Movin’ on back to the West Side


The Lone Pagoda and the Cangshan Mountains, view from my window, the latest guesthouse.

January is a time for new beginnings, and in the first ten days I moved twice. The East Side didn’t work out for me.

My first apartment back in May featured a cracked fiberglass shower floor that flooded the bathroom after each use, until I taped it up with with duct tape.

In the Texas Hotel, the bathroom was an enclosure within the bedroom raised a foot off the ground. Hot water was scarce that first day, on account of clouds, so it wasn’t until the second day that noticed the water-resistant feature of the drain. And since I didn’t put on my contacts until after my shower, I didn’t see that instead of going down the drain, the water had simply taken the route of least resistance. Which was to cantilever over the side of the tile, and drip down onto the faux wood floor of my room. Fortunately my dirty clothes had helped to soak up the deluge.

When an entire bottle of bleach didn’t improve the flow of water, using the back end of a toothbrush, I lifted the silver drain cover to see what was blocking it:


I learned, better late than never that in Dali bathrooms, drain covers are designed to ingest less water than the shower releases. This encourages shorter showers, thus ensuring at least some water will reach the drought-ridden capitol city Kunming. In a normal bathroom, you get a tactile warning when the water level reaches the top of your toes. But in a bathroom elevated above the rest of the room, you learn of this feature when you wade out into a soggy bedroom.

Texas was less expensive than my previous guesthouse, but also lacked the amenities, some of which I was able to purchase at Walmart with the money I’d saved: a tea kettle, an electric blanket, and a DVD player.

The DVD player’s the size of a book and was only $15. Though to her credit the saleslady did her duty in explaining all that was wrong with it in an effort to sell me the large, heavy one at twice the price. I couldn’t understand a word she said, but it sounded important enough to have my friend Aaron translate over the phone, thereby wasting his time as well.

To go with the player I purchased five seasons of True Blood at a DVD store on Renmin Lu. To those who haven’t seen it, True Blood is like Buffy the Vampire Slayer except Buffy is called ‘Sookie’, and Willow is player by an angry black girl.

Also unlike Buffy, which aired on Fox, True Blood aired on HBO. Which means it contains copious amounts of loud vampire sex, so my next-door neighbors think I’m watching violent American porn. Which, by mainland Chinese standards, I am.

When I told my friend Colin of my desire to switch to another guesthouse, she showed me one right behind the Roo. Beautiful wall length window, a southern exposure, sunlight streaming in, and all the amenities I’ve already bought. Most important, compared to any other place I’ve stayed in Dali the bathroom is a luxury hotel. It’s larger than some of the rooms I’ve stayed in.

I’m considering setting up my writing desk in there.


Looking south from the latest guesthouse

About sinestor

Originally from Los Angeles/Long Beach, California, I'm currently spending a year exploring the amazing world known as China. My main website is Every Day's a Holiday.

One comment

  1. Darn. I thought you meant the West Side of L.A. !!!!

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