Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Moving in China.

We have moved to a new apartment. Except for our internet connection which is still in our old apartment, where I am now!
Why did we move?  Well, a few reasons.  We were reasonably happy with our apartment that we found a year ago.  It was small, clean and in reasonably good shape.  You can flush the tp down the toilet (instead of putting it in a trash can).  It had a washer, some furniture and was well located.
We bargained to have two more "kong tiao" put in.  Kong tiao are a kind of air conditioner/heater combo.  We had one in the living room but not in bedrooms.  In the month before the government turns the heat on, the kong tiao are life savers.  We also bargained for a bathtub to be put in and a few other things.
We have had a few issues with our landlord- refusal to fix things and so on.  But as a whole, the apartment has been fine.
However, it had one drawback which was that it was so tiny that it was hard to have people over.  The living room and dining room were all the same and it got crowded when we had people over.  So we decided to look for a new apartment.
So how do you find an apartment in China?  Well, you get on your bike and start looking for phone numbers posted in windows of apartments.  You ask your friends to look for phone numbers.  Then you start calling up phone numbers and looking at apartments.
We knew where we wanted to live (same complex, different 区。) We found three phone numbers and called them up.  Apartment number one- very nice apartment, very nice landlord, way too expensive.  Apartment number 2- great floor plan, very dirty, pornography on the walls and on the first floor.  When we walked out, men were  smoking outside what would have been Elisabeth's bedroom window.  No way.
Apartment number 3- this was the one.  Reasonable rent, really nice landlord, apartment in great shape with nothing too gaudy ib decorations.  The apartment is sixth floor like ours is now and we have private roof access!  We can garden and barbeque!
So how do you move in China?  Well, first you have to get boxes.  This isn't easy as box collecting is a way many people make money.  So boxes outside of a grocery store are usually picked up by someone and taken to be sold or recycled for money.  Somehow Paul knew someone who collected boxes and he went and bought boxes off of them.  Then our friends came and hauled stuff up and down six flight of stairs and we transported it by bike, bike trailer and foot!  Our language school found movers for us who came and moved the rest of the stuff.  We had to pay extra for them hauling stuff up  and down six flights of stairs.
One thing that is interesting in China is that there is no obligation to clean your apartment when you move or for the landlord to have it cleaned.  So we had to clean before we moved.  It wasn't that bad when we looked at it but once we started cleaning, oh my!  We are cleaning our apartment that we are moving out of because we believe that is a good witness and just a decent thing to do.
One other thing is that you pay rent by the year and you pay in cash! That means we go to the ATM every day for about a week, taking out the maximum amount until we have enough to pay for the year.
So- that's about it.  We love our new place, can't wait to have people over!

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