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Small frustrations

After spending almost two weeks abroad, it takes a bit of time to get used to some of the negative aspects of living in China. It started with a motorbike that I almost hit last night, when I drove back from work. I was a bit tired (I did not sleep much on the overnight flight to Shanghai) and it was dark and foggy outside so it was difficult to see things clearly. Suddenly a motorbike without lights crossed the road right in front of me, and I had to swerve to the right in order not to hit it (luckily there were no bicycles next to me). I wonder what was in the person’s mind, my car lights were on and I was driving at a normal speed. I know that in two days time I would not even write about this anymore, because it happens all the time and then I am used to it again.

At home the reception of my mobile phone was almost zero, and even standing close to the window made making phone calls a nightmare. Generally, you have good connections in China on your mobile, but living on the 37th floor is the culprit. Sometimes it’s fine, sometimes there is no connection at all. The management of our compound promised to install some piece of equipment to enhance the reception months ago, but of course that has not happened so far.

Then I decided to make calls using Skype, but that did not work well either. Not only because of China’s firewall, but also because of the still very slow internet after the Taiwan earthquake. Also many of the other sites that I visit regularly do not load, and even uploading my holiday pictures to Flickr was impossible. But luckily my blog is still working!

It’s all about expectations I guess. Now if I need to make a phonecall I use the fixed line or take the elevator to the lobby. And when I drive at night I just need to drive even more slowly at roads that are poorly lighted. The websites will be up and running eventually, just no new pictures on my Flickr account for the next couple of days.

But after being away for a short while, you also notice the nice things in life that you normally take for granted. When we arrived home from the airport around lunchtime our ayi was already waiting downstairs to help us carry the suitcases (she waited outside for an hour in the cold, because we had a delay – we tried to call her but we could not reach her). And when we came into the apartment, a nice lunch was already waiting for us. The fridge was full of fresh products, we did not have to go shopping ourselves. Overall I certainly prefer Shanghai!

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  1. if u use china mobile and spend at least 10000rmb with them per year they will install amplifiers for free. i live on the 38/39th floors in a builing a beijing, and before moving in there was almost no signal. i called china mobile and they came 3 day later and took care of it, free. your landlord wont do it for you, as he thinks he will have to pay

  2. Thanks for the advice. We called Shanghai Mobile and they told us that they do not install amplifiers for individuals. However, they said they installed amplifiers in our compound a while ago, and they came to our apartment yesterday to do a reception check. Based on that they might makes some changes to the amplifiers. I hope it will work out.

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