technical difficulties

Update 10/3
Whoa! My Beijing plans have sort of worked out, against all odds; I’m posting this from the Youyi Hostel, which, besides being ridiculously cheap and offering ‘net access, is also right around the corner from the Golden Elephant Thai and Indian restaurant, which has an Italian place across the street from it.
I can see where I’m going to be spending my next few meals…
I missed National Day (which was rainy and very low-key in Harbin), and I won’t be going on to Xi’an after all, but you know what? Fuck it! I’m in a city with English-language bookstores, and food that is neither Chinese nor Russian, and by God I will enjoy every goddamn minute of it!

Oh, and I have a new phone, and with it, a new number. Those of you who are inclined to call me (um, Mom, I guess that’d be you) can reach me any time at 13684665171.

Hey, guys.

I’m posting from work at the moment, since the phone line at my apartment – and consequently, the ‘net connection – has been switched off. I owe money on it, which is apparently the result of, you know, staying online for seven or eight days at a stretch. I’ll pay back the money within the next few days.

Oh. And the water there isn’t working either. I woke up this morning to find that the sink wouldn’t flow, the shower wouldn’t start, and the toilet wouldn’t flush. After a while reading the guide by Toiletable to troubleshoot common problems, I asked another resident of my apartment building about this, and he said “Oh, of course not. All the water in Harbin is turned off today.”

“When will they turn it back on?”

“Who knows?” he said cheerfully.

Oh, and even if I do get ‘net access and running water back at my apartment within the next few days, this coming week is the National Day holiday, and I’ll be out of town. The current plan is to celebrate National Day on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, and then possibly go on to Xi’an by train.

So — talk to you guys later, then.


Comments (7)

  1. Bridget wrote::

    Ahhh, random utility outages for unspecified periods of time… I miss Moldova.

    Hang in there, Brendan: I feel your pain. Just remember that toilet-flushing can be somewhat approximated by pouring water into the bowl from a different source… though the whole “not having money” thing, I’m not certain where you would obtain this water. There were wells in Moldova–do you have wells?

    Sometimes, I feel the striking need to major in Russian and Eastern European studies and dedicate my life to that country–then again, most times I appreciate being able to brush my teeth without buying seltzer water.

    Take care.

    Friday, September 27, 2002 at 5:00 am #
  2. John wrote::

    Because of my internal bathroom schedule, I always seemed to find out that the water had been turned off during the night just a few minutes too late.

    Eventually, as the water in Changchun was off for long periods of the time the summer I was there, I bought this huge plastic trashcan thing (with a lid) and filled it with water when the water was running. I used it only for flushing and the occassional spongings when the water was off for a week or more.

    Worked pretty well, though I can’t say that random lack of utilities is something I miss all that much.

    Friday, September 27, 2002 at 9:06 am #
  3. Brendan wrote::

    Ah, yes – thanks, guys; the water is indeed back. It was only off for a day as some kind of weird-ass water conservation effort, which explains a sign I saw in the window of a McDonald’s on Zhongyang Road: “Conserve water; drink milkshakes!”

    Sunday, September 29, 2002 at 5:02 am #
  4. meg wrote::

    i was missing china and searched for “bar street” for some reason and i found your site. i am so glad i did. your writing has a lot of atmosphere and it makes me want to catch the next plane back.

    i envy you still being there while i’m here in california going to school. how old are you? i was guessing college age….

    anyways, hope your water gets turned on soon. i’ll definitely be reading on a regular basis.

    Sunday, September 29, 2002 at 9:25 am #
  5. Anonymous wrote::

    That phone number doesn’t work–just got dead air when I tried it. Dang. Call, write, e-mail, check the number. Hope the international eating binge went well. P

    Saturday, October 5, 2002 at 9:55 am #
  6. 楊意 wrote::

    国庆节有这么多时间让你由哈尔滨跑到北京, 又由京城走西安? — 楊意

    Monday, October 7, 2002 at 10:11 am #
  7. Meighan wrote::

    i miss you.

    Tuesday, October 8, 2002 at 10:49 am #