Softly singing Chinese vessels
cross the sea
and break the sky
into pieces of light.

My second day in Shanghai was somewhat of a whirlwind. I stopped in a small apartment-rental shop (about 8 feet x 15 feet) not far from the hotel. There are two desks inside with a lady at each desk. Against the wall to the right as you come in the door there are three chairs with a man sitting in the farthest chair next to the front desk. Outside the shop there are many small rectangular paper advertisenments for apartments all written in Chinese except for the numbers which makes it almost impossible for me to negotiate with my present knowledge of the language. I take out my language books and begin the laborious task of trying to communicate. As things progress, it turns out that the man sitting in the office speaks enough English so that we can proceed quickly. Before long I am shuffled off to see an apartment on the 16th (if my memory serves me correctly) floor of a high rise nearer (I believe) to the central area of Shanghai. This apartment rents for 2800 yuan/month or about $400/month. It has a small balcony, a large bedroom/living-room with tv and sofa, full bathroom, and complete kitchen (stove (gas), refrigerator, microwave, sink, and a clothes washer about half the size of the washing machines I'm used to seeing in the USA. The lady who got us there (in a cab) refused to let me pay the taxi driver for our trip. This seemed strange to me and I began to feel like I was slipping into the clutches of a "used-car" salesperson. We met a man (having a somewhat sour disposition) at the apartment who turned out to be either the husband or boyfriend of the lady who brought me. The lady and I return by bus to the office after I say that I'm ready to rent the apartment. I take a break for lunch at the hotel (where I'm staying) restaurant and return to the office to wait for the landlord so that he and I can sign the rental contract. The husband/boyfriend arrives with the landlord who evidently works for the post and after some clarifications we both sign the contract on the indicated lines. The landlord then leaves on his motorcycle and the husband/boyfriend and I are off to find a taxi to get to a bank to withdraw 12,200 yuan which includes 3 months rent + 1 month (rent = 2800/mo) as refundable security deposit + a 35% commission for the shop keepers (980 yuans or about $140.00). The first bank we go to (Bank of China) at first says they will do the cash transfer for about $50 but are unable to do it because they say that cash transfers are not allowed with my card, only ATM activity. So off we go to visit a couple of local ATMs. The amount we're trying to withdraw is too large to withdraw all at once from an ATM machine. By this time I am getting suspicious and avoid suggesting taking out the money in smaller increments over a period of days. Later we visit another bank in the area with much the same results. Finally we take a taxi to my hotel. (I payed for both taxi rides (about 11 yuans ($2.50) each ride) with boyfriend/husband.) The scene at the hotel was quite embarrassing for me with boyfriend/husband trying to find out how the hotel was able to get my card to work and why we had been unable to do it. The hotel manager kept cool however and it came out during this interface that my visa was good for only a 2-month stay whereas the contract that I signed was for a three-month period. (I thought my visa was good for a one year continuous stay but it evidently is only good for two months at a time up to a year. After each two-month period of time you evidently must leave the country but can return using the same visa for another 2 months and so on up to a year.) By this time my hotel room was looking very good to me. Boyfriend/husband and I set off back to the office taking a walkway through the block not around it. I was getting desperate; I didn't want to get cornered in his office. He was walking ahead of me and it occurred to me to just sit down on the curb which I did. Eventually he returned to where I was sitting and I explained to him that I was tired and wished to get some sleep. He refused to listen and kept insisting that I come to the office with him. At this point an elderly man about my age came and stood next to us observing the situation. Finally I told him, "Tomorrow. Right now I'm very tired and wish to sleep," and simply refused to go with him, turned, and walked off to my hotel room. Shortly after arriving at my room my phone rang. I didn't answer it.