Our first day in Wenshan felt as if it lasted forever. By the end of the night, it was hard to tell what had taken place just that morning. Everything felt stretched out – as if a week had already gone by.
Keeping floors clean here is probably a joke God is playing on me. Especially in this warm season when it is necessary to open all the windows throughout the apartment every morning to cool the rooms and keep them open as much of the day as possible, with hopes for a breeze. Dust, smoke and the city’s pollution float right into the apartment. Yesterday two women began fueling a fire with dried brush to burn a huge mound of plastic – right across the street from our kitchen. A joke, indeed.
My sister would be proud. She has a slight obsession (read: compulsion) to keep her floors clean. She walks around with a Swiffer in hand most of the day. This is no exaggeration. Anyone who knows her has experienced her clean-freak behaviors and has walked into her immaculate house at any time of the year – whether 12 people are taking up residence for the holidays or she is hosting a weekend get together with friends and neighbors. It’s almost unnatural to see her without the Swiffer in hand.
Yesterday we ventured to the market to grab an equivalent tool for our expansive tile floors. A microfiber dry mop and squeegee-like wet mop. I have since wet mopped twice and dry mopped just about every fifth time I walk across the apartment and notice the little green magician leaned conveniently at the sliding glass doors near our kitchen.
Grocery shopping has once again stumped me. I wander around DeeMart trying to figure out characters and somewhat misleading graphics on the labels. In the Kunming Walmart, it took James and I about 15 minutes to determine which bottles of Pantene were shampoo and which were conditioner. (Who cares if we got shampoo for dry/brittle/oily or purple hair at this point.) Yesterday, finding floor and surface cleaner was about as much as we could take. Street vendors and tiny roadside “restaurants” are our current kitchen.
The great internet adventure is still under way. After some help from a friend, a visit to the store across town, and an afternoon waiting in agony after misunderstood phone calls in million-word-a-minute Mandarin, we are still without a connection to the outside world. Every couple of minutes we would jump up to watch the window, hoping that the only word we understood, “after” meant he would come that night. So far… nothing.