February 19th, 2006 – by: shaunar
You can shop for baoza, pants, radios, camping gear, finger nail polish, charcoal, dart boards, light bulbs, film, calenders,wine, luggage, strollers, decorations, candles, skis, linens......................
I am finally starting to settle in here in Ningbo. I got a cell phone yesterday so I can keep in touch with Lisha and her friends if need be. Sly, the self-proclaimed “Chinese Dude,” is letting me borrow one of his phones. I just had to buy a Sim card. He also translated to an electrician who fixed the power at JPs. JP is the guy who was kind enough to let me stay in his apartment while he is out of town. A couple of nights ago, Lisha and I went there after dinner and as soon as she turned on the dining room light, one of the bulbs burned out which in the end had nothing to do with the power outage. But when I tried to turn on another light in the apartment, the power to the whole place shut off. None of the breakers were turned off inside. I went down a flight to see if the light on the lower landing would come on which it did so we knew it was either just our floor or just our unit. We found the main breaker outside our unit that wasn’t tripped but we tried turning it on and off a few times anyway. Come to find out, one of the screws was loose where the wire was terminated in the main box. Poor Lisha had to share her bed with me two nights in a row, a twin bed mind you.
Let me tell you a little bit about JPs apartment. It is on the seventh floor of a building that has no lift. In the states we call this no elevator. Here I call it a workout! The stairwell is as dark as the narrow alleys that lead to my apartment but most people tell me they feel safer in China than anywhere else. That makes me feel better although I have only had to walk part of the way home in the dark once.
Across the way lives a guy whose hobby is raising either messenger or racing pigeons. Everyday he unlocks this bamboo ladder from a pipe on the landing and gets into the attic above our apartments. Apparently all the pigeons are up there in cages or boxes or something. My Chinese isn’t good enough yet to ask him if I can take a look.
Here they heat their water with propane. Fortunately they add an odor to it here in Ningbo so I don’t have to worry about leaking gas. There are only space heaters in the two bedrooms, one of which has a traditional Chinese bed. It is basically a hard and I mean hard woven wood cloth that is stretched across a wooden frame so tight you could bounce a basketball on it. Yeah it’s like concrete. My bed is much softer due to the fact that JP jumped on it until all the springs inside were broken. On top of this lopsided, and sunk in creation is s sheep’s wool? comforter type pad. It is perfect, as perfect can be, except that I cannot get out of the center of the bed. I just keep rolling back to center.
There is no hot water in the bathroom and sometimes no hot water in the kitchen. Yesterday I had to boil some water to wash my face and take a shower at Lisha’s. I can wash my clothes but drying them is a lost cause. Being that it is warmer outside than inside the apartment, I hung the one load I will do over there outside the window on these bamboo bars. A cage-like enclosure spares you the seven flight walk if you accidentally drop something. However, one day here will be sunny and warm, and the next cold and rainy. I’m hoping my clothes will be dry in about four days. Yay!
I have had some really good food since I have been here whether it be in a restaurant or from a street vendor. Only the bones and fat give me any problems. You put everything in your mouth and spit whatever you don’t want to swallow back out. Since I am deathly afraid of getting a bone caught in my throat, eating can be somewhat of a chore rather than a joy. Out of time for now. I must go get ready for poker night which is held every Wednesday at JPs. Can’t stop poker night just because he is out of town!