Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Begone the choking bullock.

When we arrived we found our apartments bleak and not everything worked.

In fact last week - after my new cleaning lady had been - and done a wonderful job really, I found the toilet didn't flush. It couldn't be fixed until Monday, so I "flushed with success" with a plastic bucket. I added a number of things to my list for repairs. The stove hadn't worked since I arrived, the cold water tap in the bathroom didn't work, and the water sterilizer sounded like a choking bullock going through the death throes when it heated so I added them all to the list.

On Monday afternoon two men (Chinese of course - cannot speak English) arrived. I don't know whether it was an axe or a hammer that they attacked the stove with, but it could have been either from the sound. Within seconds a smiling Chinaman was beckoning me to come and try the stove. It now worked.

They then "attacked" the toilet. More clanging and banging and the smiling Chinaman appeared to show me the toilet now flushed, and the cold water worked. Then they were gone. Within half an hour I discovered why the cold water tap had been previously turned off. I had a bathroom full of cold water. (OK, I exaggerated a bit, a big bit.) I phoned to get the men back.

Meanwhile two other men appeared - one carrying my new water sterilizer. By the time they had dragged out the old one, put the bottle on the new one, I had water all through the "living" area and the stairs. At least they've taken the choking bullock, and I was able to clean up all the water. At least in the living room - while water flowed in the bathroom.

Another man soon appeared with some silicone, and after a few bangs, a squirt or two of silicone, I have cold water and no leaks. Just muddy footprints all over the tiled floor. So I am flushed with success again - I can flush and cook!

Meanwhile I have been told that I will be moving down to the third floor - so I went to inspect the facilities there. Everything works - except the stove. So that is being fixed up. The challenge of climbing to the fifth floor every time I wish to go to the apartment was daunting initially, but I've become fitter with all the stair climbing, but I am looking forward to moving in to the third floor. When? Who knows.

This is China.

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