Thursday, March 23, 2006

The heater has been off and on for the past week. We think it's too hot. We think it's too cold.

We can feel the cold draft blowing across the living room floor when we sit on the couch.

The fan in the bathroom now makes strange squeaking-moaning-rattling noises like it's rusting to it's labored death. The sounds change on a daily basis.

We can often smell what our neighbors are cooking, which can be both pleasant or otherwise. Sometimes there is a strange inhuman smell in our bathroom.

Our DVD player was resisting us, skipping about, pausing or refusing to even recognize disks we'd inserted, and simply needed to be cleaned.

Before I moved to Beijing, I read about how loudly Chinese people like to enjoy watching television, but I can't say that I've ever noticed it.

We almost never receive anything in our mailbox.

The hallway is dark and dirty. A flickering yellow light like a tiny UFO glued to the ceiling pops on and off, sensitive to every echoing sound. Years of shoe-prints and spit-circles mark the flat white walls and blackened cement floors. A melty hole has been burned into the plastic down elevator button.

I can always hear the whir of the elevator going up and down, ding! when it reaches a destination and the doors rumble open, and I can always hear people talking through the walls or moving their possessions about at all hours.

Occasionally, karaoke tears it's way through the hallway outside our front door, our neighbor's passion. They have a row of cabbages (the closest vegetable to which I can identify it) outside the entrance to their apartment.

The elevator attendants always want to know where we're going or from where we're coming. My lack of comprehension of Chinese helps in this instance as no one can directly speak with me, and people just do their best to understand for themselves by looking at my plastic bags or whatever else I may be holding in my hands. I try to hide my belongings behind my legs, standing on sunflower seed shells and cigarette butts.

There is a film on all of our windows which cannot be cleaned off.

Every morning, there are a number of people going through the dumpsters in the parking lot.

It looks like there is a camera or multiple cameras in the balcony across from our apartment. I've taken pictures of it on my little digital jobber, but I'm afraid to post them for no reason other than my own paranoia. They're not very clear, anyway. We observe the nemesis balcony on a daily basis for changes. Someone must be conducting an experiment, but we have never seen anyone over there. Only the little red lights staring back at us at all hours and the suspicious lace curtain on a window in the next room.

We've been meaning to buy a lamp or two, as we dislike the overhead white which glares at us constantly.

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