Monday, May 07, 2007

Impressions from China - Comedy of Errors

Since my last entry about the quality of housing (the term quality being used loosely here), I have become even more convinced that I will not buy any property here unless I can personally supervise the construction from the foundation up.

We recently have had to have our airconditioning turned on. Now, this seemingly simple endeavor is actually not so simple. Our landlord had to call the aircon guys to come & do something to the compressor outside the house & to fiddle with some valves inside the utility room in the basement before we could use the airconditioning.

Alas! I shouldn't have thought that it was as easy as that!

After the 1st visit by the AC guys, we realised we had no gas to cook dinner! Why, you may ask. How is gas connected to the AC? I wonder too. When the estate management maintenence guys came to check, it was discovered that the gas valve had been turned off! Presumably by the AC guys, who, when I checked, seemed to be doing a eenymeenyminymo kind of procedure when they were turning on/off valves.

After a couple of days, we realised that the air coming out of the vents wasn't exactly cool. And the AC in my son's room kept turning off on its own.

So the AC guys paid us a 2nd visit. One of them looked at me like I was Mulder telling him that I had been abducted by aliens when I told him about the AC switching off by itself. But then it happened again when they were there (much against Murphy's Law, thank God) so, at least I didn't feel like a blooming idiot. So he looked behind the switch, above the ceiling, did something to something in the ceiling, and so far so good. Then they fiddled around with more valves (again with the eenymeenyminymo process). I made sure they didn't touch the gas valve this time having learnt my lesson.

Then after they left, we realised we had no hot water!!! So here come the estate management guy to the rescue again. Apparently this was due to something about the pressure in the water pipes leading to the AC compressor being too high & preventing water from getting into the boiler. At least I think that's what he said given that
a) my Mandarin sucks, and
b) Beijingers tend to talk like they have marbles in their cheeks.

That's not the end of the story. The AC guy had to visit us a 3rd time because the AC in the master bedroom was not blowing out cold air at all. So he came. And he checked. And apparently it has something to do with the insulation around the pipes that was coming off. Or the inlet & outlet vents that were too close together - two different versions of reasons given to landlord & tenant.

After he left, I made sure that we still had gas.
And hot water.
And the toilets can still flush. Just kidding. I think.

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