Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Peek Inside

A week ago I mentioned we took a walk through a nearby hutong type area of homes.  While there, we saw a sign about a home for rent.  We are currently looking for apartments for some students coming in the fall, and while I didn't really think this would be the place they were looking for, I still thought it could be pretty interesting to see inside one of these old, courtyard-style homes.

Yesterday Kevin and I, plus our two tutors, went over to look at the house for rent.  It was about like I expected.  Okay, maybe a bit worse. We got some (rather dark) pictures, so if you are interested in what an older style Chinese house looks like...
Here is the front of the house, situated partway down a little alleyway, the house had two tiny garden enclosures in the front.  It looks old but quaint.
The front door opens to an open entryway with two empty rooms on either side.  The owner said one used to be his son's room.  Poor son - the rooms were unheated, and it gets cold here in the winter.  At the end of the entry hallway was the small courtyard, if it could be called such.  It was about the size of  a small hallway, but it did let in some sunlight.
The living room was furnished with this lovely couch and a small table.  The window to the courtyard let in a little light, but it was still pretty dark.
The bedroom boasted this board of a bed, not much different from your average China bed except a good deal older.  Note that it is still covered in plastic, however!  The bedroom did have a small window, but it didn't let in much light.  Fortunately the main part of the house had radiators.  Imagine how cold it would get otherwise, with all the concrete and brick and no sunlight!
The toilet was in this small, dark closet.  It was a rather primitive squatty, basically a hole in the ground, with a bucket for flushing.  You should probably be glad the picture is so dark, because it wasn't very pretty to look at.  There was no shower, which the owner didn't seem to think was a big deal.  Who needs a shower?  I'm sure there's a bathhouse around somewhere.

The kitchen was also very dark and very old.  It included a sink, a coal stove (on the right), and a small shelf.  No fridge, not that there was room for one.
Off to the side of the courtyard was a "summer kitchen," which also had a small sink and coal stove.  No doubt the inside kitchen gets very hot in the summer.

So, probably the new students aren't going to be interested in this apartment!  I wouldn't want to live there, but it was interesting to find out what it was like!  And I do still like the outdoor ambiance of these small alleyways.
p.s. In case you were wondering, 5 days later we still haven't heard from the landlord about that toilet replacement.  No matter-right now our apartment is feeling like the height of luxury!


Candy said...

I always wanted to go inside one of those houses. I think hutong areas are so fascinating! I don't think it would be a very great place to live, but it is interesting.

Nate and Molly said...

How much would a hut apartment like that cost monthly?

Betina said...

Great post - I guess it's been a typical low class house, a little development will make a huge change.