I’ve finally had to move out of the amazing flat I was temporarily staying in, and back (for a month and a half or so) into a school-provided apartment. These are always fairly spartan living environments, furnished in a basic fashion with exactly the minimal amount of unpadded wooden furniture. I have no problem with this as such. I’ve even got used to the standard Chinese mattress, which is much like its western counterpart but with an additional sheet of rock-hard wood on top. It’s good for your back, once you manage to get to sleep on it. The whole bathroom being “the shower” is also not a problem; it just makes cleaning the place a lot easier. It’s not a luxury pad but I plan spend fairly little time there anyway.
There is one little thing that has wound me up beyond expectation, though – and that is the TV. It seems to have been built in the later years of the cultural revolution, and works only in the sense that it picks up and displays local channels after warming up for five minutes or so. What it fundamentally lacks is a socket for me to plug my DVD player into. I don’t want to watch Chinese TV as it is generally in Chinese. If I’m staying in of a night I have nothing to do but watch the pile of DVDs I’ve bought, and I can’t do this.
I’ve spent the last few days going round electrical equipment shops trying to get a cable to fix this problem, to no avail whatsoever. Further investigation reveals an expensive box is needed to convert the signal, worth more than the television itself. The relevant authorities at the school refuse to replace it. This is a bit annoying.
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