Saturday, November 22, 2008

Chinese Living...

Not that long ago one of the older apartment buildings that I go by on the way to work was suddenly empty - all of the tenants moved out somewhere, presumably to some of the newer better housing that is being built all around us. So Tina and I, being who we are, decided that we would wander over to the old building and get a few photos...
The front of the building, almost all of the windows had been removed. Most of these type of complexes have a storefront on the ground floor with a family living behind the store and then more apartments on the upper floors, when we were there there were people going around inside scavenging through the remaining items so of course Tina and I decided to explore a little and go inside.
Someones old main living area, Tina is at the storefront at the road then there is a small hallway that runs the length of the building and then the living area and a smaller room of the back of that for the bedroom. The first floors appear to have had their kitchens stuffed in the back of the house, about a quarter of the size of our tiny kitchen. The upper floors had the kitchen in the front, across the hall from the apartment - above where the shop was located on the ground floor.
Above you can see where someone has ripped the wiring out of the wall, there was still furniture, dishes, pictures, and all sorts of items laying around but people we taking all of the items that they would be able to sell of for recycling.

The rooms weren't that small, but it was hard to imagine a whole family living in what appeared to be two room apartments. It may have been fine for a couple and their one child, but quite often one set of the parents moves in to help with raising their child. That would get a bit cramped.
The other item that we thought would be tough was that these apartments all shared community bathrooms and washing sinks. In the stairwells on both ends of the building there were three tiny little bathroom/shower stalls.

There are still a lot of these old apartment buildings in Xiamen, but they are slowly tearing them down and moving the residents into the newer apartment complexes like the ones that Tina and I live in. We aren't sure how the government compensates or moves people, but the tenants of this old building must really love it when they move into a new place - we presume that now they will at least have their own bathroom...

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