Month: July 2012

The Toilet Keeper

I’ve not seen the toilet keeper the last couple of days. He is the custodian of these four public toilet stalls, located adjoining a public park near the apartment complex. I think he might also perform other caretaker duties for the park as well. He is younger than I am,  and is about my size (that is to say, not thin). During the summer months he often has his shirt off, which is not uncommon in these parts. He is a likable man, and seems to have good relations with those who frequent the park. He’s smiled warmly at me the times that I’ve passed.

When he is not taking care of these tasks, he spends most of his time in the center area — about the size of two telephone booths — between the toilets. He has a small television set in there (I think it is a black and white model), a chair, and, if memory servers me correctly, a warmer on which to make food. It is cramped, but also seems quite cozy.

I don’t remember seeing the door locked before.

I’ve not seen the toilet keeper the last couple of days. I hope that he is okay.

Update… he’s fine. 🙂


My answer to the posters in the previous post.

Taken hand-held with my D300 and 105 mm micro. Now, in case you’re wondering why I am including three pictures whilst there were only two posters in yesterday’s installment, all I can say is… yes, yes, yes, I’m that juvenile… how many times does a man get to post pictures of himself holding his nuts? (I mean, of course, unless you’re Anthony Weiner.)

btw, I’ve found it impossible to roll just a single nut around in my hand. There’s something about how the thumb works that necessitates having another nut under it.

Beijing Had the Worst Rainfall in Sixty Years? Doubtful


Here’s a map of Beijing dating from 1950:

That is, out to the Second Ring Road, and here it is now:

With the former map comprising a small section in the center of the latter.

In addition, the population is three times as a great as it was in 1950:

The Story

After the rainfall this weekend, China Daily and the Xinhua New Agency published many articles stating that Beijing had suffered the worst rainfall in sixty years. They did this without providing any historical statistics. And, of course, the western press went with it, and turned it into fact. For example, take a look at this article from the BBC:

As far as I can tell, most of the city hardest hit by the rainfall was countryside as brief as 30 years ago, let alone in 1950.

It is downright irresponsible for journalists to pass on such claims without pointing out the lack of historical measurements.

My Experience

I spent part of Saturday in the rain. And, quite frankly, it wasn’t that bad in my area (just inside of the North Fourth Ring Road). There certainly wasn’t mass chaos or anything like that. I also thought that the rain of June 24th was as bad. (I can also remember some flooding years back near the Wudaokou area that was quite bad as well.)

Final Thoughts

The few people I’ve spoken to about the rains here don’t believe the claims made by the government, and have told me that many folks on Weibo are also skeptical.

I certainly don’t doubt that the rainfall in certain areas of Beijing was quite hard. However, I think that rapid expansion, improperly constructed roads and houses, bad drainage systems, as well as drivers unfamiliar with how to drive in (read as avoid) flooded areas had more to do with the loss of life and damage caused than a “worst in sixty year” storm.