Our new apartment is really lovely. We’ve unpacked about 70% of our belongings, and nearly all the large furniture items are in place. The main task is to clean everything – after three months in a container, a lot of things are filthy. There is plenty to keep our new, part-time maid occupied.

Moving demonstrated how friendly most people are in Guangzhou. When we were taking our two lift loads of possessions from the 26th floor of the Concord New World towers to the street, an old lady not only held the doors open for us to unload, but offered to help us carry stuff out to the street. We had several offers of assistance from colleagues, and, on Sunday, had to ask one to come and help us put our new four-poster bed together.  

Helen keeps commenting on how well our material goods “fit” the new place. It certainly is great having access to our normal way of life.

 

On Saturday, I was dripping in sweat by 7.30am, even before we had loaded our things in the van, back in town. When we arrived at Castle Hill, the woman from Schenker was already waiting. The container truck arrived straight away, and the workmen began ferrying things up to our apartment in a smaller truck. I had to leave Helen to it, while I caught a taxi to the American School to coach our girls’ soccer team in a “friendly” tournament. (We won two from four, in very trying conditions.)

The Schenker part of the unpacking was completed around lunchtime. I returned by 4pm, courtesy of a kind offer from a parent who had driven from Castle Hill. By the evening, we were both exhausted. The heat and humidity were really debilitating.  We had biscuits and cheese  for dinner, with a bottle of champagne. We slept on a mattress on the floor in our bedroom.

Sunday was just as hot and humid. We slaved away for the morning, then walked down the hill into the adjoining “village” – People live in multi-storey apartments, but in a sort-of-village lifestyle. We found a man who spoke English and was prepared to deliver water and a dispenser to our apartment. We bought fruit, flowers and vegetables, and a few things at the supermarket. 100% fruit juice did not seem to be in evidence. On the way back up the hot, steep hill we stopped at the more-western-but-expensive supermarket in the grounds of the estate. We ate outside in the garden in the evening, and fell into the new bed.

Yesterday morning saw us lug a ton of Helen’s school books down to the main gate, and hail a taxi to school. It cost us ~AU$5 and took 10 minutes to get to school.  I caught a taxi home from school in the afternoon. Helen arrived later, after a training session, to talk with our maid, Annie, who announced that her husband said she already had enough work. “Luckily”, she has a sister-in-law, Amy, who can do the job. Amy’s English isn’t a lot better than our Chinese, but we’ll give her a go.   

This morning, we again walked down to the main gate for a taxi. The guards were “on to it”. They gave us the number to ring so that they can find a taxi and send it to the front door. Again, most people set out to be helpful.  

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