02 October, 2006

Sometimes this place drives me nuts

Things operate very differently over on this side of the world...especially when it comes to money, paying bills and buying items with "credit."

My apartment is not a "serviced apartment." A serviced apartment is basically like a hotel...everything included in your night's stay (or year's stay)...electric, water, cleaning, internet, phone, etc.... These items are included in my rent (for the most part), but I have to take care of paying for some of them on my own. Power, gas & water were the only ones I was aware of, until today.

My phone has been turned off for about a week now...yesterday, the internet went. The only way I can fix these things are by calling my agent from CBRE (real estate company). William has to take care of these things for me, since he is the middle-man. He's been "working on" the phone issue for about a week now...no progress. Today I called him and basically snapped. I'm kind of fed up with no one telling me how to get things done around here. So, today he tells me my internet is turned off because I haven't paid my phone bill...weird, I don't have a DSL modem. To fix this problem, I have to go to a bank, any bank, and tell them I want to pay. Great, easy enough...well, its "October holiday" here, banks are closed until Thursday. WONDERFUL.

So, here I am back in SPR coffee using the free wireless.

Not all was lost though...as I was out today looking for a bank to fix my communication issues, some random guy started talking to me. I wasn't really in a mood, but I gave him a chance. Usually these random people only want one of two things...1) practice their English or 2) sell you something. Turns out, he's an art professor at a university here in Beijing. He's also quite an accomplished artist. (OK, he wanted to sell me something, but he was a nice guy.)

He asked me if I wanted to see his work...OK, why not, maybe it will cheer me up. So, we wandered back into an alley and into his little studio. It was awesome! Mostly portraits. This guy is really a talented artist.

I'm not that into art, but I decided to buy one of his pieces. So, here's a pic of my first piece of art purchased in China. I'll write up an explanation about it another time.


Dave said...

Sorry to hear about your phone and internet problems. I looked at my calendar yesterday and it listed Chinese National Holiday for Oct. 2 and I thought about you, I guess it's bad timing on your part. Maybe you can do whatever the locals do on this extended holiday, whatever that is.

As for this "artist", I think he wanted more than your money (ha, ha!).

manninchina said...

Dave...the holiday here is basically all about moon cakes (gifts) and spending time with family. Many of the Chinese who aren't from Beijing head back to where they are from, to see their families...especially the single girls.

heather said...

Mike...you must have had "sucker" tattoed to your forehead that day.