What are my first impressions? I think China is much more modern and advanced than we might think back home in the UK. To be honest, having visited the former Soviet Union and in particular Ukraine, I was expecting a certain amount of 'Soviet Shabbiness", serried rows of crumbling brutal Stalinist type flats and everything a bit ramshackled. Shops with not a lot in them, obvious poverty.
What I have seen so far seems to be far from that reality. There seems to be lots of building of attractive, flats and office buildings, the roads are wide attractive avenues, busy with cars, bikes and buses. Nanjing City (of which more in the next blog) is modern and thriving. All of the major capitalist business from McDonald's, KFC, Starbucks, to Vesarce, Dior and so on have got big stores, the American fast food outlets are ubiquitous. And they are all busy.
The metro is modern, clean, fast and cheap, the buses are regular and cheap, one buys a card, like an Oyster and use that everywhere.
The proviso here, of course, is that Nanjing is a former capital and is prosperous and China is a huge country and there are millions of peasants out in the outlands, it will be interesting to compare life in the City with that in the Countryside, but I know from my reading that China is experiencing a rapid urbanisation, so we need to keep that in mind.
So back to me and my flat. I'm on the 6th (top) floor - the penthouse obviously...
This is the entrance
There are five or six similar blocks on the plot all within a gated plot with security at the front. Access is via swipe card.
This is the sitting/dining room
This is the view from the dining room to the bedroom
And this is the bathroom...
with nice shower...
Now please join me in my bedroom (no not you @wifeinthebin)
And this is the view from the window...
Can you just see the pagoda through that little gap in the tree? Apparently its a nice walk up to it for a great view
So that's the trip around my gaff/crib etc. It comes with air con and heating and a telephone, cable TV (1 English news channel from china and a film channel and about another 75 Chinese channels showing everything from Beijing Opera (surreal) to shopping channels selling the usual tat). This is all rent and utility bill free. I have to pay for the water bottles.
Main problems so far. Well locking myself out on Saturday morning was a major problem. They hadn't mentioned that the door was self locking! So I took some rubbish to the bins and when I got back I was locked out. Locked out with no key, telephone, wallet or any idea what I should do. So I went down to the security guys one of whom came back to my flat, saw I need a key and went off. He came back shaking his head, no, no key. Arrrrgh what can I do? I asked the guard if he knew AJ? I had some vague notion that AJ lived in the same block of flats, but I couldn't really remember what with all that had happened at the seminar and all. AJ? The Guard asked. Yes AJ I said. Ah yes AJ. He took me to his flat on the 5th Floor. His wife was in, Soon we had contacted Richard my college liaison guy and an hour later he was here with a key. Stupid huh?
I'm about a 20 minute walk from the nearest big supermarket type shop, although there are some nearby, it seems I might be in an opticians, hairdressers, double glazing window area because that's what they seem to be. Theres two small restaurants and a chemist advertising Viagra.
The flats pretty comfortable and Ive settled in, bought all the bits and pieces I need from the local supermarket with no real problems. Its very humid outside and the external temperature is over 80c so the AC is a blessing.