Upbeat Cynicism

what do you mean i lost my mind?


with 2 comments

I have a relatively high metabolism, so I’ve always had a reasonably high tolerance for cold (excepting my ears — which ache with any amount of cold wind — and fingers — poor circulation). But the Shanghainese craving for cold air confounds me. I’ve complained about it before, but didn’t fully realize how pathological this craving can get.

In the summer, business that can afford it are air-conditioned full time (defensible, given the beastly humidity here) to a temp somewhere south of 65 degrees Fahrenheit (ridiculous, especially when everyone’s wearing shorts and tee shirts).

And in the winter… When temps dip below freezing… people open their windows every day, wide open, to let in the fresh air because it’s “healthy”. (Hypothermia and pneumonia are healthy???) (And yes, indeed, I have complained about this before.) Very few homes are insulated at all (and, even if they were, the window-opening would defeat it anyway), and I’ve seen a total of one private bathroom that had a heater in it. That was also the only private bathroom without a window to the outside. And did I mention that nothing gets insulated here? Which makes showers and toilet usage two things you do only when absolutely necessary, and then as rapidly as freaking possible.

And afterwards, the hot water bottle is your friend, the best friend you’ve ever had.


Written by [IMH]

16 December 2005 at 2:37 pm

Posted in Shanghai Stories

2 Responses

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  1. Yes, we’re paying $300/per month heating bills here in NJ so I have to run around shutting windows my Chinese mother in law leaves open.

    The less time spent near Chinese bathrooms the better. I assume you’re dealing with western style toilets, and not hoping to spend more time with a hole in the floor and a stick of incense.

    Well, at least you’ve got good tasting food in Shanghai, even if it may have various metals and chemicals in it.


    16 December 2005 at 10:03 pm

  2. There are a few hole-in-the-floor type bathrooms here, but no, I generally stick to the western style of chair-like toilets, unless it’s a real emergency (which has happened a grand total of once, over a year ago, in Nantong where proper toilets were much rarer).

    The stick of incense, however, is pretty much everywhere.

    And yes, the food is awesome. 🙂


    19 December 2005 at 11:25 am

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