Monday, 31 August 2009

First week

Well, I'd got a full posting typed up and put on my USB stick - then forgot to take it out of 2007 format, which this Internet cafe PC can't read yet, so here we go again (and rather cross as well - what a waste of time!)

Here's the view down the street from just outside our front door

And here's the other direction, including our door - on the far left, under the number '30'.

This is inside our room from window to door

And the beds. At first we had no mattresses and spent Friday to Monday nights on the hard bed bottom just 'softened' by a double up quilt. Given that it's nearing 40C here most days, the quilts are the thickness of 2 sheets and a blanket. On Tuesday we went to get some of the one inch thick mattresses that we can use later for something else - when we get a place to live. Here is great as a stop gap as it's clean and has all the machinery we need. Only missing a kitchen and I'm really looking forward to having one again - esp. after seeing what was available at the Carrefour...

Our room is at the end of this corridor and you can see the shoerack here and the fridge at the end.

Opposite that is the utility area

And next to that, the bathroom

Yes, you're seeing correctly, there is no shower tray or curtain. The floors are actually slightly bowl shaped (which you can only see when there's water down there to show it up), so the water drains off through an outlet in the floor just under the washbasin and, as long as you're careful with the direction of the shower spray, the loo keeps dry too. Our new flatmates are liberal sprinklers though... Two Indonesian bros have just moved in for 10 days - father and son. Dad is here to see his son well settled at National Taiwan University for 2 years.

We're all registered at the big Mandarin Training Center (MTC), which cleaned us out of cash!! We knew we could only take out 500 quid per day (no pound sign here!!), but we didn't realise there was a weekly limit of a grand! So, given that the MTC took 900 off us, that left us with a tight week! We remembered the 160 Euros that Sir had put in and that changed to NT$7411 and meant we could pay our NT$7500 rent for the month we've to pay for in this temp place. So, that worked out well. We can get some more cash tomorrow, thank goodness! Of course, bros have offered to lend us money, but we'd rather manage without. We'll have to borrow about 12 pounds worth of NT$ to pay the customs duties on our boxes which should finally be with us in the next day or so. Negotiating a mutually acceptable level of duty has been quite something - esp. when your communications are limited - ie limited e-mail access etc. Looking forward to getting our books and so on back. Even my ministry bag is in there!

Speaking of which, Martin went on the magazine work with the local cong (ie local to where we are staying now, but probably not where we'll stay) on Saturday, but it was just too hot for me. I've been wilting badly in this heat.

We went to Rosie's on Saturday night and here she is with her two former flatmates (she's moving today), Kathleen and Rie (Leah) and another Japanese couple who were visiting Rie - Kengo and Aiya.

We haven't found a place to live long-term yet and have looked at 6 already. Martin is just making appointments for some more viewings this evening, so hopefully something suitable will come up in that lot. Standards are somewhat lower here than in the West, and I think folk are expected to pick the place up themselves rather than have it good when they move in, but we want to avoid anything but a good clean and a lick of paint to cheer up the ubiquitous white walls!!

I'll leave you with a night photo of the local landmark - Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. Looks more like a UFO than a pagoda here, no?=)

CKS Mem. Hall - Flying Saucer!

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