Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Simpsons Avatars

OK so this has absolutely nothing to do with Shanghai apart from starting with the letter "S" but I found this on someone else's blog yesterday and had to share. Even if you don't watch the Simpsons it's a whole lot of fun.

Go to http://www.simpsonsmovie.com/main.html and create your own Simpsons avatar to look just like you!

Here is mine, hehe.

Super Landlord! Speedy service.

Well, yesterday my amazing landlord was at it again.

He called me to say he'd be over to pick up the water bill and pay it for me. I didn't even know it had arrived in the mail but lo and behold - there it was. He went and paid it then came back with the receipt and collected the money off me. I even wanted to round it up but he wouldn't accept even a cent more.

While he was here I told him the air conditioner was not behaving and he called someone to come and fix it. Within 10 minutes someone was here to fix the air conditioner and now it's working great. So great it feels a lot colder and stronger than before. I had it on 18-19º before but now it's on 21-22º.

I am still sick. I think I am getting better but my insomnia is really taking a toll on things. I just can't fall asleep so I'm getting maybe 3-4 hours a night for the past 3-4 nights. ARGH!


Yay! Zoidberg has (more) friends. Clustrmaps visitors:

* Central USA somewhere
* Indonesia?
* Melbourne, Australia

Monday, 2 July 2007

Where are all these people coming from?

I'm amazed! I have not submitted this blog to any search engines or any RSS or blogfeeds. I have only told about 5 people about this blog.

Now I have visitors from:

* 3 places in the USA - LA, Texas, and Florida?
* South America - Chile?
* Spain
* France and various places in Europe (too hard to pinpoint exactly where)
* Middle East
* Malaysia or Singapore
* Japan
* Sydney, Australia

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Service and Delivery in China

Service and Delivery in China = fast and cheap/free
Service and Delivery in Australia = slow and expensive.

Mike and I are both amazed at how fast things are here in terms of service and delivery!

* We applied to have internet installed on a Friday afternoon. On Sunday morning someone came around with the modem and everything and installed it for us - free of charge! In Australia we'd have to wait about 2 weeks and wait for them to send you the modem in the mail.

* We applied to have cable/satellite tv installed and called at about 2pm in the afternoon. At 6:30pm they were at our place installing it. In Australia it'd probably take a week or so and they'd probably be slow as.

* We had a problem with our plumbing, specifically the kitchen sink would not drain. We called our landlord who called a plumber who was here within an hour. Fixed it, and left. In Australia - probably a week's wait and then be told they couldn't fix it and we'd need someone else to come out a week later to finish off the job.

* I buy Chinese herbal medicine from my doctor. They cook it for me and deliver it to me the same day for 10 RMB (about $1.50).

Delivery for almost anything is free or very inexpensive and they come to your house to do it all! which brings me to my next point.

Our Landlord

One of the nicest people I have met in Shanghai. He gave us a discount for paying our rent in 3-monthly installments instead of the usual monthly arrangement. He arranged to have furniture and appliances in another apartment swapped with those in ours. He installed a special laundry drying rack (which can be lowered) on our balcony free of charge. When I asked him where to go to pay our bills - he just took them off me and went and paid them for me! I couldn't believe that someone could be so nice. Also, he has the same accent and similar voice as my grandfather and when he spoke to me on the phone for the first time and called my name I freaked out! I thought it was my grandfather calling me!

... which brings me to my next point. The air conditioner in our living room still isn't working properly. I've set it to the lowest temp. of 16º and it's cool if you stand right underneath it, but I'm about 2-3m away from it and I've been sweating all afternoon. It feels more like a fan, a fan that is churning hot air around rather than nice cool air you are supposed to get with A/C so tomorrow morning I'm giving our landlord a call! Humph.

"I'm melting, I'm melting..."

World cities - Cost of living survey 2007 - Richest Cities - Quality of living - Mercer Human Resource

Was interested in some statistics so did little searching 2 days ago.

These results are from a Mercer Human Resource survey conducted in March 2007.

Cost of Living

1 Moscow Russia
2 London United Kingdom
3 Seoul South Korea
4 Tokyo Japan
5 Hong Kong China
6 Copenhagen Denmark
7 Geneva Switzerland
8 Osaka Japan
9 Zurich Switzerland
10 Oslo Norway
11 Milan Italy
12 St Petersburg Russia
13 Paris France
14 Singapore Singapore
15 New York City USA
16 Dublin Ireland
17 Tel Aviv Israel
18 Rome Italy
19 Vienna Austria
20 Beijing China
21 Sydney Australia
22 Helsinki Finland
23 Stockholm Sweden
24 Douala Cameroon
25 Amsterdam Netherlands
=26 Madrid Spain
=26 Shanghai China
28 Kiev Ukraine
29 Athens Greece
30 Almaty Kazakhstan
=31 Barcelona Spain
=31 Bratislava Slovak Republic
33 Dakar Senegal
34 Dubai United Arab Emirates
35 Abidjan Côte d'Ivorie
36 Glasgow UK
37 Lagos Nigeria
38 istanbul Turkey
39 Munich Germany
40 Frankfurt Germany
41 Birmingham UK
42 Los Angeles USA
43 Luxembourg Luxembourg
44 Brussels Belgium
=45 Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
=45 Berlin Germany
=45 Düsseldorf Germany
48 Taipei Taiwan
49 Prague Czech Republic
50 Algiers Algeria

World's Richest Cities
(interesting to note the majority of these cities are either capital cities or the most or second most populated cities in each country - highlighted in bold).

Rank Cities Wage Index
1 Zurich 124.2
2 Geneva 115.4
3 Oslo 110.8
4 Dublin 104.6
5 New York 100.0
6 Luxembourg 98.1
7 Los Angeles 97.0
8 London 96.0
9 Copenhagen 95.7
10 Chicago 94.7
11 Helsinki 89.1
12 Tokyo 87.4
13 Frankfurt 85.5
14 Munich 84.5
15 Berlin 82.1
16 Vienna 81.2
17 Toronto 80.4
18 Sydney 79.6
19 Brussels 78.2
20 Montreal 77.3
21 Stockholm 77.0
22 Miami 74.0
23 Auckland 73.4
24 Amsterdam 72.7
25 Lyon 70.5
26 Nicosia 69.5
27 Paris 68.8
28 Barcelona 66.6
29 Madrid 64.3
30 Milan 59.9
31 Dubai 57.8
32 Rome 49.7
33 Athens 48.6
34 Seoul 48.2
35 Taipei 43.3
36 Singapore 38.9
37 Lisbon 38.6
38 Johannesburg 37.3
39 Manama 36.6
40 Hong Kong 34.9
41 Sao Paulo 29.0
42 Ljubljana 28.3
43 Istanbul 25.9
44 Prague 25.8
45 Moscow 25.4
46 Santiago de Chile 24.3
47 Tallinn 22.1
48 Rio de Janeiro 21.2
49 Budapest 20.0
50 Bratislava 18.7
51 Caracas 18.7
52 Warsaw 18.4
53 Buenos Aires 18.0
54 Lima 15.8
55 Kuala 15.7
56 Vilnius 15.4
57 Riga 15.3
58 Bucharest 13.2
59 Shanghai 13.1
60 Bogotá 13.0
61 Kiev 11.6
62 Nairobi 11.1
63 Mexico 10.9
64 Beijing 10.9
65 Bangkok 10.9
66 Sofia 10.2
67 Mumbai 8.7
68 Jakarta 8.2
69 Manila 7.8
70 Delhi 7.8

Quality of Living

Base City: New York, USA (=100)
Rank 2007 City Country Index 2007
1 ZURICH Switzerland 108.1
2 GENEVA Switzerland 108.0
3 VANCOUVER Canada 107.7
4 VIENNA Austria 107.7
5 AUCKLAND New Zealand 107.3
6 DUSSELDORF Germany 107.3
7 FRANKFURT Germany 107.1
8 MUNICH Germany 106.9
9 BERN Switzerland 106.5
9 SYDNEY Australia 106.5
11 COPENHAGEN Denmark 106.2
12 WELLINGTON New Zealand 105.8
13 AMSTERDAM The Netherlands 105.7
14 BRUSSELS Belgium 105.6
15 TORONTO Canada 105.4
16 BERLIN Germany 105.1
17 MELBOURNE Australia 105.0
18 LUXEMBOURG Luxembourg 104.8
18 OTTAWA Canada 104.8
20 STOCKHOLM Sweden 104.7
21 PERTH Australia 104.5
22 MONTREAL Canada 104.3
23 NURNBERG Germany 104.2
24 CALGARY Canada 103.6
24 HAMBURG Germany 103.6
26 OSLO Norway 103.5
27 DUBLIN Ireland 103.3
27 HONOLULU, HI United States 103.3
29 SAN FRANCISCO, CA United States 103.2
30 ADELAIDE Australia 103.1
30 HELSINKI Finland 103.1
32 BRISBANE Australia 102.8
33 PARIS France 102.7
34 SINGAPORE Singapore 102.5
35 TOKYO Japan 102.3
36 LYON France 101.9
36 BOSTON, MA United States 101.9
38 YOKOHAMA Japan 101.7
39 LONDON United Kingdom 101.2
40 KOBE Japan 101.0
41 BARCELONA Spain 100.6
42 MADRID Spain 100.5
42 OSAKA Japan 99.6
44 WASHINGTON, DC United States 100.4
44 CHICAGO, IL United States 100.4
46 PORTLAND, OR United States 100.3
47 LISBON Portugal 100.1
48 NEW YORK CITY, NY United States 100.0
49 MILAN Italy 99.9
49 SEATTLE, WA United States 99.9


The findings are of no surprise to me because I've always thought that:
* Sydney was an expensive place to live! (it is the 21st most expensive city to live in).
* Sydney is a better place to live in than Melbourne ;) (9th vs 17th in quality of life survey)
* The quality of life in Asia isn't so great except for Japan (close, Singapore did well too in the quality of life survey)
* Hawaii is the place for me! (27th in quality of life survey)
* The most desirable places are also the richest places, and these are mostly in the northern hemisphere and freezing in winter! I mean, look at that last list. Hardly any of those places are in warm climates. Hmm...

I was shocked to find, though, that:
* The cost of living was high in Shanghai
* The cost of living in Shanghai was higher than that of Taipei
* The cost of living in Moscow, St Petersburg and Seoul was so high
* Sydney and Auckland are so rich
* Taipei and Singapore are richer than Hong Kong
* Shanghai is richer than Beijing, but the cost of living is higher in Beijing than in Shanghai

Sick of being sick!

Just when I was starting to enjoy my time in Shanghai and only 1 month after I was sick, I am sick. Again. UGH. On top of that the air conditioning in our living room does not seem to be working properly and I'm sweating! Just fan-bloody-tastic.