I used to be really good at knowing what time it was in various places in the world, but since moving to Shanghai I am totally lost!
I now have to retrain my ageing brain to understand the new offsets so I don't call my friends in other countries when they are in deep sleep! You'd thinks this was simple, but for some reason for me it isn't!
I think I have discovered Man's Hell here in Shanghai.
It comes in the form of the Shanghai Super Brand Mall. 10 Floors of pure shopping hell. The only positive thing is that the Pudong Apple Store is next door.
What made the trip even worse was that Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and other Christmas music was being played at the entrance! Bah Humbug!
Fortunately on this trip money was only spent on dinner, who knows what damage will get done when my wife makes a visit alone!
The last week has flown by and I have been left with little time to write about my experiences. But during last weekend my wife and I decided to view some apartments. In fact my wife had already been looking while I was working last week and wanted to show me a particular one that was within budget and also in the location that we wanted.
A meeting with owners and the letting agents was arranged and both my father-in-law and sister (who lives in Shanghai) wanted to also come along. We all met at the letting agent office and waited for the owners to arrive. Little did we know that the owners had advertised the apartment with various other letting agents and arrived on time for the meeting only to be told that they had just let the apartment out to somebody else! A huge heated discussion ensued, which involved everybody except my wife and I. This went on for at least 15 minutes, until I told my wife to simply ask the letting agents if they have other property to view.
We then spent the next few hours previewing property, most of which did not meet our requirements. I am not sure whether this was the letting agent trying it on or it's just the way things are here.
We eventually found a place that we simply loved and decided that we would sign a lease, the only catch is that the owners will not be moving out until December 21st. After about 30 minutes of what appeared to be negotiations on the phone, I thought we were getting closer to getting to signing a lease and relaxing for the rest of the day, but the apartment owners decided it was lunch time and asked to meet us back at the letting agents office at 3pm!
I didn't have a clue what was going on, my wife was not translating anything for me, so I just sat back with a very bemused look on my face.
After a bite to eat we returned to meet with the owners, I am not joking when I say there were 10 people in all in the room, all appeared to want to say something about the finer details of rent, contract etc etc. This 'discussion', that also appeared heated at times when on for nearly 1.5 hours when finally documents appeared and names were signed!
So, we now have placed a deposit on a nice 135m2 apartment located opposite the Longyang Road Station where there is not only a subway station but also the Shanghai Maglev Station that gets you to Shanghai Pudong Airport in 8 minutes at 430 km/h (268 mph). I'll be taking this next time I fly out of Pudong Airport!
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All I need now is a residence permit and I'm sorted!
Today was day 3 in the office and I am settling in well. I am slowly remembering all the new names of my colleagues along with their roles, most importantly I know the finance team as I got paid today…into a Chinese bank account! This leads into a story….
When trying to open any type of bank account in the UK you have jump through hoops providing original utility bills for proof of address, photo ID etc etc. Here in China the rules are a little more relaxed. My wife went to the Bank of China with my passport and the bank opened the account in my name after calling me on the phone and asking me for the room number of the hotel I was staying in! They then went on to give my wife a Debit Card and it's PIN number…..guess what, I don't have another 4 digit pin to remember, in China they are 6 digits!