Posted by Gard-H. Madsen Thu, July 17, 2008 13:15:16
Woke at 9 a.m. Final morning routine.
After a slow breakfast I continued packing up all my stuff; boxed it, bagged it and cleaned up the room. Our maid showed up a little past 10 a.m. and I put her to work. Had her empty and clean all the cupboards in the kitchen as well as closets in our bedrooms. She must have thought I was crazy. Apparently, common practice in China is to clean the apartment when you move in, not when you move out.
Silje had left bags of clothes when she left, either to be given to Aiy (Chinese word for the maid (aunt)) or thrown out. There were some things that I didn’t want to take back with me that I left in the pile for her. I also said that she could take all the food out of the cupboards and from the fridge. She had to do two trips and returned with a person I believe to be her son for the last batch of things we had given her. The last thing I gave her was a calendar with pictures from Norway (that I had found under the DVD player as I was tidying up). I think she liked it.
Around 1 p.m. I took my very heavy bag and locked myself out of the apartment for the last time. I headed down into the road and took a taxi up Linping to Frodes place. Dumped my bags in his apartment and together we headed out the door to go grab some lunch. Found us a taxi and headed downtown to Portman and to Element Fresh. Seemed like a natural place for a last lunch in Shanghai. Unfortunately, it had started to rain so we could not sit outside and our planned walk through the streets after lunch was quickly abandoned. Got a call from Astrid who was finally getting her stuff out of the apartment and who had graciously offered to hand over the apartment to the landlord. She was having some issues though. We had hoped that by moving out two weeks before the end of our contract, we might not have to pay some minor extra costs for gas and electrics. We were wrong, but the landlord was of course in his full right to ask us to pay our bills before we left. However, clever little Astrid negotiated her way out of it by offering him our printer and my toaster iron, items we probably would have left there anyway. He accepted and all parties were happy. Meanwhile, Frode and I had abandoned our walking-around-town plan and instead found a taxi around 3 p.m. and returned to Frodes apartment. Didn’t really have a clear plan going on, so we put on a movie and hung out for a while.
Around 6 p.m. we took my worryingly heavy bag and headed out the door once more. We took a taxi up near Fudan to where the Swedes live. Marcus and I are on the same plane tomorrow so we figured that it would be convenient if we left for the airport together as well. We sat around their apartment for a while, waiting for everyone to get ready for dinner. We had decided to go to Dong Bei, a local round-table Chinese restaurant. It is ridiculously cheap and the food has always been good in the past. And tonight was no different. The food was fine and even though we joked about getting ill and being extremely sick on the plane tomorrow, no one was. We left the restaurant around 9 p.m. and stood outside, dumbstruck by the amounts of water falling from the sky. Fortunately we didn’t have to wait long for a taxi. The small group headed over to Alex and Arills apartment for the last party of the year and to say good-bye to everyone. Marcus, Anna, Ouafa and I didn’t stay long. Around 11 p.m. we left, having said good-bye to everyone several times. It didn’t feel final, so it was not a problem to leave the people I had been spending all my time with for the last year.
Back at the Swedes, we ended up watching a little football. Anna intended to watch both matches during the night and kindly offered me her room. I watched the first half, got bored around 1 a.m. and set up an Ikea bed with half a mattress on it. I swear I would have fallen through had it not been for the steel pole supporting my weight and my hip. Not too comfortable and I only slept for a couple of hours before it was time to get up again and leave the country.