I have an apartment!

After work I viewed 5 apartments, arranged by several kind co-workers. One of them (and his girlfriend, a Taipei native) accompanied me on this journey. I knew I really like the first apartment I’d seen: close to a night market and a temple, overlooking a street of Chinese lanterns! They wanted a bit more than my budget allows so I went to see various other places, saving the the second viewing of that first place, for last, tonight.

The first apartment was across from the Sun Yat-sen Memorial on the top floor. It was a rather strange layout (no kitchen sink or even kitchen to speak of, clawfoot tub but strange Taiwan shower next to the toilet) but the view from the GARDEN was fantastic  and it was in a desireable neighborhood (hence the higher asking price, nearly 24000NT)! Unfortunately, it would be difficult to enjoy the garden because the mosquitos about ate us alive! Next, we looked at a LARGE furnished apartment in the same building, definitely out of my price range: 45000NT/month.

Our next stop on the apartment hunt express (on a scooter no less!) was across town. The first apartment was good-sized and there was an elevator in the building but no effort had been made to clean the place up. Ugh! Next! Then came a lovely little suite, very thoughtfully laid out and newly renovated. The building had an elevator but there was no washer and again the strange shower in the smallish bathroom, along with no electrical outlets in the kitchen, plus is was nearly 4000NT out of my price range.

Finally, onto the partially-furnished apartment I liked so much the first time I saw it. I still liked it and had discussed with my companions/translators that I’d take the 4th floor apartment (less desireable for Taiwanese) for a reduced rent, within my budget (20000NT). Initially, the polite young broker told us he’d have to ask the owner. So, through my friends I told him that if he would make an aggressive offer (3000 less than they had asked for) I was prepared to pay CASH tonight – and I pulled out my envelope full of 1000NT bills. I have never seen someone dial a phone so quickly! Yes, they would take 20K and would I come at lunch tomorrow to sign the lease? How about now, I said? So, on the scooters again, across town to the broker’s office. It was all very dignified: he bought us all dinner at a noodle place and we ate while waiting for the owner to arrive. Once she did, the contracts came out (in Chinese of course) and I counted out 40 1000NT bills (2 months rent is the standard down payment), signed the lease, (she placed her stamp on it) and got the keys! WOOHOO! Now I can apply for my Alien Registration Certificate (ARC), get a bank account, and receive mail!! Pictures to follow soon!

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As for me, I will take the road less travelled…

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