But then who needs a mother to pick up after you when you have an army of street angels? The lack of trash cans in Chengdu is completely compensated for by the abundance of street cleaners. We see them sweeping in the dark and hear their swiiiishh...swiiiishh..first thing in the morning. Every neighborhood has several, and they do a MAGNIFICENT job. I am devoting this blogpost to these unsung heroes and their even more under-lauded implements. Hats off today to street angels, mops, and brooms. Your day has come.
Basic to any clean-up operation is the common broom. Chinese brooms are superior in every way. In fact, my first memory of China back when I arrived as a mail-order girlfriend in 1997 in Beijing the day after Hong Kong came back was of little Chinese women boarding the plane the minute I exited with these hand-made brooms.Here are broom part replacements conveniently stashed away in trees just in case--heaven forbid--a broom mishap should occur.
Mops are a close second cousin to brooms and never far away from them.
Every leaf removed. Every day. Every piece of trash removed. Every day. Swish...swish...swish--constant Chinese background music. Much like the heart-like sounds we listened to in the womb.
Even this giant decorative panda has a personal caregiver for those "difficult to reach" places!
Perhaps the street angels campaigned for this sign to be placed in a local city park. I'm all for stopping those spitters. They turn my stomach. And who doesn't want toilet paper next to their toilet??? note: I just read a book about Marshall Islanders who use...........rocks. yep.
A feather duster which I wanted to snatch, but I thought I might have a hard time explaining to the BYU folks (within whose graces I strive to remain) why I was in the clink for absconding with a cleaning implement. True story--on the way to church one week we saw street angels DUSTING the guardrails on an overpass!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The hand scythe and the ceramic bowl beside the aged bricks offset the hand-woven fence in an early Ching dynasty motiff. (never you mind that bucket...) I love throwing dynasties around. I don't have a clue what I'm talking about.
Fortunately, I had my sponge painting supplies in my backpack so I could quickly blend this wall to coordinate with this mop.
Is it just me, or is this an awesome photo??? OK. Thought I'd just ask. You don't need to get snippy.
This is a young apprentice broom--not aged to a golden brown or experienced quite yet. His stories are yet to be told.
This mop was voted Miss Congeniality. She cried a little and hugged the broom next to her.
It's amazing how many mops and brooms surface in the world when you are consciously looking for them!
I do NOT, repeat do NOT, stage any of my photographs. I know some of you can picture me placing these brooms and carts just so so. Nope. Raw footage.
A loyal generic workhorse city broom takes a rest--Gutter cleaned? Check. Sidewalk debris free? Check check. At ease, soldier...
This is our neighborhood "dumpster". We walk about 3 minutes and then just heave our trash onto the pile. You can imagine what magnitude of rodents probably completely reside at the back and bottom of this. That's why I stand back before I chuck. I also hold my breath, close my eyes, and pray,
Notice the broom sentinels. I don't want to leave you hanging with this trash thing. Several times a week (to the tune of "It's a Small World:, "Auld Lang Syne", and Schubert's "Trout Quintet"), the dump truck arrives, the street angels clean it all out, and the pile begins again...
Mad: Well, I'm not too sure, but I think it was some time close to that day I blogged about mops and brooms.