Tuesday, September 16, 2003

House rent blues. Got into my "lucky number" apartment last night after an elaborate and expensive ritual. Had to shell out two months rent in advance, as well as the first month's rent to the bldg. owner. An additional half months rent went to the real estate agent who "found" it for me and the paper. Oddly, one bargains for the penality fee if the lease is broken. The owner wanted a full month's rent. I offered half and we settled on slightly more than half. Repairs were made, but the door knob on the second door into the apartment fell off in my hand as they were leaving. It was repaired shortly thereafter.
Did I mention that to turn on the hot water in the shower, you have to get the supply flowing from a device in the kitchen?
The matter of paying utilities and rent is a bit more complex than in the states. I have to set up two accounts in two different designated banks. One bank for utilities and one bank for the rent, from which the amounts will be withdrawn.
Phone service, which will not include long distance, is due to be installed in "17 days." I'll believe it when it happens. The cable TV works, though it's fuzzy. I was able to get an English language channel that showed a "Bridezilla" episode and then a faux Discovery Channel piece on the moons in our solar system.
I went out shopping for supplies after the rent closing ceremonies (during which I told the owner and agent that in the US it was customary for the apartment owner and real estate agent to buy ceremonial beers for the renter; they honored the "tradition." Heh)
Slept fitfully and arose early to find the hot water heater not working again and the air conditioning now dripping water all over the floor and a small sofa. Mopped up the mess, turned it off and will have to ask Mr. Tan to call the owner to get it repaired. Probably in "17" days. He's getting a little tired of being my babysitter and I'm getting a little frustrated at having to rely on him so much. I need to begin learning a basic vocabulary. He suggested at the closing that I find a "Chinese girlfriend" to pick up the duties. Not that I haven't thought of it...
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