…nothing else is there. This city is undergoing the biggest sidewalk renovation I have ever seen. It’s no joke. Though I keep asking myself, “are they joking?”. Every. Single. Sidewalk. And pretty much from August until now. A friend asked me a few weeks ago what I thought the lifespan of a foot path (he’s Aussie) was in GZ. We joked, saying it was about 12 months, and it’s so crazy that they are all being torn up. And two days later we noticed a path that was once complete, now was missing, well more like torn up, bricks removed, sand underneath exposed, and no where to walk.
The lifespan of every sidewalk/footpath in Zhujiang Newtown is non-existent. I swear many of these paths were just torn up and re-laid only earlier this year. So what is happening is this: they close off a sidewalk, put barricades up, don’t really make any safe way around and then also tear up the opposite side of the street. Allowing for no way to actually walk, except for a busy road. And roads are not safe in GZ. Cars do not give way for any people, ever. Busses like to get as close as possible while pulling up to the curbs. So once you figure out a way around all the mayhem, dodging cars and staying as close to the barrier as possible, you get back on to the path, walk about 10 meters, then have to detour again. Frustration does not come close to how I feel when trying to walk anywhere these days. Have a look for yourself…this is what my neighbourhood looks like:
So another fun part about this is when there is a “walk-way” made for people to get through, it is not a real walk-way. It is just barriers put out to guide people across areas that are torn up. Some businesses have to make their own pathways. It’s all very professional.
My favourite though is the river. While the river walkway has been torn up over the past few months, it is now solid and clear, but now you can’t even get to the river. Massive chunks of the paths are cleared away, making it difficult and at times impossible, to get across. With all the rain we’ve been having, it turns it into a moat-like area where no one can pass through unless you have your knee-high gumboots on. Needless to say, I haven’t been to the river in a while.
And with all this deconstructing and reconstructing we’re able to see how they assemble these lovely sidewalks around GZ. Basically, they dump heaps of sand down, flatted in, the lay bricks on it. The bricks are always in nice designs, multiple colours, and usually don’t fit together properly and have big spaces between, making them very unstable and when it rains, they float. And sometimes you get really lucky and get “mud-bricked”, which is when you step on a brick and there is so much water underneath is squirts up all over your feet and legs. And usually you have no idea what kind of water was sitting underneath that brick. It’s all very exciting. You never know what you’re going to get walking around here!
And in other news, we’ve had rain. Lots and lots of rain. And not just the usual Guangzhou summer downpour, there has been proper typhoons. A few of them actually. But we have been lucky and our area was not hit that hard. Others, however, were, like Hong Kong and Zhuhai. They were hit pretty badly and are still in the process of cleaning up. The only major damage I have seen was these two trees blown over during the typhoon. It really shows you how hard the wind was blowing that day (the bikes were just piled there, nothing to do with the typhoon, just people being lazy and annoying).
But the rain continues here. Everyday between 1-2pm there is a torrential downpour. I have been stuck in it, many times. An umbrella does not do much, only protects the top of your head. No matter how large it is. I have learned that I am either going to be super sweaty (because it is 35 degrees-feels like 42-every day, all day) or soaked because it is raining cats and dogs. No pun intended. Well, maybe. That is my life. Cats and dogs. So if it’s not in my house, it’s outside.