Thursday, April 24, 2008

Apartment Hunting


Today we went to the park across the street from the hotel. It looks like lots of people get their wedding photos taken at this park. We saw two different brides there this morning. Check out the really cooL tree of flowers.

Today we met Isabel who took us to many different apartment buildings. I'll try and summarize for you.

The first one was Yanlord Gardens - a huge complex - indoor and outdoor pool, gym with volleyball and tennis INSIDE, ping pong, a gym with machines and a dance floor where they have "dancing with the star-type dancing lessons".

The gardens are amazing. I really liked them a lot. However, it is not a service apartment which means it is owned by individual owners who will provide what you want. We wanted a 3 bedroom apartment that we could make one bedroom into a den/study/office. The kitchen at this one was okay - I did not like the furniture but Mike and Isabel said we can ask them to buy us something different. It is close to the subway and is in the NW portion of the city near the Renaissance Hotel we are staying in.

Then we went to the Garden Counsel and this one was dark and I didn't like it at all - there is a maid's room and all the furniture was Chinese.

The next place we went was Huntington Terrace. I liked this one a lot. It was cheaper than the others and it is a service apartment too - the plates and glasses are there for you. I wouldn't have to buy these. It is about 4,000 RMB cheaper than the others which means we could buy something else with that money. It is right next door to the flower market. It has a shuttle that takes you to the grocery stores and Wal Mart. I liked it - Mike didn't - it is far to the subway. I'd have to take a taxi there. It is closer to the zoo than where we are now. The rooms are bigger and the balcony is nice. The furniture is nice too. Kitchen is good.

Then we went to the Oriental Manhattan. This one had individual room air conditioners but it was close to everything and most everyone else who works for Westinghouse. It would take about 10 minutes to get to work for Mike. The others were maybe 20-30 minutes. Mr. Chen is a very good driver. He has been shuttling us around for the last 4 days and he has finally warmed up to us. He was talking about his little boy who is 4 and the Zoo.

The Oriental Manhattan all had 3 bedrooms but they were not as nice as the others. One thing about this complex is that it is close to St. Ignatius Cathedral but no one knew if it is even in operation. It is a legend and is one of the oldest Catholic churches in Asia. There are others but this was very close - you could see it from the balcony.

We saw 3 units here - all individually owned. The second one was fine - the man is from New York - he is managing it for his parents. Nice guy named James. Spoke excellent English. There was virtually no closets - only armoires. Not nearly enough space.

The last one was the Shama apartments and I LOVED IT. Unfortunately, the 3 bedrooms are very expensive and we'd have to pay $$$ out of pocket. It too is a service apartment - they provide housecleaning 6 days a week. The furnishings are beautiful and it is owned by Morgan Stanley. There are already 4 Westinghouse people living there. I WANT to live there TOO! Isabel is going to negotiate for us. The manager is very accommodating. It is a very new building - just finished in January/February. No pool but a nice gym and close to everything- subway, shopping, everything.

We'll just have to see how this plays out.

We are going with Ashlee again tomorrow to see the markets and the Bund along the river. Then we'll meet Isabel and go see one more apartment complex - La Cite. We expect to make a decision tomorrow night.

Tomorrow night, Friday, most of the Westinghouse crew will have dinner at Pete's Tex Mex. This is when I'll get to meet the wives I've talked with over the phone. A new family got here today with two little kids. Their apartment won't be ready until June so they are in a temporary apartment. It will be tough for them.

Well, it's late and I want to go to bed AND sleep all night. It would be so nice to sleep all night. The jet lag is killing me. . .

Until tomorrow then. . .

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