Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category


Friday, May 25th, 2007

clothes drier

[mouse click on a photo to enlarge it]

You once wrote that mostly you were curious about everyday life in Hangzhou. Well, I’m taking a little break from my Saturday morning routine, which is housekeeping day. I put through (usually) two washer-loads of laundry, subsequently to be hung on window-ledge racks to dry. I dust — really damp-cloth-wipe-down — all of the furniture. The dust load is heavy here; a week’s accumulation on tables and dressers is remarkable/disgusting, in any case not to be ignored. I mop the whole apartment; all but the bedrooms have tile flooring, which not only picks up the dust load, but somehow redistributes it as foot-print (house-shoe) tracks recording your every movement. This all starts about 7 or 7:30, because is long since light be then, and my work-day rising time of 6:15 carries over.

When that’s all in hand, I do major weekly shopping (which is never quite enough, a supplemental run or two to the local markets during the week are typical.) I tend to do three separate runs, mostly because of the capacity of my bicycle basket (and I can’t lock goods purchased elsewhere in the “trunk”). The nearby fruit store – a little pricey by Chinese standards (and compared to the local market), but nice fresh fruit – sort of the Wholefoods concept. All told, I probably spend as much on fruit each week as on other foods. The “other” foods take me to one of the local food markets, i.e. dozens of individual stalls under one, large roof. Eggs, meat, fish (still swimming), vegies, oil, soy-sauce, perhaps some Chinese fried flat bread. Stranger foods take me a little further away to the “super-market”, A Wal-Mart sort of place, I’m sorry to say, that is happy to sell you anything from motorcycles to canned beans, with the advantage that you don’t have to ask for it, since you probably don’t know its name anyway. Regular purchases there are my peanut butter, honey, jam, milk and yogurt (runny, by the 2 kg bottle, but good). And, as needed, hand, dish or laundry soap, paper things, and such. Once a week, usually Sunday when returning from an outing, I swing by the French Bakery for a couple of croissants, a baguette, and maybe a Sunday torte or jar of home-made marmalade. Later Saturday afternoon, a two-hour language session.

Sundays have become my “outing” day. Checking off the list of greater or lesser Hangzhou attractions, museums, etc., sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied. Paul is usually available, at least for the more contained, museum-like visits.

Okay, my load of shirts is done. Gotta hang them before they wrinkle.