Monday, January 22, 2007

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We're leaving Zhongshan Park!

Because Jodi is unhinged, jobwise, and because it will cut my commute by an hour a day, and because we want a long-term rental where we can raise the kid for at least a couple years, and because we want to try something new, we're moving... to Pudong. Century Park to be specific. We just paid the down-payment tonight, and I'm going to be taking out max daily credit-card cash advances (ATM problems, grr) for the next few days to pull together the first three months plus security deposit plus real-estate agent fee to be delivered next Saturday. RMB 3000 a month, 2 bedrooms 1 living room 1 bathroom, for the curious; on the upper end of the cheap.

We found a nice place less than a ten minute walk from the Century Park metro station, and about fifteen minutes from Century Park itself. It is only two stops from the metro station that serves my school, and should I choose to slum it—and up the commute time once again—there is a bus I can take from down the street directly to the school itself. The house is government-built, a 动迁房 given to people who have been displaced by one or another city project: think World Expo 2010, expressway or future metro line. Being ever the bargainers, these people got a big cash settlement as part of the deal as well, so they bought yet another house (and claim to have five or six houses within the semi-extended, one-child-hobbled-family) and are renting out the newly built in 2006 and freshly 装修'ed government gift home to us. Another woman from Beijing was willing to rent the place but the landlord has the impression that "foreigners will keep the place clean and in good condition" so we won out in the end. Actually he's a really nice guy who bought a buncha furniture for us to make the place more homey; only bad thing is, most of it is that big, wooden furniture you see in traditional Chinese houses. Cushions make you warm in winter, baring it makes you cool in the summer, they say; but forget that, when we get our own place it's gonna have plush loveseats and couches that you can sink down into, warm Shanghai summers or not.

Other nice things about this place:

  • Not so much readily available food as Zhongshan Park, but there was a 豆花 tofu "flan/pudding" cart outside exit 2 these last two days. He'll dump in extra sugar if you smile. There are also trucks parked along the side of the street selling cheap fruit.
  • There's a public preschool next door, "6-1 Kindergarden", named after the date of Children's Day. The playground is open to everybody on the weekends. Jodi will look into it for work possibilities.
  • The living room light has red and blue LEDs that flash in patterns. The landlord said it's "beautiful". I withhelf judgement.
  • A Metro supermarket within walking distance (the one at Longyang Road).
  • It's close enough to work that I can make a trip over to the veggie market after school, carry the groceries home on the metro and get there early enough to make dinner.

The plan is to sign the contract and begin moving in next Saturday, finishing the job off on Sunday and perhaps over the next week before we head home to Hunan for the Chinese New Year. One of Jodi's cousins is getting married, and believe-it-or-not this will be my first Chinese wedding besides my own. Plus fireworks, homemade-Hunanese food and all that a CNY trip to the heartland entails; I'm looking forward to it.

(Oh, and if you're thinking of renting a place in Zhongshan Park, see our ad on Shanghai Expat.)

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