A-hunting we will go

Apartment hunting, that is. Despite the advice from Aaron (see prev. post) to wait a bit before rushing out to find housing, Colin and I sped all over Taipei yesterday on our quest for a place to live. We took the MRT (Taipei’s light rail system) back and forth and back and forth all day because we didn’t line up our apartment viewings and as a result passed through the same MRT stairway half a dozen times.

We also went into 7Eleven four different times in one day, breaking our previous record of three times, set only the day before.

We arrived late to the first place and got lost along the way and needed to be assisted by the guy living there now. He led us up a tiny staircase to a sixth-floor apartment with a yellow living room, a blue kitchen, a green bedroom, a teal bathroom, and an orange cat. The cat doesn’t come with the apartment (but a bed, dresser, and desk do).

Our guide, Anders, showed us the river view from the balcony, and then showed us up to the roof, which felt like a drained swimming pool, for an even better view.

The price of the place was below what we were expecting to pay and was otherwise cute, but with it being the very first apartment we’d seen, we had move on. Anders said we’d be calling him later.

For both of the following two apartments, we were greeting by enthusiastic landladies and shown through sixth-floor studios so small, the four of us weren’t able to all be in the room at once. These simply would not do, no matter how well the sofa matched the wallpaper or how lovely the clock was.

Our final apartment of the day was five stories above a street selling nothing but couches and large appliances. A Czech woman met us at the door and showed us into what I thought was the cutest apartment we’d seen. The wall separating the living room from the bedroom had a translucent glass panel with a cherry blossom design, and a matching door slid to allow passage into either the Japanese-style bedroom or the kitchen. The gal showed us up to their roof, which also had a wonderful view of the river. “We’ll call you,” I said excitedly as we left.

How do you decide between two apartments of about the same size in similar enough locations with one being cuter but also US$100 more per month? If you’re us, you go sit for a couple hours in a park and watch the sun disappear behind the thick, hazy skyline while mulling over the pros and cons of each.

We move into Anders’ place on Sunday.

On a related note, the hostel we’re moving out of is a friendly place on the sixth floor of a building at the back of an I’m sure otherwise quiet street. This week they’re replacing the sewer line, and I am writing this to a din of construction-related noise. Walking past shirtless construction workers in the morning isn’t enough, tonight I had concrete water sprayed on my feet. But it really isn’t so bad.

Our room is small and sparse, but it’s clean and private and has a double bed and that’s all we really need. Or so we thought. As we moved our stuff in, the floor quickly disappeared, and bags that were once something like organized are now hopelessly overflowing with their contents. There is air conditioning in the room, but we didn’t ask for it and are afraid we will be charged extra if we used it, and the fan works well enough to keep the room from getting unbearably hot. It’s enough for what we need right now, but I’m eager to move into a larger space.

I will figure out how to add pictures tomorrow.


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