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A residential complex in Shanghai.

A couple of years ago my wife, Bin Huang, purchased a three bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a new complex on the outskirts of PuDong, a suburb of Shanghai, China. Her sister, Jing Mei, purchased an adjoining one bedroom corner unit. They had carpenters put French doors in the adjoining wall, thereby creating a four bedroom, two bathroom home. The kitchen in the larger apartment became an office nook. I used it to set up my computer while I visited over Christmas of 2000.

Like many homes in Shanghai, the apartment is equipped with air conditioning units but no heating system. Unlike most air conditioning units the ones in Bin's house also produced a minimal amount of heat but this feature is seldom used because of the high cost of electricity.

If you look at any of the newer complexes you will see the outside of the structure dotted with air conditioning condensers, hoses running through the wall into the apartments.

The outside of the newer apartments are also equipped with racks that extend out from the balconies to hang clothes for drying.

INSIDE AND OUTSIDE - BIN'S HOME IN SHANGHAI
GUARDHOUSE

Notice the rebar behind the wall. Construction on an expansion had been started
but then discontinued. I saw this in many places in Shanghai and Mexico.

GUARDHOUSE

There are two pedestrian entrances into the complex with a guardhouse at each.
GUARDHOUSE

Traffic is one way. When it enters at the far gate it gets a token,
it must present the token to this guardhouse when leaving.
HOUSING COMPLEX

Part of the complex in which Bin has her apartment.
Note the dwarf palms. The climate is very similar to that of Vancouver, Canada.
COMPLEX

Part of the complex where Bin has her apartment.
COMPLEX

Part of the complex where Bin has her apartment.
BIN'S APARTMENT

Bin's apartment is on the ground floor.
Note the bars on the doors and windows despite the security at the gates.
ELECTRICAL

Main electrical panel with meters, for the end portion of the complex.
ELECTRICAL

This is a 220 V. system. The small white boxes under the meters contain a fuse,
a length of solder between two screws.
BIN / PUTA

Bin, in the living room, lights incense for her morning prayers before the Puta.
Note the heavy sweater she wears.
In the background, sun streams through the window into the old kitchen which is now a den.
Notice the space heater in the middle of the room to keep my legs warm while I work at my computer.
AQUARIUM

Fish are not kept as pets but to save running to the store every day.
YI MING

The wood frame, sliding glass, door, in front of Yi Ming,
replaces the wall that used to separate the two apartments.
The metal, sliding glass door behind him is the entrance to an enclosed balcony
which is the living quarters for the live in housekeeper.
LAUGHING AT MY POOR
ATTEMPT TO SPEAK CHINESE

Huang, Jing Fu, Bin's brother, (head of the table.)
Zhang, Lai Feng, Jing Fu's wife, (red coat.)
Chi, Mei Feng, the live-in house keeper, (closest to camera.)

Newer complexes are surrounded by high fences topped with broken glass. At the entrances are rolling gates and guard houses with uniformed security personnel. Tenants can feel secure in leaving their cars parked on the streets within the complex.

As Bin spends most of her time in Canada and Jing Mei finds the new home too far to commute the house is usually closed. When we arrived in mid December it was very damp and without heat it was impossible to dry it out.

BIN'S
BEDROOM
(Pic. of bedroom.)
Notice the thick comforters on the bed.

I soon learned the reason for the Chinese propensity for down filled garments. Down filled comforters on the bed and down filled jackets on the body keeps one from dying of hypothermia.

I know Vancouverites like to keep their windows open and the heat turned low but they don't keep it so cold that they have to wear jackets in the house.

I am not a Vancouverite, though I have lived there for the past ten years. I do not run around in the middle of the winter wearing only shorts or a light jacket.

Though I have worked in the Arctic where the wind chill factor was minus 140 and I have worked on a road crew on Northern Vancouver Island where the rain fall is over 300 inches per year, I still expect, at the end of the working day, to be able to go into my home, shed my clothes and be warm.

SUPPER TIME(Pic. of people at table.)
Surrounded by in-laws. Note the warm vest I am wearing.
A sister in law on each shoulder (L - R) Huang Jing Mei, Huang Jing Xian,
three brother in laws to my right, Huang Jing Fu, Ren Yong Quing (hidden),
Huang Jing Di, on my left, a nephew, Ren Ru Xin, and my mother in law,
Feng He Hua, at the head of the table.

Watching Bin wake up in the morning and pull on thermal underwear and two sweaters before she crawled out from under the blankets convinced me that she will never convince me to retire in Shanghai.

PICTURES TAKEN AT CHEN JUN'S PARENT'S HOME IN ZHUJI

BEDROOM

JUN CHEN'S BEDROOM
KITCHEN

IN THE MIDST OF PREPERATION FOR THE EVENING MEAL
CHEF du JOUR

YI MING, AN EXPERIENCED CHEF, PREPARES A MEAL FOR OUR HOSTS
DINNING ROOM

SHI YUN, A PROFESSIONAL COOK, SETS THE TABLE AND ARRANGES THE FOOD, FISH, GRILLED SLICED CUCUMBER, COLD SALTED DUCK, FRIED MUSHROOMS, COLD SLICED BEEF, SCRAMBLED EGG WITH CHINESE SAUSAGE, SMALL EGGS, CARROTS, TINY MEATBALLS, AND FISH SOUP
HOSTS

JUN CHEN AND HER PARENTS ENJOY A PROFESSIONALLY PREPARED MEAL IN THEIR OWN HOME
REFUSE

MOST APARTMENT COMPLEXES HAVE A ROOM FOR GARBAGE. THERE IS NO BIN INSIDE. A SMALL TRUCK WILL COME AND THE MEN WILL SHOVEL IT OFF THE FLOOR INTO THE TRUCK

AN ATOLL OF GREEN IN A CONCRETE SEA.
TIAN NING XIE'S HOME IN SHANGHAI, CHINA.
These pictures were taken Jan. 2001.

STREET

FROM TIAN NING'S HOUSE YOU CAN SEE A NURSERY ON A BUSY STREET

NURSERY

FROM TIAN NING'S HOME, IN THE HEART OF THE CITY,
A NURSERY, VERY GREEN IN EARLY JANUARY
BEDROOM / LIVING ROOM

JUN CHEN AND TIAN NING XIE (R)

END

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