When we are sick, tired, miserable or just feeling plain lazy, our beds are a cosy place to be. Well, usually. But in China the beds are like no other I have ever slept on. They are hard. Not firm, not even like a hard innersprung mattress, they are like sleeping on soft rocks, tiles with a layer of tissue paper, the next best thing to the floor. And for soft western bodies, especially with backs that play up from time to time, they are not a place of welcoming comfort.
The pink undersheet is on top of the air bed. Normally it would just be the white flat bedding under the pink sheet they would sleep on.
The first time Peter and I stayed in China, I sat on the bed and with a horrified voice squeaked, ‘These are like cricket bats!’ Since then we have fondly referred to them as cricket bat beds. This trip is no different. I could manage about 5 or 6 hours on the bed in the hotel, and now in Alex’s house, knowing their beds were of the same ilk, I splashed out on a blow up mattress and pump. Oh, the luxury, last night, of sleeping on a soft air bed, warm and cosy, with a cuddly quilt.
But the Chinese will swear that a firm bed is good for your health. Soft beds are bad for your bones, they reckon. They don’t use bedding as we do at home either. They usually sleep on sleeping mats with a quilt over the top, no sheets, but with a pillow case on the pillow and then a small towel on the pillow case. It is the towel that gets washed, not the pillow case. During the day the quilt is folded back leaving the bed airing for the day. From time to time the quilts are put out into the sunshine for airing.