Seven years ago, I went to Shanghai for the first time to visit friends. If somebody had said to me that shortly, I would rent a flat in China, I would have answered him that he was mad. But my plans finally changed.
It has been therefore more than year since I rent a flat in a small city in the mountains of Wudang and than I try so-so to get used to life “in Chinese”. And I must suppose that it has nothing to do with the life which I led before. Especially inside the home.
In a national festival of food in a restaurant.
- It is rather rare that the Chineses invite their friends at home. Traditionally, a Chinese meal is constituted of a big quantity of dishes. If friends want to see each other, they go rather to the restaurant. Prices are not very high, and it, even if tradition wants that “the one who invites pay for others”. In Wugang, a very good meal for five persons costs between 30 and 50 euro. Normally, the friends invite each other alternately.
- Many houses are not equipped with shower or bathroom properly speaking. In my village, many houses and buildings resemble concrete turns. There are no pieces of furniture indoors, but the same thing is always found: the Chinese characters wishing happiness and chance in the entrance of the flat, and the portrait of Maoist Zedong in the dining room. In this type of accommodation, showers on the street are taken, and still there are not showers really. A cleaning woman in our school of Kung fu lived in one of these buildings, and she takes a shower when she goes to job.
Toilets in a public place. There is not bowl, but there is a television.
- Even if there is a bathroom, it is possible that there are not toilets.. Even those in the most modern buildings can surprise you. Especially by their absence, in fact. Because the Chinese toilets do not have seat as at our place, they are on even the soil. In China, they think that it is advantageous for a good digestion.
- The water of the shower arrives from the soil. Tubs are only in the upmarket hotels and at the easy Chineses of the big cities. Flats have only one shower — that the Chineses use the morning in the afternoon and not — and the receptacle is on even the soil. In my bathroom, the water leaves towards toilets. The same goes for for the water of the washing machine. It is practical: you take a shower and you wash the soil at the same time.
Here is what resembles a bathroom in a Chinese flat.
- In general, kitchens are very small. He has room there only for a refrigerator, some cupboards and a cook. This last always works in the gas, because to cook in the wok, a very strong fire is needed. Besides, there is not central supplier of gas. Canisters of liquid gas in kitchens are found.
- The rent in China is not so cheap. In our village, it is necessary to count between 100 and 150 euro a month for a medium flat. The most expensive flat will cost about 200 euro. But the valuable fork in the rest of the country is huge. In Shanghai, the smallest flats are for rent from 400 euro, and prices of the biggest attain at least 2 100 euro.
If there are not toilets in flats, it will be found enough in the “Modern Toilet Restaurant”.
- The new houses are built without windows. When a flat is bought, the owners put it down themselves. Very often, they face up balconies where is spread by the linen. View is rather discouraging.
- It doesn’t much matter the floor of the flat, windows and balconies have grids. The Chineses say that it is not so much for the thieves, but rather for the children, to avoid that they fall. And there is always a concierge who to close the front-door of the building the come evening
- The hot water is not centralised, it is as it that there are reservoirs of hot water in bathrooms. Another necessary attribute of a Chinese bathroom are bulbs and heating lamps in the ceiling. All that because…
- In the south of China (I include central China), there is not heating in houses. No radiator, and anything. When I say to my friends that in winter, he makes between 0 and 10 degrees outside, it seems to them normal. But they do not realise that when he makes 0°C outside, he makes 5°C in the home. The Chineses wear simply the jackets and topcoats indoors. In fact, it disturbs them not all that much; they also use the heat of the kitchen when they prepare for eating.
A marriage in a home typical, not much furnished.
To avoid the comments of type “I have never seen China this there”, I will end by reminding that, firstly, it is a colossal country, and a nation in which sometimes, the inhabitants of two neighbouring villages cannot understand each other, because they speak about different languages. It is also a country in which a culinary speciality which you will find very easily in Shanghai is impossible to find elsewhere. I am only sharing my experience, and I do not say that she is identical to the one that will have lived on other passengers.
And you, did you already go to China? Is it a country which attracts you?