The Hood Life
Every morning I leave my Changzhou-based fifteenth floor apartment feeling every bit of the high-rise resident I am. Cold, concrete walls, dirty windows, graffiti scrawled on the steel insides of the elevators.
Once down at street level everything seems to come alive, with a steady swarm of passers-by. The fresh fruits, vegetables, fishes, eels, crabs and even turtles in the market all attracting a variety of bidders.
Children play with dogs in the road - or maybe it’s the other way around - as e-bikes and cars weave between them in a complacent, but non-threatening, manner.
By nightfall, however, it’s a different story. Cats shrieking, dogs barking, women screaming and men fighting are not uncommon sounds echoing up from the street below. Perhaps that shouldn’t come as a surprise in a country where for under a dollar you can secure a half-litre bottle of forty percent alcohol.
It does mean I’m in a prime location for people watching here. There’s always something happening on the streets below; while Nicki and Rowley were here, a house caught a blaze and firemen came to rescue the situation at the pinnacle of New Year firework madness.
One thing China does lack in is an abundance of window cleaners. It would be so much nicer to watch people and see the cityscape through clear glass. I’m amazed there doesn’t seem to be much of market for it here. Chinese entrepreneurialism thrives in so many, intuitive, ways; surely I can’t be the only one who’d like to see things as they really are.
“Words, like glass,” said Joseph Jouber (one of Napolean’s trusted inner circle), “obscure when they do not aid vision.”
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