First day flat hunting!

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August 11th 2008
Published: August 11th 2008
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So we had an early night last night (or normal one at least) but once again we have only just got William to bed and Sophie and Ian are just writing their journals together while I write this. We slept in a bit this morning, then sorted a load of admin out this morning, arranging appointments to view flats. We had a walk at lunchtime and tried some dumplings as demanded by sophie as "Po eats them in Kung Fu Panda", but funnily enough she didn't like them anyway!

Katherine our contact from school came and collected us with a real estate agent this afternoon to go and look at flats. It is a bit difficult as she is not from Shanghai and lives at school, so is not very familiar with the area. As we were driving into the first complex, she showed us the school (which is pink, to Sophie's pleasure!). This flat is probably my favourite so far, although I would have preferred it to be on higher than the 2nd floor, but it was nicely decorated and had good furniture. Sadly it only has 2 bedrooms, but we may have to accept that, but was only 6500RMB/mth (equivalent about £490). It had good gardens with some play areas. The second one was good too, but was very orange! This one turns out to be william's favourite! Interestingly, as we were driving out of the complex, we spied the school but Katherine didn't even realise! We then discussed the fact that we would like to live closer into town really. The metro does not run out here and as we won't be having a car, he needs to be near the metro really, and it would be better for us to see our friends and go sightseeing. So we went looking on Hong Mei Lu (Lu means road) and went in this amazing complex with a free golf course, tennis courts and swimming pool. However, when we went into the apartment on 2nd floor, it was not great. It needed a really good clean and some bits mending. Still only 2 beds but 8000RMB/mth. We were then shown one up ont 8th floor, which actually had 3 beds, so the space was good, but it was really in bad condition and that block was being renovated.

After this, we went to meet an agent we had found in a free paper to look at a place on Nan Jing Dong (Nan Jing Rd East), which is right in the centre of the city. Amazing location and 3 beds for only 7500RMB/mth. However (big however!!!) it was about 10 mins walk from the metro station and the walk was a manic one at that.....very busy. Also, the flat was on 20th floor!!!!! Absolutely wonderful views of the Pearl TV Tower and overlooking the river, but the windows opened and there was no protection or anything. As those of you who know me can imagine, going on the balcony was not easy and when the kids went out there I nearly had heart failure!! It had great space and great furniture, even compared to the next one we saw on the 27th floor(!!) but we agreed it is too far from here with a family. A bit like living in central London and fighting the tube every day. This became especially clear when I was going into a packed train carrying a very tired william and my foot went down the gap between the train and the platform! Luckily in a way the train was so packed as some kind Chinese people caught me, but it shook us up a bit and I am nursing sore toes!

Anyway, we are seeing some more tomorrow as we are being picked up at 10am to go looking at flats in the area near Line 2 of the metro, near where our friends live and there are some more western shops and cafes. We are all a bit disappointed as we want to move in quickly, and we had a call to say our boxes have arrived and they want to deliver.

It seems that tomorrow, Katherine is meeting the next of 29 new western teachers arriving!! So we are on our own tomorrow, but think it might be better as the agent we were with today we think was charging extra. We shall see and keep you all posted!!


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