Ruth bought an old used beater bike, with a basket. She uses it for her local grocery shopping jaunts. But other than the bike, we had no wheels. Two of us can't ride the bike nor go very far on it. We can use public transportation but it's slow. For example, to get to one of our favorite shopping places, a bus ride is 40 minutes. On a moped it's 15. Often our destination is not near a bus stop so that would mean another 15 minutes of walking after taking the bus. Mopeds are king.
So this past week I bought a used "electric bike," two helmets, a heavy duty lock, and a small trunk for the back.
Now we fit right in here. That is, except for the helmets, few Chinese use them. But they do come in handy. The other day a guy on a speeding moped ran into me. He and his bike fell over and his eight boxes tumbled after him. So I wear the helmet not because I'm a bad driver but because the other people are.
We also found a great apartment. For less than what we were paying in the states we found a place three times larger and overlooking a garden. The place is so big we can fit a sectional couch, a ping pong table, a pool table, and still have room for a car. I kid you not. It's huge. It is 1,431 square feet of space. That's about the size of our old house on Castle Lane. Yikes!
Actually the place was very expensive at first. We really didn't want to look at it because it was beyond of our price range. But after meeting the landlord, they discounted the apartment by 20%. They really like Americans. Both the husband and wife have been to America and know that we keep our places neat and clean. Also, we don't cook with a wok. It's rare to find a Chinese landlord that has been to America. Most feel we are loaded and can afford apartments at any price. One landlord was asking $581/mo for an 860 square foot apartment. That's insanity. Most go for $300/mo.
But our apartment is brand new, has three bedrooms, two baths, and two balconies. It faces south so in the winter it will get plenty of sun. No China apartment buildings here are heated. They can actually be colder inside than the outside temperature. So a south facing apartment is important.
Perhaps we'll be able to move in this week.
The next step is to buy the stuff we need to furnish it: bed, desk, fridge, nuker (microwave), etc. I guess we'll have to do some shopping. It's really crazy though. After selling all our stuff in the states we don't want to buy anything. So besides the necessities, the place might look like a parking garage, sans the cars.
Of course, negotiating all of this would not be possible within a week if it were not for our helpful friends. They have been awesome.
So other than the new bicycle, electric bike, apartment and a moped crash, nothing much has really happened this week.
I've kept a diary since birth. The first entry says: "Still tired after the move." - Stephen Wright