Sunday, 23 September 2012

(Day 65) Hwaseong Immigration Detention Center-day 52 C-31

sit-ups push-ups chairlifts

Breakfast 2 hard boiled eggs
orange flavoured soy drink
Lunch rice
chicken/veggie soup
julianed potatos
noodles and veggies
yellow curry

In the 3 different cells I've been in here, this one is the strangest. Not so much strange, just different than the rest. Some people might like it, even prefer it, but to my selfishness, it cramps my style.

First of all, the layout of the rooms is different and smaller. I made a diagram because it's easier to draw than describe:
Basically there are two rooms of equal size. The sleeping area has space to sleep 12 people on a raised platform with a walkway down the middle, and shelving above the platform for personal belongings. The common area is about the same size with 2 picnic tables bolted to the floor facing the TV. There is a telephone and water dispenser on either side of the door. The bathroom has 2 toilets at one end and 2 showers at the other. In the middle, there are 2 sinks with a urinal on either side.

In this cell, the layout is quite a bit different. The rooms are not the same size. The sleeping area is much bigger but does not have the raised platform for sleeping. It's one big floor with 9 shelves on each side to accommodate up to 18 detainees. The common area is much smaller and the picnic tables bolted to the floor take up much of the space. They also don't exactly face the TV either. The bathroom has 2 sinks, showers, and toilets, but only 1 urinal. Also, instead of showers at one end, and toilets at the other, there is one of each on either end.

Now, you may ask yourself, "What difference does it make?" In Asia, quite a bit. While indoors, Asians spend all their time walking about barefoot or with socks or slippers on. Walking into a room with your shoes on is a hanging offense. You will hear audible gasps and great cries and shouts of blasphemy. The sky will rain brimstone and the seas will boil... and the reason for this is that this great civilization has yet to invent tables and chairs. They sit and eat of the floor. The famous Asian squat is testament to this lack of furniture. I'm sure the picnic tables are just a compromise for the foreigners who aren't Asian and may happen to haunt their precious cells.

Because of this Asian quirk, when you go from the common area to the sleeping area, having a raised platform and walkway makes all the difference when going to the bathroom. With a walkway, you take of your slippers when you step onto the raised platform. You wear your slippers in the common area, the walkway and in the bathroom. In the bathroom, the floor is always wet (these people seem to be incapable of washing their hands, and when they do, they can't keep the water in the sink, but must evenly distribute it all over the floor), and in the common area and walkway, the floor is always dirty. There's no need to clean the floor too often because everyone is wearing slippers.

In the new cell, with the bigger sleeping area and lack of a raised platform or walkway, slippers come off at the entrance to the small common area. There are 2 pairs of slippers in the bathroom for communal use (which is pointless, really, as I'll explain later). This creates a couple of interesting/infuriating scenarios.

First, there are the 2 Chinese dudes who "own" the cell-- the one who yells and the one who walks. The one who yells also happens to be a clean freak, which is both good and bad. Good because everything is clean, bad because he expects everyone else to be a clean freak too and help him. That being said, every morning, before roll call, we put our mattress & blankets on the shelves, clearing the floor. Then the bathroom, sleeping & common area floors are mopped. When that is finished, the Chinese who walks, paces the perimeter of the room. When there is a raised platform and walkway, there is no mopping or pacing. When roll call is finished, the mattress and blankets come down off the shelf and everybody goes back to bed until breakfast, then we eat, and go back to bed again. None of this mopping/pacing bullshit. It's seriously cramping my style. Now, I have to wait until all the Chinese have sat down for breakfast before I can put my bedding back on the floor and go to sleep.

As for the bathroom, the reason you would wear slippers is to avoid fungal disease or a wet floor. These communal slippers are always wet anyway, and they're communal... if anybody has a fungal disease and everybody shares the same slippers... Asians may be good at math, but they suck at biology.

So, in conclusion, no raised platform leads to less sleep, more cramped quarters and a higher chance of fungal disease (as the Chinese dude sitting across from em starts picking at his feet). Sunday, Funday!

The Chinese who walks wants to watch some stupid variety show instead of UFC. What kind of room is this? Even gay men would rather watch muscular men kick the crap out of each other than the gay crap that passes for Korean television.

The rest of the day has been pretty uneventful. I heard the unchristian Nigerian arguing with a Chinese about Korean drama VS. UFC in the cell next to mine. Mostly, I just read another book (almost finished all the books JO brought... I thought it would take me a lot longer...), napped and drew some. Throw in some exercise later and call it a day. Unless something incredibly interesting happens, of course...