Thursday, December 20, 2007

Here are five inventions

that make life a bit easier here. Of course, these aren't exclusive to China and can be found in other developing nations.

Since machine clothes dryers don't seem to exist, there are a multitude of hanging devices of various shapes, sizes and colors to choose from. A smaller green one came with the apartment, but life is better having another one. I picked up this blue 18 hanger for $1. I enjoy using this; it reminds me of the times helping my mom hang laundry on the clothesline. I don't know if something like this is even available in the U.S., given the prevalence of clothes dryers, but I think I'm going to bring this home and let a few things dry the natural way.

One has to bring napkins everywhere: restaurants, bathroom, etc. These little packets fit easily in pockets. Every package contain 10 packets with 10 tissues - so 100 napkins costs around forty cents. I think I'll bring a few of these home, too, considering the way we go through kleenex!

I had one of these water dispensers in Chile and loved it. (They're also available in the U.S. for a ridiculously high price.) It has hot and cold spouts. The cold option isn't all that cold, so water still needs to be refrigerated. But the hot water is hot and comes in handy for tea and coffee. One sees these everywhere. They are available in the hallways in the academic buildings, too. Students use their dining card to activate it. Five dispensers are available in the Kindergarten. It seems no one dares to drink the tap water! Getting a new bottle is easy. Just a phone call and twenty minutes later a man arrives with a fresh one. He puts the water on the dispenser and takes away the empty one. The dispenser itself is very affordable and a bottle of water costs Y10 ($1.50) and lasts us about five days.

The daily newspaper is available for reading through out the city. The U. has one of these near each entrance.

This one may be uniquely Chinese. Ramps are available at most steps to move your two wheeler. The ramps come in various forms. They can be narrow and be on both sides; narrow or wide and be on only one side; or narrow or wide and in the middle of the stairs.

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