In Chinese culture water is something very good, I was told. Equivalent to money. And it is very important that the water (i.e. money) is collected and does not flow away.
I guess I should consider myself lucky. When I came back from work today I found a puddle of water in my kitchen. I immediately called the girls from the management office – no, not to celebrate my fortune but rater to fix the leakage.
Ms. Chen was the first on the scene and directly started to investigate the kitchen. I pointed her to the water running down the glass door and she figured it might be coming from upstairs. She immediately called Ms. Li, and told her to check the apartment upstairs for water. How fortunate the girls have the keys to every apartment and can go whenever they feel it is necessary. This time it actually was necessary.
A call later some footsteps approached and Ms. Li joined the investigating party in my kitchen. “No water upstairs.” She stepped into the kitchen looking around, but could not find any better explanation.
Ms. Chen announced a ‘fixman would come’ and look. That was an extremely precise description of what was about to happen. A man in blue working uniform showed up cringed his neck through the door and looked. A few seconds and a Chinese murmur later he disappeared again.
They left and so did Ms. Li. When Ms. Chen was also done scrutinising the walls and ceiling of my kitchen she offered a smile and an excuse ‘Sorry, big problem. Please wait a moment.’
After that moment and some more had passed, first Ms. Chen and a minute later Ms. Li reappeared. The first one with a mop to clean up the water. The second with more explications. A pipe might be broken upstairs, where a Korean man lives. There was no water there so it is probably from the heated floor. They closed the valve for the heating in his apartment. Now there was no heating in the Korean man’s apartment. Ms Chen chimed in with a big smile and seemingly good news: “Your heating is fine!”
For some odd reason, two of the guards also showed up. It seems they are the ‘compound police’ and have to check on everything. In any case it was the perfect excuse to see how the ‘bearded laowai’ ( I am convinced I have that nickname around here) is living …
The floor was mopped clean, the water valve closed. That was all that could be done today. “Tomorrow, we will fix this.” pronounced Ms. Li.
Anyone taking bets? Five to one it is not finished by tomorrow night.