One Sunday morning, Linda and I decided to just go for a little walk around our neighborhood. We talked to our neighbors, or at least gestured wildly with our neighbors and everyone seemed to have a good time misunderstanding each other.
Here's Linda talking to the locals. It was still overcast and very cold when this picture was taken, however, the weather report called for clearing skies, the first in about five days, and so everyone had done their laundry that morning and you can see all of it drying outside. There are no dryers here. There are some small apartment size washing machines though. Most people seem to wash their clothes by hand, in the kitchen sink, which in our neighborhood, is usually the only sink in the house.
Here's the lady of the house asking us to follow her to her friends' houses. Guang Qin has an amazing ability to communicate with us, even though she knows no English. She gestures with a clear intent within the context of the moment. Look at her telling us where to go. Can you not understand that "after you" pose?
In one of the homes that we visited, the 69th Annual Academy Awards were playing. These are not the current awards, but one year behind those that play in the USA. Here's Venessa Williams singing the song from "Pocohontus." In front of her is the little girl of the house singing a nursery rhyme she learned in school. The sound on the TV is turned down. Interestingly, during the commercial breaks in the television program, they didn't insert commercials, but rather, they aired music videos.
Here's what we saw, looking out the window of the many apartments we visited that morning. Notice the really old building that are only two stories tall. Then the kind of old ones, that are up to six stories high. There are newer ones springing up everywhere as they tear down more and more of the two story jobs. You may notice that the buildings don't follow a strict directionality. I have the hardest time maintaining a sense of direction in this city. Especially, when I'm among the housing structures.
Bicycles get stolen around here like cars in Los Angeles County. That's why so many people rely on this man, the guard at the bicycle station. For one penny, or so, he'll watch your bike at night, and even lock it up in the garage behind him. We only paid him one jiao, which is about a cent and a half, and apparently, we get to park our bikes in this garage for the duration of our stay of four months. He's a really nice guy. Kind of the town crier for our neighborhood which is fenced off by tall brick fences with broken shards of glass on the top to prevent people from climbing over them. These fences make it so that everyone in our ten or so buildings must enter and exit from the same driveway on to the main street outside.
I'm not sure why they divide up the neighborhoods as such, but most follow this sort of urban planning. There must be a good reason for it.