The Builders in Guangzhou
The builders were constructing a flat,
I could hear them from where I slept,
The flat was being constructed at two in the morning,
So I ended up from Yawning to Frowning,
The digging was loud and nearby,
All I could do is but try to sleep here and sigh,
There was loud noise outside,
I wished I could find some place to hide.
I have been woken up many times in China by the loud drilling and banging of hammers, sometimes as early as 2 a.m. in the morning! The above poem is written in regards to one particular incident I fondly remember. That time the noise from the construction work continued throughout the night. Now, in all fairness, I am kind of person that prefers to sleep in absolute quietness, and even the slightest of noise can disturb my sleep (unless if I am very tired/jet-lagged!!). However in this particular incident, it got to the stage where I had to get out of my flat at something like 2 a.m., in my pajamas, and told the builders in the street to just stop doing whatever they were doing. They all seemed confused as to why I had made this (polite) request, and somewhat surprised too. This probably was because no one before me had complained. After a few surprised looks at each other, thankfully they decided to stop, however to my astonishment, only for about 10 minutes before it all started again as if nothing had happened. I guess they most probably took a cigarette break! The noise was just painfully horrible, and in the morning I had this excruciating headache which forced me not to go to work that day. This was probably the worst case scenario, and the fact that even though I spoke clear and fluent Mandarin to the builders, I failed to understand why they just carried on. In actual fact, some other foreign expats have also complained about this problem. In retrospect, I do take my hat off to these guys because they are the pillars of China's booming economy, and are driving it 24 hours a day- but for us, poor foreigners who are used to living in a lesser noisy environment, it can be somewhat of a problem.
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