Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The China Diaries: Miscellania

I moved to a different district of Xi'an yesterday, to an apartment closer to the school. Here we have some pictures, which I've been told I don't post enough of. (I don't.)
This is the courtyard right outside my room. My previous residence had a courtyard full of grandparents playing with their children, which always made me happy. This one has a little pond, which is quite lovely, though I don't see it quite making up for the lack of family love.

Right around the corner from my building is a massive, maze-like (if you consider a straight-forward if dense grid to be maze-like) market, full of foods and clothes. This is the part I'm most excited about, and there will be plenty of pictures of it in the future. Here are a few pictures I took today while picking up some lunch.

When they aren't frying tofu, I don't mind it.

There is a lot of wonderful fresh fruit. Naturally, I always opt for the unhealthy foods available in the next stall. But one day I'll make a point of improving my diet. Seems easier to do here, as the healthy foods aren't substantially more expensive than the unhealthy ones like they are in the United States.
These are my favourite parts of China. The modern parts are boring.

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In China, the washer and the dryer are the same machine. When the washing is done, the water drains, and instead of the machine heating up, it operates like a centrifuge, spinning so rapidly that most of the water in the clothes drains out. It works remarkably well, and I bet it doesn't take anywhere near as much energy. If at first it seems a bit on the strange side, I've come to feel that it makes considerably more sense than heat-producing driers. You may need to hang up the clothes for a bit afterward, but I imagine the drastic reduction in energy use more than makes up for it.

What's interesting to me is how the differences like these happen. In the US, a full-sized drier requires a special plug with a higher electrical output. If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say that Chinese appliance manufacturers came up with the centrifugal approach as a way to get almost the same effect without needing the larger electrical supply they knew most people would be unable to provide. It's clever. Very clever.

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I bought a DVD of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse yesterday, figuring I could watch it to improve my listening skills. I now know how non-native English speakers must feel when they first hear Donald Duck speak. It's not a welcoming feeling.


Istvan said...

They have those washer/dryer single units in europe too, and I think it was mainly because there just isn't enough room to have two huge units which require their own room or closet (as well as an electrical system, water lines and drainage systems). Mine was so small, it was the size of a small suitcase. And when it was drying (spinning), it would often careen out of control bouncing wildly smashing into things...I'd have to lunge after it on the floor and hold it in my arms to control it while it was spinning. It knew...It was evil. But I'm sure yours is nice.

CC44 said...

The washer/dryer in my last apartment would careen. In the new place, the dryer is a separate compartment, and it's fairly small. So long as everything is put in there evenly, it does alright.

Having said that, if there's an extra sock's worth of weight on one side, there will be broken cabinets come the end of the wash cycle.