Day 13 in Beijing: Sleep When You Can. And Where You Can. Part II

He sleeps outside the makeshift shelter.

He sleeps outside the makeshift shelter.

Again, sleep when you can. And where you can.
I have yet to figure out exactly how this works.  Feel free to explain it to me if you know.
The two men that were awake seem to live “inside” this semi-shelter.  The third man, who works with them, doesn’t.  Every time I’ve seen him he is sleeping on that tiny mat and has no covers or protection at all.  I’ve only seen him sleep during the day so maybe he stays up at night and that is why he doesn’t need protection or covers?


This is the large generator that seems to run twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.  I figure, as much as I can tell, that it is the job of these three men to sit there, wait there, and sleep there, and make sure the generator doesn’t run out of fuel or break down.  And, most likely, to make sure no one steals it.  From what I’ve seen thievery is pretty minimal in Beijing but this may just be because I’m not aware of it.  I know bicycles can be stolen a lot but I haven’t heard a lot about muggings and things like that.  I digress.  So it goes.

One Man Lying.  One Man Sitting.  Two Men Smoking.  A Koan?

One Man Lying. One Man Sitting. Two Men Smoking. A Koan?


As I was walking, I discretely took a snapshot of the two awake men with my iPhone.  After walking on, and looking at the picture, I realized they had seen me trying to take the picture and had waved at the camera.  Sadly, the picture was slightly out of focus so I decided to go back, say “Ni hao” and pantomime a request to take their pictures.  Both of the men in the “sheltered area” were awake and very friendly.  They laughed at me and told me to go ahead.  I took three pictures, the first two which I did not like, and then a final third that caught them and their attitudes perfectly.

I told them, “Xie xie” (thank you in Mandarin) and was started to walk away.  The man lying down waved me over, looked at the picture, and broke into a huge smile and started laughing more.  The other man looked at it and nodded appreciatively.



It is almost like a temple.  I've never seen it move or anyone do anything with it.  Yet three men stay with it at all times.

It is almost like a temple. I’ve never seen it move and it runs 24/7. Three men guard it  at all times.

I told them again, “Xie xie” and glided off towards my subway stop.

Wearing a smile a mile wide.
My spirits lifting higher than the Beijing sun,
which rose to greet me.
Good morning to some.
Good night to others.
May everyone on this Earth
Sleep where you can.
And when you can.
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