The Scheduling of Showers

Hélène and I (and 西施!) continue to love our new apartment. It’s so much bigger than the previous one, it almost feels like too much space. All in all, we are very happy with the move, and we can’t wait for friends from Montréal to come visit us (hint, hint!)

But you know, regardless of how clean and modern our building is, there’s always something to remind us we are still in China. Case in point: the hot water.

When I moved to China, I was amazed at the simple efficiency of gas water heaters. Contrary to the hot water tanks we get in Canada, they never run out of hot water, and they don’t waste any energy maintaining water hot just in case you need it.

Well, it turns out that our new building is seemingly the only one in Shanghai that has… a hot water tank. Worse: it’s a common water tank for the whole building. One second of pondering this will reveal how absolutely idiotic this idea is… I am amazed that they actually went through and not only abandonned a concept that works perfectly well in China, but actually took the American idea and made it worse. There’s a tragic allegory for the westernization of China in there that I will leave to people with less of a sense of decorum.

Anyway, the building management, in their infinite wisdom, came up with a solution to hot water shortages: they decided to turn up the heat, but in order to balance the costs (carefully disguised under the argument that they don’t “want to inconvenience the homeowners” since they would pass the cost to them), they have now decided to turn on the hot water… only between selected hours.

Yep, you read this correctly. If you are a tenant in the same complex as I, you can only take a shower between the hours of 6 AM and 10 AM, and between 5 PM and 10 PM. The building’s administration was kind enough to extend these hours to 2 AM on Saturdays and Sunday. You know, in case you’re a drunk white guy getting home at 1h30 and what you really want is a hot shower.

And if you do, make sure you end by 2 AM… Cause after that, you’ll sober up much quicker than you hoped for!

About Daniel Roy

Daniel is a writer, backpack foodie, slow traveler, and endurance runner. He is the author of the upcoming book, "The Way of Slow Travel: A Hands-On Guide to the Best Travel of Your Life."

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