China Travel Blog› entry 20 of 66 › view all entries
I had been living on campus for couple of months in a room my Cambodian friend Heng had left. I had gotten bored of Wang anyway and the idea of living on campus sounded good to me. I told Wang I wanted out and he thought that was great. We called the owner and returned his keys he gave us our deposit and that was that. Everything was concluded in about 10 minutes, we were happy and the landlord was pleased to
have all that “splendid” second hand furniture we left (not to mention the water heater).
I took my suitcase and caught the bus to the university. I spent a lot of time there with my friends I played playstation with the Thais, had some drinks with Koreans, played cards with the others, and argued with my countrymen.
One Chinese friend, called Wei, invited me to his house for dinner so I did the polite thing and went. We met at a supermarket near his place where he suggested we buy our dinner there. “Oh, well..they do things different here” I thought as we went in and got beer of the shelf and baked chicken and pickles at the deli. He also suggested we split the bill, definitely different, but I didn’t really care.
We got to his flat which was a shambles (I’ve hardly seen in a clean house here) and sat down in the bare lounge. Inside it was the usual WC décor with all surfaces covered with mildewed tile, the humidity here makes everything damp much like a steamy bathroom. We were sitting on cardboard boxes and the food was in the packages on some newspapers spread on the floor, something like a picnic in a moldy wet bathroom. “I’d be more comfortable camping in the forest, at least I could light a good fire to dry my bones” I thought. I tried to make the best of the situation so I drank the warm beer and imagined I was a homeless squatter, or a construction worker (or some other miserable person), this cheered me up a bit.
I forget what we talked about, as the whole atmosphere was too depressing to concentrate. I suppose I rambled on about the plight of migrant workers in the industrialization process or some other woeful subject. I could monologue on these subjects on without thinking. Maybe I told him a Charles Dickens story. Or lectured on the importance of detergent, I don’t know. In any case I walked away feeling relieved to leave.