Friday, July 02, 2010

The 'Hood

Stinking hot day.Literally and figuratively.We appear literally to be in the middle of a heatwave with temperatures soaring into the mid 30s(celsius) and humidity to match or surpass that of a Japanese rainy season.Paper curling humidity.Humidity that continually jams an ancient dinosaur of a photocopier that should have been retired years ago.Humidity that causes arguments and wailing Chinese women cursing all and sundry at 2 am at the top of their lungs.Humidity that drives cockroaches to find new cooler pastures.Their crushed bodies slowly merging into the concrete dust that stirs underfoot on the unswept stairs.
Figuratively stinking because although I live several floors above ground,the nauseating stench from the inadequate blocked drains below still manages to drift upwards as the heat of the day rises.

This is the view from one of my windows.The square building in the middle of the frame is the local stock exchange building.Its an interesting design as it has a hollow centre which may be symbolic of that whole industry but I'm only speculating.(Yes that was a pun).Behind that edifice one can see a bevelled building which is the Shanghai World Financial Centre currently the fourth tallest building though for how much longer is anyones guess.The Jinmao Tower is towards the right of the World Financial Centre building and can't really be seen in this shot.At night I can make out its lit pointed top from my windows.

Another view looking in the opposite direction overlooking some of the other apartment buildings in this complex.The building I'm in was built in the early 1970's.There's no elevator although the building has six floors.There is virtually no insulation and my white plaster walls have a scruffy black tinge about them.The bathroom is an all tiled affair.Cold as a witches tit in winter and the ideal breeding ground for mould in humid summers.It lacks both a handbasin and tap.The toilet is prone to blocking so a rubber plunger is an essential piece of household kit.The shower seems to have a mind of its own switching between scorching hot and arctic ball breaking temperatures quicker than a Formula One pit crew.

The shot below shows a typical building in my compound..Entry to the buildings is gained by a key or number entered into a keypadded metal gate.Once inside the building,individual occupants then use their own keys to enter their apartments- so its a fairly safe and secure procedure.Theres also a watchman at each entrance to the complex.Apart from playing mah jong and clearing his throat audibly twenty four hours a day their main function seems to be barking at people entering and attempting to park their cars in the grounds.