, most of the time. Every now and then a very sudden, sharp storm comes along, resulting in surface flooding in some areas. Well, flash floods might be a better description.

For the last few days rain has been forecast, but in that stubborn Beijing way, it stayed cloudy and humid, and the rain refused to fall. Until late yesterday afternoon, that is, when all of that forecast rain decided to fall all at once. And oh boy did it fall heavily. There was also hail mixed up in it.

Well, like a typical summer storm, it was all over within half an hour, and I grabbed up some empties and headed off to A Bao’s for supplies. I got to the gate and was suddenly face with a lake where the road had been. And Lao Zhang, the school’s driver and Mr Fixit was standing in the middle of all this murky water in a pair of gumboots watching the water slowly drain away down a manhole he’d evidently just pried open. I stepped out the gate onto the last remaining sliver of dry land and looked around. The lake was quite large, extending all the way down to the student dorms to the left, and at least as far as the little prefab that was a fever clinic during SARS and is now a cram school for the local primary school prisoners pupils. I pondered for a moment, wondering if I should wait for the water to drain away, or just make a run for it. I thought, bugger it, rolled up my jeans, and wandered off.

And when I got to A Bao’s, it looked like he’d just had an entire river run through his shop, and he and his wife were busy trying to clean up.

And when I got back, remembering that there’s an apparently rather desperately in need of repairs sewer running the length of the road that had just become a lake, I washed my feet thoroughly. And that, if you can believe it, is how I broke the toilet.

And I forgot what else I was going to write about. There were three things…. Oh well.

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