Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Spring Cleaning China Style- Scared Rabbit, Rabid Chinawoman, and Clean Dishes

Posted by w_thames_the_d on April 30, 2011


Ah the joys of a clean abode in China. Today Pangu the ancient sadist/god who created this dump has been in a foul mood. That great spirit man ghoul has blown a texas sized dust cloud around the hallowed land that is Beijing. Thus, being a foreigner and a lazy one at that, I decided it was time to tidy up a bit. For those of us who call any civilized country but China a home, that means calling for a local cleaning woman. Leveraging my sizable rolodex, I called a local organization who specializes in such affairs and I was told to expect one of the local experts within the hour.

Twenty minutes later a rougeish woman with a ponderous forehead and arms like a blacksmiths mallet issued forth. I nodded at the woman, secretly marveling at her Popeye like forearms and asked where her cleaning implements were. Shrugging she muttered something in a native tongue called barbarian and then dove into the kitchen and began cleaning with a gusto.

Possessing that Chinese affinity for smearing but not actually killing germs, my hired gun/puffy faced human bowling ball had taken to cleaning or ‘smearing the dishes’ as I would call it. Patting her sizable cranium gently I told her that the brackish water now housing the implements I use to eat with could actually be emptied and new water drawn. and if she were so inclined, to the newer water, she may add a few drops of soap and disinfectant. Trooper like, she stood at rapt attention and thenattacked the remaining spoons with a gusto, glancing at dozens of other pieces she ‘cleaned’ but not redone, I shook my head in disbelief.

Considering this just an idiosyncrasy of Chinese life, i let it go. Then, i told her I’d be right back as I had to run to the store. I asked her to whip up a meal for me and in with a simian’esqu focus she proceeded to light the stove. After hustling to the store I returned to find Hai Ho (I think its her name), sweating like a pig with a look of animalistic ferocity in her puny eyes. Shoving past me she ran like Bruce Jenner, waving a now broken mop handle like a javelin after 22 my rabbit who sprung away. Upon spying the quivering hare slouched in her lair, Hai Ho then hunched over and crept to her while at the last second springing like a kangaroo launched the weapon with the ferocity of a silver back gorilla.
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Grabbing the woman by her stout shoulders I commanded that all meat eaten in this house was purchased from the store and that although messy my place was not a game preserve. I guided her to the fridge and commented that there is an interesting invention, and although not invented by the chinese, it is useful. It is a place to store meat, I said slowly. My words working their way into the dense aperature that hid her logic gland, the bull of a woman shoved past me and then hissing at 22 continued to ‘clean’.

Giving up on living like a human I sit and watch her drench my hand towels into the toilet and then summarily give the mirror, door handle and windows a good scrubbing. While I commend her passion and attention to detail, I just think there has to be something better. Or maybe I’m asking for too much, after all she’s only costing U$3.00 per hour.

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