This week, the silly and the serious.
- Random western musical choices in public places. For example, the cafeteria I ate in on Tuesday had decided to play over a loudspeaker an entire CD that was probably called something like “Celtic Winds”. Scarborough Fair over ginger scallion chicken – why not? Also, my elevator plays a dramatic piano version of the theme song from Exodus every morning going down to the lobby, which has the effect of making me feel triumphant every time I leave for work. Not bad.
And the Serious:
- Water. RP will say that this should also go under the Silly, given my propensity for chugging entire Nalgenes of water in one sitting. But yesterday morning I came home after a hour’s jog, sweating and wanting a shower, to discover that my apartment had no running water. Because you can’t drink the tap water here anyway, I had drinking water in my water cooler. But still – no dish washing, no showering, no toilet flushing. I then happened to read this series of articles written in the NYT three years ago. Go read them – and watch the videos, and look at the slideshows. Ever since arriving in China I’ve had the feeling that I have to get to India soon and see the contrast for myself. It is amazing what China has been able to accomplish, even with its many serious flaws, in terms of providing basic services for hundreds of millions, while India seems to be unable to do the same. Say what you will about China’s social problems (and I have plenty to say about that) but China does not have problems like this anymore.
And those of you who can actually drink the water that comes out of your taps? That really is the most amazing feat.
P.S. The water was back on by the time I came home from work. Hey, I didn’t say things were perfect.