Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Chinese Way

My landlord finally got around to trying to take care of the damp problem in my study (a water leak from one of the upstairs neighbours a couple of months ago has to led to an efflorescence of mould on my ceiling; and I find that I am severely allergic to the spores!).

He brought over a trio of ‘workmen’ last Friday morning (none of whom brought any tools, or really looked like workmen). They hummed and tutted for several minutes without actually doing anything. I grew impatient.

I had to go out househunting, so left them to get on with things – or not.

When I got back, I discovered that they had…. whitewashed over the mould, broken the chair they’d stood on to do this, and… stolen my lunch (some potato cakes I’d dabao’ed from the excellent Yunnan restaurant Yun’er the night before).

This is China.


John said...

Oh wow, it's like an episode of Cowboy Builders. Presumably the leak is still very much leaking... "maybe"?

The British Cowboy said...

I imagined you saying "This is China" in that wonderful BBC World Service accent they would use to announce the news "This is London."

Froog said...

BC, the usual mode of delivery (imagined, that is; I think this is something that is mostly only written rather than spoken) is a sort of faux-lighthearted worldweariness - flippancy masking the underlying exasperation and despair.

John, the leak was sorted out some weeks ago; but I am pretty sure the mould will sprout through again, since they haven't done anything to clean it up or kill it.

moonrat said...


Froog said...

It's cruel to mock the afflicted, Moonie.

stuart said...

Peter Carney, another Beijinger on my twitter list, is also experiencing the exasperation of apartment hunting:


Froog said...

Actually, overall, I've had a pretty good experience with agents. The frustrations this time have been mostly about things disappearing off the market very quickly, or addresses being hard to find, or landlords being nitpicky about stupid stuff or refusing to negotiate or just xenophobic about renting to foreigners.

I think you're asking for trouble if - as Peter seems to have done - you use the larger agencies, with flash websites. I've always just used small, one-man-band agents recommended to me by friends. They work hard, and they generally don't piss you about showing you stuff that's outside your price range or your preferred geographical area.