JD is becoming a lot more vocal these days (especially if you include the screams!). If he is in the mood he can say about a dozen words, and he understands a dozen more. We read 2-3 books together every day and last week we drew pictures for each letter of the alphabet on the path outside the house. Quite a few passers-by stopped for a look throughout the day, with various local children trying to work out what the pictures represented. Of course, if it rains, the gallery will disappear but, since we've been without running water for 2 weeks now, rain would actually be most welcome.
Kunming's been underwater for the last day or so. Technically, we are still amidst a four year drought (our tap water is still intermittent) but 12 solid hours of torrential rain, followed by persistent heavy showers, have totally overwhelmed the city's drainage (as usual for this time of year) and left large areas of the city with flooding. I know someone who risked driving into what she thought was shallow water, only to find her car floating, and then sinking. She quickly abandoned it and waded to higher ground.
We tried to drive JD to a scheduled vaccination today, but hit traffic at a complete standstill wherever we went. We saw two crashes within 500m of each other. Finally, when we arrived at a road with metre-deep water, we decided to call it a day and drove home.
Amusing photos of the flood have been appearing regularly on Ava's phone from her friends. One showed a canoe patrolling the High Street!
One of my students sent me this photo. He lives in a block of flats, and the "lake" below was formerly known as a car park!
But the one picture that made Ava and I laugh the most, was a photo of a sign being posted up around town by the local government. It tells citizens that the leaders are busy "rescuing people" and that the new sewers installed last year have done an "excellent" job. It goes on to state that sharing any pictures of the flood is now illegal since it "distracts from the image of the local government". Ooops!
We've returned to Kunming, largely to escape the racket made by a team of tree fellers chopping down a dozen trees around our Shenzhen flat, and the neighbours drilling walls, presumably as part of a redecoration. The lumberjacks were frighteningly casual about the tree-climbing, chain-sawing and bough-dropping. The main climber has a harness and safety rope, but never bothered to attach it to anything.
We arrived back in Kunming a few days after the new airport experienced chaos when heavy fog descended, with hundreds of flights cancelled (Locals who were interviewed said there is often fog in that area and they told the construction company many times when they were deciding where to build the airport). Kunming is a lot chillier than Shenzhen and, frustratingly, our flat is only getting 20 minutes of running water a day now (and no hot water at all). Ava and I went to see the local neighbourhood leaders today but were told "It's not our fault", "Here's another number to ring", "What can we do?" etc. Naff!
After two weeks of uninterrupted running water, I feel I can (once again) beathe a sigh of relief and feel fairly confident that our water supply is back for good, or at least until next Summer. It's such a pleasure to be able to take a shower whenever wanted or without having to trek across town. The buckets are still on standby but, with the recent heavy downpours, we remain hopeful ...and cleaner!
We've had two days of heavy rain here, and 24-hours of running water in the house each day. The temptation is the drain the bath (ie cold water storage reservoir) and use the hot running water for a shower. But we've been there before - thinking the water is back for good and then getting it cut a day or two later. Without our full bath, we have to start ladling water out of buckets and collecting rain. Oh, the mysteriousness of it all. Oh, the humanity! If only we knew the Government's intentions. If only they would tell us. If only they knew themselves!
Woohoo! After 6 months without daily running water, we've finally been told that low-pressure, but 24-hour, water has been resumed. With the recent torrential rainstorms, it's not before time. We've emptied our bath-cum-reservoir and are looking forward to our first showers at home for half a year. It's been a difficult time, but it's amazing what you get used to when you have to. Buckets are being stored away again. Let's hope this really is the end.
(Stop Press: I spoke too soon. The liars at the water company turned it all off again today. Now, where are those blummin' buckets? 23.8.12)
I've had another article published in the newsletter of the Merton Chinese Cultural Group, this one about our neighbourhood's lack of running water. The newsletter puts it into context however, with facts and photos about the far worse effects being felt in rural areas of Yunnan. Download it below if you fancy a look.
We're entering our third week without running water. We do get a trickle for half an hour about 6pm (spent running around filling buckets, barrels and baths) which just about keeps us going, though a cold bucket over the head are not quite as nice as a warm shower. Others in our neighbourhood are a bit less organised and queue up to fill their buckets from down the hill [see photo]. Yesterday we heard that other areas of Kunming are starting to get sporadic water cuts too, which somehow makes us feel a little bit better. We were feeling "picked on" for the last fortnight. As ever, the authorities are being very vague about how long this will be going on for. Some rain would help.
We're entering our fifth day without running water in the house. Strip washes all round. Only our neighbourhood is affected (nowhere else in the city), apparently because we are atop a hill and there's not enough water to pump up here. Meanwhile ma-in-law is feeling very vindicated for the many months (years?) of filling her bathroom with umpteen buckets of stored water.
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