That is what time I woke up this morning. Every morning it is a little different. 2:11 am. 2:29 am. 3:20 am.
It’s not a hopeless deficiency in alarm clock programming ability. It’s that I have an alarm clock that is both unpredictable and beyond my control. It is called “construction in a country with no labour laws or noise regulations”. Yessiree, there are no labour laws in China that I’m aware of. If there are, they are not observed.
It is kind of a shared point of half-amused resignation among expats in China that construction is ubiquitous and therefore unavoidable. You could move into a cave in the sparsely populated Western provinces, and a government building project would suddenly pop up beside you within a week of you moving in.
And there is no such thing as 9 to 5, M-F. These projects go all day, all night, 7 days a week. There are times when it is inexplicably quiet. You might go to bed one night thinking, “Yes! They are taking the night off!” only to be awoken at say, 3:38 am by the crash of metal on metal and the tumbling of several tonnes of rubble onto an existing pile of rubble.
And so it was that one of the tiny details that was left out of my employment negotiations with my new university employer was that the staff housing backed onto a massive construction site. Of course, construction is so par for the course, that it likely didn’t even hit the conversation radar. Besides, the demolition/building has been going on for a year, so everyone is used to it, or something like that. In fact, I probably could have said, “I hope that my compensation package includes a construction project conveniently located near my housing… This is a deal breaker, by the way.” And they would have then said, “But of course. All accommodation comes with 24-hour construction noise included.”
There is so much evidence that proper sleep is essential to good health. Even with all this knowledge, we do a poor job of sleeping healthily in the West. It sometimes seems that admitting you sleep well and enough indicates some kind of slothful life. Despite that, we still include proper sleep in the list of things we need to stay healthy. In China, we enter a completely different realm. I’ve never met a local person who sleeps 8 hours straight. They do have a longer lunch time here, and people do nap at that time, but a full night’s sleep – ‘full’ meaning an average 8 hours that is typically required by humans – is non-existent.
This is the companion piece to my earlier post on the gorgeous sunrises I get to behold every single morning. Enjoy the photos((click on one, and you get to scroll through the enlargements) and video below!