Cribs Beijing: Kitchen

Cribs-Beijing-KitchenThe second room on our tour will be the kitchen.  This is probably my favorite room in the house, but not for the reasons you might expect.  Basically the kitchen just screams China to me.  I’ll start with the basic tour, and then I’ll go into more detail about why when I look back on this apartment, this is going to be the room I remember most.

When you enter the kitchen off of the hallway, the first thing you see is our kitchen table, a few cabinets, the microwave, and the gas and water control box for the apartment.  Normal enough, right.  Basically we use this table for preparing food.  We prefer to eat in the living room where the decor doesn’t feel so much like an ice box and the seating is more comfortable.

First view of our kitchen from the hallway door.

First view of our kitchen from the hallway door.

Rotate to your left, and you’ll quickly see that the kitchen is actually divided into two rooms.  Through a doorway (minus the door) is a gas stove and hood and small fridge/freezer.  The stove works very well, and after cooking on coils for a few years it is fun to have an open flame to work with again.  The fridge and freezer also work well.

Through a second open doorway, you'll see the stove and ventilation hood.

Through a second open doorway, you'll see the stove and ventilation hood...

...and the fridge/freezer.

...and the fridge/freezer.

Continue rotating to your left, and you will be back in the first part of the kitchen across from the table and microwave.  Here’s the sink and a wall full of cabinets that would make my mom jealous.

The sink surrounded by a wall of cabinets.  Looks nice.

The sink surrounded by a wall of cabinets. Looks nice.

Well that concludes the official tour of the kitchen.  Now for the fun part.  This kitchen has a lot of idiosyncracies that are sometimes a source of frustration, but more often than not they just provide a nice excuse to laugh, shake my head, and remember that I’m in China.  Here are a few examples:

  1. Remember that wall of cabinets from above?  Well it turns out that almost all of them are either 1) hiding pipes or 2) broken.  Check out these pics.  The lesson here is that in China, even more than elsewhere, not everything is as it appears.  And appearances matter a lot here.
    We discovered the cabinets were there to hide these pipes.

    We discovered the cabinets were there to hide these pipes...

    ...And these...

    ...And these...

    And these.

    ...And these.

  2. The entire kitchen is white.  My mom always told me that white is the worst color possible for a kitchen from a practical standpoint (and eventually an aesthetic one).  This kitchen has reinforced that lesson over and over again.  China is a fairly dirty place, and our white kitchen shows off the dirt well.
     
  3. My favorite idiosyncracy of all.  In addition to a normal window outside, there is a window from our kitchen into our second bedroom.  Why? I don’t know.  Sometimes things in China make no sense at all. 
    This window makes sense.

    This window makes sense.

    I'm still trying to figure this one out.

    I'm still trying to figure this one out.

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One comment

  1. Anne Petersen · ·

    Jeff and Tian,
    Nick and Abby would really like to see this, and I’m forwarding it to them, as they thought that THEY had the weirdest kitchen and bathroom when they lived in Hangzhou, and it turns out that it was just a NORMAL, ORDINARY kitchen and bath. They, too, had a shower in the middle of the bathroom, which they never used because it made such a mess. They joined a fitness club a block away from work, and they just showered and changed there to avoid the flooded bathroom scene. Their kitchen did not have a second window into the bedroom (which is so that you can yell for your kids to come to dinner, I guess), but a lot of idiosyncrasies nonetheless. Looks like a nice apartment, even though the halls are filthy and the elevators disgusting. Normal stuff!

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