Saturday, November 05, 2011

List of the Month - The Choices

The househunting has not been going well so far. In fact, I’ve been too busy with work and such this week to spend very much time looking. But the time I have invested has only served to make me more and more despondent about my prospects for finding something decent, more and more irritated with the flakiness of Chinese property agents and the graspingness of Chinese landlords, more and more disenchanted with the whole damn country.

My options appear to be these…

1)  Stay where I am (ah, inertia – dontcha hate it?!)

2)  Bolt back to England (or get the hell out of China, anyway)

3)   Plump for the courtyard place I saw yesterday

4) Plump for the nicer, more modern (more expensive!) place I saw this morning

5)   Stall, and spend another week looking

I fear it’s time to consult THE COIN again.


Anonymous said...

The Coin is how it should be done. If you're going to call upon other wordly forces to make your life choices, why overcomplicate it.

Three coins and a Zhouyi, positively ridiculous.

Long live the coin! It worked just fine for Harvey Dent and Anton Chigurh.

My money is on choice #5, but how does that work, is there a round robin tournament?

Personally, as someone who has enjoyed your writing for the last few years, I'd love to see a new and exciting location to pique your pen.... errr... typing fingers. You've pretty much been down on China since I've been visiting here, but these past few months, you seem downright sick of the place. Life is too short, seek greener pastures.... actually just listen to the coin.... it knows.... it knows...

Froog said...

My landlord has seen the error of his ways, and is caving in on his rent demand. However, I'm so annoyed with him, I'm rather inclined to dig in until he accepts a lower rent than I'm currently paying. I think it's possible. And I certainly think it's just.

I'm running out of time to pack (it took me TWO WEEKS last time!), so I am forcing myself to make the decision in the next day or two.

Being able to stay put without breaking the bank does a lot to relieve the anxiety of the past few weeks. The inertia option is the likely winner mainly because moving is such a drag.

I also feel I ought to look at a few more places before I make up my mind. Most of the things I've seen so far have been very disappointing, not really in contention at all. I don't feel I've seen a big enough spread of possibilities to get much sense of the market yet.

The likeliest new prospect appeals for its location, but it's quite a lot of money for what it is.

Dither, dither...

Froog said...

Letting agents can be particularly exasperating in this city, too. I sympathise with the difficult job they have to do, but...

There are still three properties I've been told about and that I'd like to see, but after three or four days I'm still waiting for an appointment to view.

And there's one agent that I've now had dealings with twice in the last few months (the last time, I was looking on behalf of a friend), and both times he has proven unable to show me ANY of the properties he's told me about! Poor guy - I don't think he can be making much of a living out of this.

moonrat said...


aaaaaaa the suspense!

Froog said...

My options may now be somewhat limited by the fact that I took a wodge of money out with me today to use as a (potential) deposit, and lost it somewhere... dropped out of my pocket.

Actually, rather more than would probably be required for a deposit. About 10% of my entire savings.

I should be quite bummed about it, but... worse things happen.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Froog sorry to hear that.

10% of your savings, you are taking it very well I must say.

Wish I lived in the Jing, I'd take you out for a few pints to help numb the sting.

stuart said...

Don't know how you can be so calm about losing that kind of money, Froog. So sorry this has happened. Some sort of delayed reaction pending?

If it will help bring your feelings to the surface, I would bet that your pockets were picked.

Fingers remain crossed that this episode will have a happy ending and it turns out that you've mislaid the funds somewhere in your apartment.

Froog said...

I think the bad reaction was immediate, Stuart. I felt very wobbly for a wee while. But then, you know, it's just money. I suppose I've never had enough of it to develop an addictive relationship with it.

And I am pretty sure it wasn't lifted. I suffered a couple of mobile phone thefts in my early days here, and have been super-alert to the danger of pickpocketing since then. I hadn't gone all that far, or had any close encounters with anybody, when I realised it was gone.

I may do a post about this in a day or two.

Really, in a way, I'm quite glad. It undoubtedly made somebody's day. I just hope they use it for good purposes.

Well, whatever they do with it, at least they're using it for something, putting it back into the economy. I tend to just hoard my money - the little that I've got - using it for nothing more psychological security, the reassurance that I could skip the country in a hurry if I ever need to... and survive somewhere for at least a few months before I start to find my feet again.

The Weeble said...

Oh, what an utter pisser. I agree that it was probably not a pickpocket -- pickpockets here are just not that good, and not really that thick on the ground outside the touristy areas.

On the other hand: you have savings? How?

Froog said...

Well, I keep a careful watch on my spending Weebs, and usually manage to live within my means - however slender they may be.

Actually, in the last two or three years it has been a real struggle to maintain that equilibrium state. And I haven't added substantially to my savings in six or seven years. Every time I manage to get 10k or 20k ahead, I blow it on a major purchase, or a bit of travel.

I was flat broke when I came here, but managed to scrape together 30 or 40k in my first year here by living extremely frugally. However, I spent every penny of that on a long summer break in the UK and the US, so was starting from scratch again in Year Two.

I worked like a dog for a while, accepting every job I could find, working some crazy hours. I wasn't actually making that much money (certainly not per hour!), but thanks to my very low-key social life (I hardly ever went out to foreigner bars back then; I got by entirely on chuanr and Yanjing), I managed to save nearly 10k almost every month for the next 18 months. That's been my 'safety net' ever since.

I figure it's enough money to live reasonably well for a year without working at all - something which might not be such a remote prospect! Not so very much of a safety net after all!

JES said...

Having read here for a while, I have to say the moment has seemed imminent for a while. It makes me think of the classic Snoopy-as-vulture Peanuts gag, e.g., here, among a gazillion other places. This post is like Linus looking up.

Froog said...

Ah, I haven't seen Peanuts for ages. I was a huge fan when I was a kid.

What particular moment was it that you saw lying in wait for me, JES?

JES said...

The moment I saw looming over you was: Decision Time.

When I was looking around for a good Snoopy/vulture image, I was bitterly disappointed not to find a complete strip (at least within the first page or so of Google Images results). The Schulz estate lawyers obviously are well-paid.

Froog said...

I feel sure there must be a number of great cartoons - from others if not from Schulz - on the theme of The Moment of Decision.

If I weren't still packing, I'd go and do a little Google. Maybe later.