Sleepless in Hong Kong, Mumbai, Bangalore – Sleep Deprivation in Asia’s Big Cities!

Sleepless in Mumbai

My upstairs neighbour’s early morning walks are ruining my health!
Why?
Because she is taking them at 1 am in the room above my bedroom!
4 steps one way, turn, 4 steps back! It’s an improvement though. For a while she used to do early morning aerobics. It was like trying to sleep while a herd of elephants performed ballet above your head!
I seem to have bad sleep karma. Wherever I have lived, the neighbours seem to want to inflict sleep deprivation upon me. As if my apartment is a CIA “black site” for them to practice “enhanced interrogation techniques” upon me.
When I lived in Hong Kong, sleep was the most precious thing I could get because I never had enough of it and any attempts at getting an early night where always thwarted by my devious neighbours.
Our habit has always been to sleep with the windows open, preferring the fan to A/C. However this has often proved to be our undoing.
The first flat that the Boss and I lived in was in the not so salubrious area in Kowloon called Whampoa Estate. Our neighbours used to like disposing of their rubbish by tossing it out the window, only for it to fall 14 floors onto the corrugated iron awning on the 1st floor with a bang sufficient to wake the dead. Hong Kong people aren’t known for sleeping early so this used to go on until the early hours of the morning.
Once we shifted to more upmarket accommodation, we were presented with a different problem.
Nearly every child in Hong Kong is made to study the piano or violin (OK a sweeping statement ……… maybe I should say that every child in every building I have lived in). The problem is that none of them have reached a standard of playing that anyone with ears would wish to be subjected to. The consequence is that they practice scales every night, ascending, descending, up and down the piano keys, over and over again. And not at 7pm or 8 pm like any good kid should, but at 11 and 12 at night! I would be lying there with the pillow over my head, cursing into the bed sheets, and eventually drifting off to sleep dreaming of being pursued by giant pianos.
The only thing worse than this was my neighbours’ love of Karaoke, a love surpassed only by their complete inability to sing tunefully.
One of the most appalling inventions of the modern age is the home Karaoke machine, an invention that should be instantly outlawed by the Geneva Convention as inhumane.
Those neighbours who didn’t have piano playing adolescents, would while away the nighttime hours by attempting to sing English love songs and ballads, in a manner that would make the most ardent lover suicidal. If you have ever witnessed dogs howling in discomfort at the sound of the Fire Siren will understand what aural torment I was subjected to.
In fact the only place where I have had a quiet night’s sleep is New Zealand but the nights are all too short due to most New Zealanders’ unreasonable eagerness to be up at the crack of dawn to go walking, running, cycling and other uncivilized behavior outside my bedroom window!

Pic Courtesy Photo Extremist

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