I didn’t realise that my last post was on 1st of May. We have been out shopping, exploring, buying – basically savouring the city. Pollution was only visible for two days last week, with most of the days being blue, cool and clear. Surprisingly, Shunyi area (5th ring cluster where the majority of international schools are at) was more heavily polluted during those two days than Chaoyang (4th ring).
I must say, I do like the city so far despite all the horror stories we have heard (other than the chilly weather). The people are fascinated by the children, and have been very accomodating and patient with them. We have been adventurous in trying out street stalls, eating jian bing 煎饼, handheld pancake with sausage 手抓饼加肠，roasted cold noodles 烤冷面 (which is a huge flat sheet of noodle like a corrugated patterned wallpaper warmed it over a hotplate sort of surface, brushed with sauce sauce and wrap with vegetables). We have also eaten grilled squid 烤墨鱼 at the stall in front of the Irish pub opposite Crowne Prince Lido Beijing hotel, and tried a variety of local and foreign eateries. Pizza and Japanese food are of good quality here as well.
We went to apply for our residency papers today. This can only be done when the work permit is processed and issued – which for us was yesterday. So today, we went down and did our papers and will only get it end of the month. Without the papers, we cannot ship anything in. This is not just restricted to our incoming sea shipment, but familiar shopping sites such as Amazon and iHerb. When we move again, we will need to go to the police station and get ourselves updated again. Otherwise I heard it’s a 2000Y fine per person (unconfirmed).
What to expect :
1. You’ll come to Beijing where your employer applies for work permit. This takes about 7-10 working days.
2. After that, you can apply for residency papers – another 7-10 working days.
3. After that is issued, Singapore side can ship your sea cargo – another 4-6 weeks.
4. All in all- probably 2 months of temporary residence before you can move into your own place. Or you can choose to stay put but only receive your sea ship two months after you move over.
Two months is a long time. It sounds very short but I realised how ‘long’ when the weather jumps so erratically. One day it can be summery warm, the other day chilly cold. One large luggage of Singapore clothes was not enough to face the weather.
The other thing is – cooking utensils. If you are used to using non stick teflon pots/ pans, please pack them into your airship. Here, we were given cast iron pan and a steel pan. Both were heavy, heated up really fast, not well seasoned and all our food kept sticking on it. Cooking was a huge frustration! I ended up visiting IKEA to buy some basic cooking ware. For cooking ware, I did not get off Taobao as 1. Taobao can have unbelievably cheap items – so they are fake. 2. Cooking is something that goes through a process and into the food, into your body. So I’m not taking any unneccesary risks with that. When I made scrambled eggs on the IKEA 7.90Y small saucepan, I was so happy with the end result!
Again, mobile connection. Data actually eats up really fast when you’re on social media networks, even with VPN. Phone plans come with dedicated data for Wechat application, and this application also has its own payment wallet called Weixin (Wechat’s chinese name) wallet. Most of these wallets come with taxi calling services and such. For Wechat, the wallet is only available for China users, not international.