Saturday, October 10, 2015

This is a picture of my front door.

I have an extra key taped to the back of that Chinese thing. Actually, it's a key to the laundry room, and I have a spare key to the house in the laundry room. It's a system.

I do not know what the writing on the Chinese thing says, but it's pretty. Most of the people in my lane have something on their door. It could be something like this, or one of the minions.

That ivy plant is too big, and it's in the way. I like it, though, and tripping over it doesn't bother me too much.

One time the people down the lane took my ivy plant and put it with their other plants. When I came home one of my neighbors told me what had happened and we went down there and got my plant back. Nobody has moved it since then. My neighbors take care of me.

This is the lane where I live.

Those bars on the far right are over my bathroom window. It is the only window in my flat, though I have a nice screen that I can pull over the front door too. Still, it doesn't allow for much ventilation.  It is unknown how much the neighbors can see into my bathroom. One learns not to care. As you can see, we live in close quarters here.

The door knob on the far left is my laundry room. You can't actually go in there, but if you open the door there's a nice washer. Brand new, in fact. Only a few other people have machines and they are the type that have to be rolled out and connected each time you want to use them. It's no wonder they think I'm a movie star.

Also on the left you can see another door knob. That is where the old man lives. He is the patriarch of our lane. We all have to do what he says. He lets his pleasure and displeasure be known. One time I left my keys in the door lock all night. He expressed displeasure with me over that. He gives me advice which is not always helpful since he speaks Shanghainese, but it is nice to listen to him. One time I had squeaky hinges on my laundry room and he put oil on them. Now they don't squeak.

Next to him is where my other neighbor has a little patio. He keeps his fish aquariums out there, and he has plants, and strings of LED lights. It's a little paradise. He goes out there at night and smokes. He also parks his two massive scooters in there. I can't even imagine what those scooters must have cost him.

Between the old man's place and my neighbor's patio you see a sink and a counter. That is where the old man and his family brush their teeth, hack up phlegm, and prepare their meals. I know all this because it is just across from my bathroom window. Like I said, we live in close quarters.

The old man's son and daughter in law live just next door to me. They are nice enough, but I don't really know them.

Next door to them, though, is my real friend, the man with the patio and the massive bikes. He does all the cooking for the family, and that's pretty common in China. My ayie eats with them every evening. She lives next door on the other side. You can't see her house. I don't know why she eats with them. They might be related. I just don't know. It took me a long time to figure out that the old man was related to my next door neighbors. They have all lived here forever and they know who is kin to whom... Me? I don't know.

I just thought ya'll might like to see the neighborhood.


  1. Very different from what we would call a neighborhood. Close quarters indeed. Is that usual?

  2. Well, Shanghai is about 6300 sq kilometers and has between 20 and 30 million people, depending on who is counting. There are estimated to be between 3 and 7 million uncounted people in Shanghai. So, yes, we crowd in. Personal space is not as important to the Chinese as it is to United Statrers.