Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What is that smell? Oh, its just the water.

Today started out like any other day. I woke up to my alarm and groaned about it being too early. After snoozing it once, I got up. I went to the shower and turned the water on. About half-way through my shower I started smelling something gross. I wasn't sure what it was. My dad would say, "it is just your upper lip." I quickly finished the shower, but couldn't seem to shake the smell until I got out of the bathroom. I figured there was something wrong with the drainage system in the building and forgot about it.

Side note: Smells in China are common. Every 100 feet may bring a new smell. Some of them are pleasant and many are not. This is just something you learn to live with and you begin to ignore after a few days.

Well, I get to work and my co-workers were all talking about the water. 'Water' is one of the few words of Chinese I know. I asked what was going on and they could only explain that it was "bad". They told me not to drink it, but showering was "maybe" ok.

Luckily I am not smelling any worse than I usually do today and my skin is not falling off. However, I found a few things online about it. It appears that CCTV9, the only English TV station in China, is reporting that seaweed in Lake Taihu is the cause. That seems a bit fishy. No one knows when the problem will be fixed. But this forum has a few words to say about it.

So, what do you do when the water running from every tap is bad? Nothing. You just wait till the problem is fixed. You can go to the supermarket and look at the empty shelves where bottled water belongs. You do not go out to eat, since your food will be cooked with the bad water. Instead, you buy ready made meals and cook with bottled water. No one has batted an eye at this. I think people in the US would handle this very differently. Tomorrow maybe my first "bottled water shower!"

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