Let’s try this again

Ok, I’m kinda miffed at Microsoft. I typed up a looong first blog entry, and right before I was about to post it, I thought I’d throw in a picture, just for fun. Well, that caused an ActiveX control to be installed. Of course that was with my permission, but I forgot that that would cause the page to reload after installation, and the page load would cause my unsaved post to be lost. Ugh. Why can’t they save a draft when I click the uplaod pictures button? Double ugh.
So I’ve been in Beijing since May 18. I’m staying in a serviced apartment. It’s generally very nice (nice full kitchen–rare), but like many things here, they miss on some details. For example, the carpet, while somewhat fancy, is completely stained. For the fortune that this place charges, they could probably recarpet my room for one night’s rate. Pictures attached. The city pictures are from my room (limited angle view, and away form the heart of the city). [Hmmm, I don’t like that I can’t seem to have pictures inline with the blog. I don’t like that. I may have to manually edit html to see if that works. Maybe will try playing with that later.]
I’ve had to call the front desk for help many times. For starters, there’s a 110V plug in the bathroom for bathroom devices (like a shaver) that has the US-style 2 prong outlet (normal in China is a 3 prong 220V outlet that’s shaped completely differently). Since I brought an electric shaver, I immediately tried this out, and found that it simply didn’t work. (This was also the case in our hotel during our visit.) When I called down, they sent a maintenance person up, who of course didn’t speak a word of English. After demonstrat/C problemsing the problem, we both tried to communicate by vainly hoping the other person would magically understand our language. After no such luck, we called the front desk to translate. The maintenance guy said that I needed a converter. I knew that wasn’t true, because my plug did fit, and the outlet said 110V right on it, but part of surviving in China is going with the flow, so I said whatever, sure, get me a converter, which he did. But of course the converter wouldn’t plug into that outlet since it had the Chinese-style plug. So in the end I failed to be able to plug in my shaver in the bathroom, but since it’s cordless and I just need to plug it in to recharge, it doesn’t really matter where I plug it in.
The there’s the A/C. First, I have it, which is good. It’s getting pretty hot in Beijing. I actually don’t mind it so much, because it’s not too humid (yet). I’ve had (have–neither has been fixed) two A/C problems. 1) The A/C in my bedroom will just shut off when it feels like it. It’s really annoying waking up in a hot sweat (I have a warm comforter and go to bed with the room cool) early in the morning and then not be able ot go back to sleep. My solution is to leave my bedroom door open and crank the A/C in the living room. Problem 2) The actual A/C is not central A/C. That would be far too easy. It’s individual units per room. This is how it is virtually eve a bunch, ryone except the newest office buildings. Anyway, so I have a condensor or whatever attached to the outside of my wall, and the rattles like crazy when it’s on (which is always). It makes a loud resonating sound that fills the apartment. It’s incredibly annoying. We’ll see if it’s fixed when I get back from Shanghai, where I’ve been for the last 3 days (more on that later). We’ll see. I tend to doubt it.
The apartment does have two nice things downstairs: a bakery that makes good bread, and a (very) small grocery mart that has things like peanut butter and spaghetti. 🙂 I like to explore the restaurants, but sometimes I don’t feel like it, so it’s nice to be able to make a nice PB&J sometimes.
Gotta split. Check out time.

About Curt Carpenter

Father of 2, development manager at Microsoft, boardgamer.
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