Sunday, March 06, 2005

Two Wongs Will Never Make It White

Never said the 'bin was the cleanest of cities (or dorms for that matter).

The past few days have been exceptionally warm for this time of year in Harbin. Not sure if its actually getting much warmer, but at the least we're getting a lot more sun (which usually leads to it being warmer...). Now all those streets and sidewalks once layered with inches of packed, black ice now show their true colors. Actually, I shouldn't say that, its far from accurate. Instead, what I should say, is that all that ice, once jampacked and loaded with oil, coal, soot, and all sorts of grime, now melts and covers the walking and driving paths with a slick layer of gunk. It is exceptionally gross. I'm more afraid of losing my footing now than before with the ice, because not only is this gunk slicker than ice, but I have a feeling one will never get the stain out of their clothing. It also means I try to stay as far away from the street as possible, constantly fearing a passing automobile will splash me down. I feel like an otter in an oil spill. A sexy otter.

Luckily China, 1.8 billion socialists strong, commands one of the greatest public works brigades in the world. Maybe not the most advanced or efficient, but they got man power coming out the gills. A day after the heavy snowfall in Beijing, all the sidewalks were swept clean of snow and a number of laborers continued to work diligently keeping any puddles from forming anywhere one could. I expect that the street moppers and the whisk brooms will make an appearance here soon enough, because if its not safe to walk it certainly can not be safe to drive.

But I'm not getting my hopes up.


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