My new flat

Flats have to be inspected by the authorities before they can be rented out to foreigners. So my flat is probably in better condition than any other flat in the block. I live on the 6th floor of an 8 storey block and there are 4 flats on each level. A heavily reinforced steel door is on the ground level and post boxes and an entry system are just outside. The stairs run up in a zig-zag in front of the flats. All the flats on levels 1-3 have security grids over the doors and windows.
When I enter the flat I am in the kitchen. It measures 1 meter by about 2. There is a sink with cold water only, a two burner cooker with no oven, a cooker hood and some cupboards which is where the cockroaches live.
A very beautiful engraved window separates the kitchen from the dining area. In the dining are there is a TV which is as big as the foldaway dining table. This area has parquet flooring and wooden walls. It is raised about 20 centimetres off floor level.
There is a marble floor in the rest of this area. Here I have a fridge/freezer, microwave and a water dispenser. The water is always hot or very hot! The bathroom is behind another glass wall. It has an English toilet and a shower. There is a full sized mirror here.
There are 2 bedrooms with air conditioning. They are huge. The beds are really hard, but western. The master bedroom has a balcony and the washing machine is on it. It also has a sink and a tap. Chinese men sleep on the floor on the balcony.

It doesn’t sound too interesting but the living style is significantly different. I have no chair to sit on. At night there is almost perfect silence. In the morning people walk about the neighbourhood selling stuff like melons and gas.


Gordon Hunter