Chinese joke: What in China, has four legs but isn’t considered edible?: A table. I have no examples that I’ve personally experienced yet. But I like the title of the post so there had to be some congruency.
Yesterday, after work, I went with my agent to meet the daughter of the man who owns the apartment which I seek to rent. I’ve been sweating bullets all week because the wire transfer I thought I had initiated last week never happened. Don’t you hate two-stage confirmations on a webpage? I failed to scroll down after hitting the “submit” button to another one and as a result, I lost about three days as I blithely assumed all was well. To meet this lady, we had to go to the subway station across the street from my incipient, new place. The subway, Line 15, was built last year. All of the stations and the subway cars are ultra-modern and immaculate! Talking about the subway system here is worth its own post and I will write at length about it soon. Compared to subways in America, well, you can’t, really. All that I’ve ridden are clean, completely functional (no broken escalators/elevators- I’m looking at you, BART!) and not populated with panhandlers and the homeless, of which, I’ve seen a few around town. In a city of 21 million, there must be plenty, but in a typical day, I may see one or two and I’m not under-exaggerating.
The “real” wire transfer is now in progress ( or so I think, as I write this). Somehow my agent was able to convey my sincerity in renting the apartment and despite the usual procedures, the paperwork was drawn up and signed, with the understanding that I have one week to show them the money. Apparently, “good looks” does go a long way. The apartment I’m renting at Sequoia Apartments is held in high esteem by some of my colleagues. Lloyd, the man who is closest to my age, says they’re the nicest he’s seen in Beijing. Despite its appointments, as is typical of most apartments, there is no dryer, nor is there an oven. Both of which I, and most Americans, consider “basic.” It’s also small by comparison back home but again, that’s just the way things are, here in Beijing. With the number of people here, large apartments and single-family homes are the ultimate luxury.
I expect to move in between Tuesday and Thursday. Then, I will post lot of pictures to entice anyone who is interested in coming here. Visiting Beijing and not staying in a hotel, requires a “letter of invitation” and not by me. The landlord has to write one and upon arrival, you have to take it to the local police station and register within 24 hours of your arrival. My agent says that most landlords write a generic letter and then copied for repeat use. OK, some things back home are better than here.
Today, Sunday, at 5pm, the EF office is closing and as I mentioned, in a previous post, we’re off to the far-reaches of Beijing for “team building” today and tomorrow. Wow! Fresh air. What a concept! Having said that, the sky outside my window, as I write this, is the bluest I’ve seen since arriving here. The sky reminds me of the SF bay on most days when the sun shines. I expect to be out of communication until Monday night, so those who hang on my every word will have to endure.