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4 July 2005
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KLB - Beijing (9)

Interesting information about Beijing apartments:

1. I had wondered how all the cars look so clean around here. Jake knows why. Apparently the complexes have a car-cleaning crew. At 5 o'clock in the morning, they go out and wash everyone's car.

2. Every building has a couple of elevator women. In exchange for a room about the size of a closet and with no plumbing, they sit in the hallway and push the elevator button for you as you enter the building.

3. Guards. Every entrance in this place has a guard. These guys are no more than 15 year old boney kids that could be cut in half with a weak kung fu chop. It's very comical to see them when they have to run military style in a group while they're leader shouts at them.

4. Bills. With the exception of the phone, all your bills have to be prepaid. If you run out of credit, the power simply goes off. This has happened to Jake on a few occasions late at night. Fortunately there is a meter in the main hall where you can check the electronic number that counts down your credit. And to prepay, Jake just gives some money to his maid who runs over and pays at the local offices.

5. Heat. Thankfully this won't affect me. According to Jake, the government controls everyone's heat. They turn it on in your building remotely. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to when it's on or off and, unsurprisingly, it's usually off.


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