I am seriously beginning to think that there are hidden cameras around this place and that I am now a star on a Chinese game show or reality TV program about a crazy American trying to live in the Chinese style. Seriously. There are just some things I cannot explain or even begin to understand. I KNOW someone must be setting me up and filming the whole thing. I believe that the producers of the show are setting up road blocks all around me – just to see how I react. But it really should be a crime to use major appliances as a weapon. I mean, I have been doing this whole apartment living thing here in Shanghai now for well over a year. You would think I would have figured everything out by now right? Wrong.
For instance, the clothes dryer. Yes – we are back on the subject of laundry. Everything has been going so well. I put the clothes in the washer and they come out the same size and color as when they went in (well – except for Nikki’s load but I do not take responsibility for that as I was not the project manager). They go into the dryer and come out fresh and clean and ready for another wear. Normal, right? And all of this within a reasonable time period (those of you who have been reading my blog from the beginning will remember the 7 hour cycle for one load in the past). So what could possibly go wrong?
I put my clothes into the dryer, set it and walked away. A while later I realized the dryer had stopped. I thought it was rather quick but hey – works for me. Except the clothes were soaking wet. Hm. I reset the dryer again and lo and behold – within a minute it stopped again. And again. And again. And again. Even a firm smack on the side of the dryer yielded no results.
I looked at the face of the dryer (see photo) and a light was lit next to the label “Water Tank Full”. Now – this made no sense to me. This is a separate clothes dryer. Not a washer/dryer combo. So why the heck would it have a Water Tank? And why would it be full? It took me quite a while to find this Water Tank. The process required much head scratching, some highly creative expletives and some banging on the dryer to make it spew out said Water Tank. But finally (actually to be honest – the next morning) I found the Water Tank. Indeed – it was full. After about an hour I figured out how to extract it from the dryer, emptied it, got it back into the dryer and reset the dry cycle – and voila - the clothes dried.
I am still very confused why Chinese dryers have Water Tanks, but hey – I have added the merit badge of Chinese Dryer Slayer to my girl scout sash.
So Friday I was getting ready to go to the office when there was a knock on the door. Standing outside were two very official looking guys in uniforms. The only word in English they could say was “internet”. I immediately looked for an escape route. Apparently the Chinese authorities have found out that I am using Facebook from my phone… I am 100% sure I will not like the accommodations in a Chinese jail, but unfortunately they were blocking my only route out of the building (unless I want to jump off a balcony from the 5th floor – but I doubt I like the hospital either). So I did the only thing I could. I got my dictionary and started trying to explain myself in Chinese. Of course this did not work. So Plan B. Call Wallace and have him talk to the men.
Come to find out they were there to upgrade my internet. Woohoo! Maybe it will actually work now. Of course the fact that the internet cable is tapped into the satellite and then run completely around the apartment, over and around every door and corner before entering the wall in the second bedroom – MIGHT have something to do with the poor performance. So I was pretty excited thinking that maybe they would remove all the cable and actually provide something resembling high speed internet. The building manager came to stay with the guys while they worked and off I went to the office.
I got home Friday night and just wanted to sit down, turn on the TV, boot up the iPad and relax. Do you suppose I got to do that? Nope. No TV. No Internet. Nothing. John was sitting calmly on the couch watching me rant and rave like a crazy woman running around the place only to learn that the cable was still run all over the apartment. Finally I did the only thing I could do. I unplugged everything that could possibly relate to the satellite, internet, TV – everything. And guess what? When I plugged it all back in – everything worked. Ha! Gotcha.
However, if you are considering an internet upgrade in China, please note that the black box does not work any better than the green one. Not one little bit.
At that point I took a very good look around the apartment for hidden cameras. . And through all this – John sat calmly on the couch watching me lose my mind.
Friday was a special day for another reason. It was Wallace’s birthday. I knew what I wanted to do. In the morning I went to Paris Baguette on my way to the office to procure a Chocolee Dan Gao (chocolate birthday cake for the unitiated). I also prepared John and I to sing Happy Birthday in Chinese. Yup. Figured it out all by myself. Taught it to John and away we went. The song is sung to the same tune we use in USA, so that part was easy. And the words are simple too:
Kuaile Shengri Wallace. Kuaile Shengri Wallace. Kuaile Shengri dear Wallace (forgot to learn “dear” in Chinese). Kuaile Shengri Wallace.
So we presented the cake and sang our little hearts out in the office. To which we received some applause but in the background there was a serious rumble of chuckling going on. So of course I asked “Did we get it right?”. Wallace – ever polite (remember the whole grabs flowers thing) said “almost”. Come to find out we sang in backwards. You see I translated it literally from English to Chinese. But actually Chinese say “Shengri Kuaile”. I forgot that whole rule about adjectives. Oh well. I think he got the message.
By the way, speaking of water, you will note on a previous post that my hot water heater in the apartment went out, and it was deemed a fatal situation combined with a massive plumbing issue – so I had to change apartments. Saturday morning John is getting ready for his flight back to USA. I was sitting peacefully in the living room playing with my iPad when he walks out and says “You are probably not going to be happy about this, but there is no hot water”.
Firstly, of course I will not be happy about this John. Who would? Unless you are some freak who loves showering in ice cold water! And SERIOUSLY? No hot water AGAIN? I sincerely believe that 2 hot water heaters within 10 days of each other must be some sort of record right? Luckily Wallace arrived at that moment to collect John for an airport run so we had him call the apartment management. A couple of hours later the repairman showed up. It took him all of about 10 seconds to relight the pilot. Color me embarrassed.
And then there is the chocolate chip cookies. I KNOW 100% for certain that I converted the fahrenheit to celsius properly. I know it for sure – but the poor cookies were totally black on the bottom. So again, I am pretty sure someone changed the knobs so that when I set 175 degrees celsius, it was really 225 degrees. I am pretty bummed about the cookies.
The most logical conclusion I can come up with is that I am being set up. I don’t think there is some kind of artificial intelligence between my major appliances resulting in a conspiracy against me. I mean – that makes no sense right? Right?
Or maybe I am just paranoid.
Anyhow, off to have Sunday brunch at the Westin (voted best brunch in Shanghai for like the past 100 years). I have always wanted to do their brunch so am really looking forward to a good old American chow fest.
I wonder how to say Eggs Benedict and Mimosa in Chinese!