Sunday, May 13, 2007

High rise living

We can't get to our blogs here, so a friend is posting for us.

New York city touches it - barely, but there is really no place in the US that teems with high rise apartments like the cities weÕve seen here. I found my sense of individuality rapidly evaporating as we drove into Shenzhen today - a sprawling, super tall city that has grown like a steel and glass clad dandelion since Hong Kong was reclaimed by China. An article in yesterday's paper discussed the top three fears of high rise dwellers. Number one was . . . guess. No, not fire, that was number two. Falling out of the window or balcony, number three. Number one turned out to be elevators. Any elevator stress, from robbery in an elevator, to elevators not working.

Our friends here live in a house. Four stories, sided completely with small, rectangular tiles. Siu Lor (Frank's wife) really disliked high rise living and is willing to commute 1.5 hours each way daily in order to live in the countryside of Hong Kong. I asked Frank about the elevators, as he grew up on the 20something floor of a high rise.
“did your elevator ever break?”
“oh yes.”
“I think I would have stayed home”
“not if you have to go to school. Besides, it's good exercise.”
I got the feeling that it wasn't a one time thing growing up.

I tried to picture myself going up 20 flights. We had a fire drill at work and my calves ached for three days after going DOWN 15 flights. And, I discovered that most people don't order take out to their apartments. If they order food, they come down and get it. So much for my resolution to the elevator dilemma. I could stay in my apartment, but I would starve.

I wonder if the childhood elevator trauma had any impact on Frank's holiday tradition of hiking mountains? His goal is to hike each mountain in mainland China. Siu Lor and the kids sometimes go part way with him, then return to the hotel for ice cream to await his return. For practice, they go walking every Sunday for two to four hours. Even the four year old, Esther, can keep up, which I find amazing since Frank is 6' 4” tall, and Esther is about the size of Zion.