Wednesday, September 17, 2014


So my hot water ran out this morning.

I think this is an optimal time to tell you all about the sort of thing that one has to deal with on a near-daily basis here in China.

When I registered at my dorm, I was given an envelope containing sundry items: keycard, air-con remote, desk key, and hot-water card. You stick the hot-water card into a machine in the bathroom, an ominous countdown begins, and you've got to take your shower before it reaches zero or the sun explodes. (OK, I lied about the sun, but not about the countdown.) But this morning, there was no countdown, and my shower was as cold as if the sun really had blown into a million pieces, never to warm my water-supply again.

I figured fixing this would be a simple process of finding the right desk, giving them some money, and returning home to enjoy the warmth. I figured I could get all of this done before lunch. But no. Beware, ye who enter here, for the road is long and fraught with peril.

  • Dumped books in dorm, adventure commenced.
  • Went to Building 3, which turned out to be the wrong building. Was told by the rude attendant in very fast Chinese that I was in the wrong place; all I really understood was that I was supposed to go "over there."
  • Had a look "over there"; came up blank; saw another girl approaching the office and ran up to see if she had the same problem. She did; the man told her to go away as well, and this time I heard that he was saying "Building 1". Repeated Building 1 to confirm, was met by a snappy "That's what I told you."
  • Other girl and I joined forces and went to Building 1; lady at Building 1 said we were in the wrong place and should be at Building 3.
  • What the fuck.
  • We went back to the dorm to ask the help desk. Woman behind the counter made phone calls, figured out that the water cards we had been given were actually temporary ones (this was not mentioned when we were given them). International student she was helping informed us that the hot-water card is actually a different card, the "campus card."
  • Other girl already had this card, was told to get it when she asked how to pay for food at the canteen. She helped me get my own. Required a phone call to be made to the other campus to get a new student number, since the student number printed on the admission letter and student ID card was not applicable for this other card.
  • Got 20 RMB back from the front desk in exchange for the temporary water card.
  • Other girl showed me the building where she got her campus card. Handed passport, new student number, and registration form to lady behind counter, got picture taken (once again looked like unwashed criminal, or someone who had a cold shower that morning), received campus card.
  • Paid 20 RMB for campus card.
  • Other girl said that office for recharging card is closed according to info she's been given. I finally got lunch while waiting for it to re-open. It was almost 3 PM.
  • We asked two people and finally found office. Information was incorrect, office is open only from 10:00-13:00.
  • "At least we know where the office is."
  • Returned to dorm, still hot-water-less as of now.

I'm going to go back tomorrow, and then we'll see.

But what about electricity?????


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