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Gareth is an Australian who has lived in JiangSu, SuZhou (Heaven on Earth) for a few years - he is a keen observer of the Chinese people, Chinese culture and the changes that are occurring in China at break-neck speed. He can often be found on his a nightly 'perch' in front of his bar in the famous Bar Street in Suzhou, talking to the locals in his bad Mandarin, teaching the 'flower-selling girls' English, eating street food and smiling at the local chengguan (neighbourhood police). Gareth also has several other businesses in China around Business and English training. His experiences have been varied and interesting and his years in China have taught him to be wary of promises but excited about prospects, not a bad situation to be in!
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Chinese Spiderman    

By Garreth Humphris
2040 Views | 2 Comments | 1/12/2012 1:19:34 AM

About 10 storey's up, just hanging around!

I awoke a few mornings ago to a very startling sight, a pair of legs dangling over the top of my balcony.

Fearing that my upstairs neighbor had made some strange error whilst cleaning the windows and was perilously dangling from their balcony railing, I jumped out of bed in my sleepy slumber, not even bothering to put on clothes or eyeglasses and rushed to this pair of feet.

But then I was struck, what should I do?
- Should I grab hold of them and try to drag the person in onto my balcony?
- Should I try to push them back up so they could scramble onto their balcony?
- Should I quickly sneak back into bed, cover my head and leave them to their own devices for fear of a Nanjing Judge?
- Should I let them hang a little longer and put on some pants?
- Should I put on some eyeglasses, find my phone and dial 110 and have some “police angel” try to 'talk them down'?
- Call the bao’an?
- Call out sweetly, “Are you ok”?
Such a dilemma at 7am on a cold January 1st morning after a harsh night of celebrating another year in China.

I decided that I would crane my neck outward and upward to try to see what the true situation was - and as I did, the body dropped about 2 feet and the legs swung in at my head.
“Aiyeeehaaah”, I screamed, to which replied an equally surprised, “Oh, my god”, as a mouth, 2 eyes and a very large paint roller emerged into view!

“Who are you? What are you doing outside my 22nd floor window at 7am on a holiday?”, I asked.

“I'm the painter” he said brandishing his paint roller and shaking it vigorously enough to spatter me, the window and the tiles on the balcony with a fine patina of puce-coloured paint.

So many questions went through my head, I noticed just then a rather thick rope he was dangling off, a bosun's chair he was sitting on, complete with a 20litre pail of paint tied around it and a small wiry man with a dangling cigarette in his mouth and about 15 layers of clothes.

“Is it cold?”, I asked, as the chill wind whipped off the lake beside my home and attacked my exposed kneecaps.
“Very”, he said, the smoldering cigarette bobbing up and down as he spoke. We blinked at each other for a few moments, not knowing what to say.

“So you didn't read the paper", he asked, “the one about the painting?". I remembered a pink slip of paper gummed to my door the week before, all hieroglyphics, pictures and little squares. “oh, that’s what it said, I can't read Chinese”.

He started laughing, “Neither can I.”, he cackled.

“So this painting”, I asked, “why are you doing it now?".
“Going home for Spring Festival", he said, “must be done before then, boss said”.

I looked down at the rope he was attached to, it was as thick as a doorknob but very frayed in places - it finished about halfway down the building on about the 10th floor. “what happens when you get to the end of your rope”, I asked.

“Climb back up”, he said nonchalantly, “Boss will bring longer rope tomorrow”.
“You don't have any safety rope?”

“No, don't need it, Boss said”
“But if you fall......”
A withering look from the painter quickly finished my sentence in my throat! Another uncomfortable Chinese pause, where we both observed each other.

"Boss say many things but Boss not on this rope with you", I observed...he smiled again, but remained silent.

“So where are you from?”, I asked
“DongBei" he replied.

He then swung backward and dropped about another 4 feet on the rope, his eyes now level with the railing on my balcony.

“Happy New Year”, he said cheerfully as he slopped the paint-roller back on the wall and commenced splattering paint everywhere.

“Yes, Happy New Year to you too”, I replied and then quietly turned and slunk toward my bed, behind the sliding balcony windows.

Oh, those crazy Chinese and their health and safety ideas, I thought to myself as I went back into my room...
“Crazy foreigners", I heard him mutter under his breath, “don't even wear pants in Winter"!

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(Showing 1 to 2 of 2) 1
#2012-01-12 01:43:57 by tanshui @tanshui

hahahaha.

#2012-01-15 00:32:39 by woaizhongguo @woaizhongguo

I recall a somewhat similar incident when my apartment building was being painted and we all had to move out because the smell was so overwhelming. But the workers were up there on scaffolding (no ropes) without any masks breathing in the fumes 12 hours a day. Whenever Republicans in American start talking about getting rid of pesky regulations and the overburdening hand of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, I think they all need to take a trip to China and see the sort of world they are willing for America.

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