Monday, 9 July 2007

Air conditioner part II

When we first started using it a few weeks ago it was around 18º. Then it was 22º, and now it's like 25-28º. And even at 28 I was feeling a little bit cold (but not cold enough to turn it off completely). I know it's not us or the air temperature, but when the guy came to 'fix' it, it went the other way and is now too strong! I suddenly started feeling very hot and didn't realise Mike had turned it up to 30º! D'oh!

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Our blocked bathtub drain and the Plumber

Well I had been putting off calling the plumber, miraculously hoping the situation would get better but alas it had been getting worse. Our bathtub takes about 4? hours to drain due to being very very blocked. And before you say that it's my hair, it's not. I don't often wash my hair and when I do I don't let it wash down the drain at all.

So anyway, I called for the plumber to come (thinking, you know, that he'd be here very soon) and so I waited, and waited... 4 hours later still no plumber so I called again. After I did it, the secretary was very apologetic and said that she'd call him again and whaddya know? He comes in literally 30 seconds!

It turns out it's a 'big' job and for that he says he'll have to charge me. Immediately my defences go up and I'm like, "What? But it's been like that ever since we first moved in! We were never charged for anything before..." the whole time thinking it's going to be some exhorbitant cost.

So I ask him how much it'll cost and he says 30RMB (less than $5). I'm thinking, "Oh, is that all. OK go ahead, do it, I'll pay you that." (LOL) so I say, "OK."

So I go back to the living room and after a few minutes he calls me, "小姐" (xiaojie/Miss) and asks me to help him. I have wind/turn this thing kinda like a handle, it's easy to do and I guess much easier with 2 people than with one. He pulls out the most disgusting thing. I took a photo but won't post it here in case you are reading this whilst eating ;) It's basically grey mucky 'gunk' with dust and fluff and hair.. except it's worse because it's all WET and filled with caked soapy stuff. EW EW EW!!!

OK so he finished the job relatively quickly and I go to get the money except that I don't have 30RMB. Only 100RMB notes or smaller change. So I offer him the 100RMB and he doesn't have any change for me and then says, "Oh, don't worry about it and just walks out the front door." Ha! How weird...

Metro City and Grand Gateway again

On the weekend I finally got better - Yay! All that drinking of garlic in hot water every day/night coupled with taking disgusting Chinese herbal medicine did wonders and 9 days later I finally got rid of this damn cold.

On Sunday I decided to venture out and Mike and I went to Metro City to get his Smiley Face red bean buns from Breadtalk.

After that, we had lunch in the food court in the basement of that mall. It was the first time both of us had been there. I had been in that building before when I was buying my laptop cooler, but not down to the food court. We were both pleasantly surprised. It is the same chain of food courts that we had already tried in Gubei Carrefour and Zhongshan Park, called "Megabite." You must purchase credit which is put onto a thick plastic card a bit like a credit card and use that to purchase your meals. Most meals cost about 18 RMB (Less than $3 Australian or US$2.50). However, we decided to try a Japanese restaurant inside the food court. I have been a lover of Japanese food since I was a young child and I can tell the difference between the authentic and non-authentic stuff. This place wasn't exactly 100% authentic, but nevertheless the decor was fab and the food looked even more fab!

We were not disappointed. The presentation of the food was amazing and it was delicious and came in fairly large portions. The decor of the restaurant was wonderful too, fitted out in a modern meets vintage style with mirrors and neutral colours like grey and camel, but with striking modern looking chandelier lights on the ceiling. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me but you weren't permitted to take photos there, or else I would have! The total cost came to under 60 RMB (or about $9 Australian).

After that, we went across the road (underground, via the subway. You cannot cross the huge fiveways intersection unless you want to be squashed flat) to Grand Gateway. I wanted to check out the supermarket with Mike.

Every expat talks about and goes to Carrefour in Gubei because it's one of the biggest supermarkets in Shanghai and also stocks most foreign goodies. However, after going there.. what.. 10 times?.. I am soooo sick of it and dying to see and 'try out' new supermarkets. Well I had been last time but didn't look at much and didn't stay long. This is Lianhua 联华.

We didn't bring with us a shopping list (oops) so we didn't end up getting a great deal since all the necessities (meat, fruit, veges) we like to buy fresh and our 'ayi' (maid/cleaner/cook/housekeeper, nanny too if you want) also buys them for us.

After that, Mike went off to play basketball with his work colleagues and I went home in the taxi with all our groceries - including the cool mug Mike found and bought for me!

Taxi etiquette - First to push in, first served

There is a queue right outside GG for the taxi but unfortunately, most people in China don't understand what a queue is. With this in mind. I've taken to becoming a "push-er in-er" too.

So anyway I see this middle aged well-dressed couple waiting in an orderly fashion so I queue up behind them. They get impatient and walk off... A taxi comes along and stops right in front me so I'm about to get in, then the couple come BACK and at first I think they are just another Chinese couple pushing in, then I realise it was the exact SAME couple so I thought should be nice to give it to them since they were waiting longer than me... Out of the taxi comes an American(?) businessman with all his luggage and he says something about the taxi waiting for him and then taking him to the airport. Noone knows what he is saying except me.. and I tell the couple in Chinese.. and they start saying あそうですか in Japanese. D'oh! OK so I'm still waiting patiently for this taxi and I see one coming up the driveway into the mall. Then this stupid girl out of nowhere comes out of the mall and the taxi stops in front of her! ARGH! Of course she wouldn't have the decency or politeness to give it to me. So I wait. Again (kinda getting fed up by this stage given I'm carrying heavy bags of groceries!) Well finally, after what seems like an eternity I get a taxi - Yippee!

While I was out and about I thought to myself, "Hey it isn't even that hot" (remembering the last time I was out in the same place) but then when I got home I was so exhausted and realised the heat had zapped my energy once again!

(PS - put up my Weather Pixie today).