Happy New Year Blog Readers.
I hope you have all enjoyed a restful holiday and had the opportunity to eat, drink and of course enjoy your family. Our holiday was quite short as previously mentioned and we have been very busy at work. Kim and I have just completed 8 solid days of non-stop work doing mid-term exams with the students. We are all tired and glad to have a week-end off.
We are still gritting our teeth and bearing down with the cold weather here. We were both delighted to see a bit of snowfall here in Shanghai. It was very little and didn’t even last the night. We feel much better after talking with one of our teachers here about his time up in Dalian. Dalian is a very large Chinese city up near the Korean border. He worked at a Canadian school there. Dalian is a smaller city (only 7-8 million people) so accommodations were quite inexpensive. He and his wife rented a large apartment on the 6th floor. Now I have complained about no central heating in the building in our apartment. This is the norm for Shanghai. In Dalian they have a different type of central heating. Dalian is the home of several nuclear reactors and the water that they use to cool down the reactors is pumped into the buildings through underground piping to heat the suites in apartment buildings. Kind of different right? There are some issues with this. First, the heating is controlled and will not be turned on until sometime around November 1st. Dalian is quite far north and often will have freezing weather in October. No matter. The heat doesn’t go on until it’s time. Finally November 1st came around and the heat was supposedly turned on, but this fellow reported to his landlord that he wasn’t getting any heat coming through. He knew it was working because his friends who lived on the first floor of the same building had heat. It turned out he had to wait an additional 2 and a half weeks for the heat to move up to the 6th floor. Very strange. How safe is nuclear heated water? My scientist friend told me it could be very safe or incredibly dangerous depending on what system was used in the plants up there. So no answer to this question.
Kim and I are now making a 5 or 6th attempt on what has become a quest. This is our valiant attempts to get video footage of the daily sales meeting for the realtors who work across the street from the school. We have been plagued with bad luck and just not have been available when they meet, we have had one camera malfunction and unexpected visitors interrupt the process, we forgot the camera at home a couple of times. Fear not we will eventually get footage and we will post it. Let me dscibe one of their meetings first so our quest will build vast amounts of interest and anticipation. This will make the final arrival of the video that much more enjoyable. Our school resides on the sixth floor of a school that is located on a very busy 6 lane road in downtown Shanghai. Every morning around 9:00 am the entire sales team of a real estate office come out onto the sidewalk and have a business meeting. It is a very tiny office so there are only about 15-16 people who work there. They start each meeting with some sort of a cheer. It’s all in Chinese and it’s this call – response type of thing that goes on for about 5 minutes. They do some sort of roll call and count off to see if everyone is there. They are of course shouting out their responses, sometimes in unison and sometimes individually. Then the meeting turns into something along the lines of a high school cheerleading session including steps, fist pumping, high fives, quick dance steps and cheering. Everyone is dressed in the same black suit and tie. This is clearly something out of a Franz Kafka novel of which I have never seen the likes. The call – response section features a lady with a very annoying voice calling something out and the sales people all shouting back the answers in unison. I imagine the cheer means something like this if it were translated into English.
Call: – Who are we?
Response: – We are the realtor sales people of Luwan 3rd District and we sell property!!!!!
Call: – Do you rent and sell apartments too?
Response: – Oh yes we do and we are Number 1, Number 1, Number 1. (At this point they all cheer making those weird jazz hands, they stamp their feet really quickly and by some hidden cue simultaneously stop at exactly the same time.)
Call: What is our focus?
Reponse: Location, Location, Location! (Let’s face it. Some things never change in real estate.) Then they move into the group cheering section of the meeting)
We will buy low (Clap Clap)
And we sell high (kick and turn step 2-3-4)
And we will make you lots of Kwi (Boom Boom) Vigorous head shaking and two quick high fives)
Come and see us (Stamp stamp)
We are number one! (Kick turn step 6-7-8)
At the Shanghai 3rd District Superieur Rehousing Realtor’s Business Office Luwan Branch ! (High fives and lots of cheering) Then immediate silence.
At this point the lady with the annoying shrill voice gives each sales person a quick pep talk extolling their virtues and chastising the shortcomings of those agents who have yet to make a sale. It’s all very public because they are right out in the street. If I was purchasing a place here in Shanghai, I would obviously have to buy my home from these people. I mean why wouldn’t you? I hope someone shares this with the realtors in BC. I think they could really be onto something.
That’s this week’s blog. Two more weeks until Thailand! Enjoy the photos below.
Here is a picture Kim took with her new Nikon SLR. 24 mega pixels. It not only shows great photography skills, but amazes me that Shanghai still has green trees and flowers out.
These beautiful poinsettias were found on a fence next to this beautiful old church. OK I admit they are made out of plastic, however in our defence they were only a block away from the mall that sells all of the fake watches and handbags.
This handsome fellow has been seen walking around town in his stylish Georgio Armani coat! STYLING”! See you next week.