It really depends on the landlord, some our honest some our not.
In my 5 years in China, I’ve had good and bad landlords.
Living in a modern building helps.
Many modern complexes have handymen who can fix most basic day to day issues, from replacing lightbulbs (the ceilings can be quite high, or light fixtures can be difficult to remove), to minor electrical issues (sockets, light switches, frayed wires), to basic plumbing (clearing a blocked pipe).
The handyman may charge a small fee, but it usually less than 50 RMB.
If there are problems with equipment, like the microwave or fridge breaks, the landlord should replace those for you, unless you obviously broke them.
It is a good idea when you check out the apartment, you check and make sure everything works, and you can make a list of things for the landlord to fix, (it is far easier to get things replaced before you sign the contract).
It seems really tempting to try and save 500-1000 RMB a month and live in an old building, but based on my experience it just isn’t worth it.
Also, I think landlords have greater incentive to maintain modern apartments.
Like much of China, there are massive construction projects all over Kunming, new apartments are being built all over the city.
My guess is that landlords in old buildings are probably playing a long game waiting for their building to be tagged for demolition, so they can be compensated.
There is a pretty hard cap in what they can collect for rent, so there isn’t much incentive to spend money on an old apartment, that may be torn down in a few years.
To add something more constructive and positive.
My wife and I recently moved into a new apartment, and it seems to be a buyers market.
We signed the lease around June 20th, but were able to negotiate a lease that officially began on July 5 (our previous lease ended on July 10) and ends on July 4, 2019 (our current contract ends on June 30th), but the landlord let us move in immediately (we didn’t ask to move in early, he just said we could move in whenever we wanted, we we signed the contract) giving us essentially two free weeks.
So, we were able to slowly move in over a few days, each time packing a DiDi car full of stuff, which was a luxury.
I would say, that it is probably possible to find a landlord willing to sign a 10 month lease.
My first lease in Beijing, which is a much hotter real estate market, was for 10 months (the landlord was willing to make my final day of the lease the final day of my work contract).
If the apartment is currently empty the landlord is not generating income from rent, it is in her best interest to rent it out as quickly as possible, even if on a lease that is less than a year.
One thing I can say, is there is a 10 month rental from Dachuan in GoKunming’s classifieds.
Don’t live there.
The apartment is a maintenance nightmare, and the landlord lives abroad and provides 0 support when things go wrong.
Also, for 500-1000 RMB more a month you can live in a modern building.
It depends what you want?
Are you a member of a Star Alliance frequent flier program?
If you are, fly Air China.
Skyteam? Choose China Eastern.
Otherwise, there is not much of a difference, especially in economy class.
If you aren’t concerned about collecting frequent flier miles, choose the airline with the best price that fits your schedule.
Domestically, I’ve flown Hainan, Air China, China Southern, China Eastern, and Kunming Airlines (which is really just Sichuan Airlines with different paint).
Nothing really stands out, just a mildly uncomfortable seat, and lots of shoving at boarding and deplaning.
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It is a decent western restaurant, but I just feel it could be better. It is hard to put my finger on it, but food while good, isn't great. Nothing there really wows me. That said, I do regularly dine there.
I think where it misses the 5th star is, that the price doesn't quite meet the pretty good (yet not great quality food), and the generally horrendous service.
The staff doesn't really speak "waiter English", and often little things like bing shui are forgotten about completely. If anything goes wrong, it is really a challenge to communicate the problem with the staff.
This isn't meant to disparage Salvador's, but more attention to a few details could really up the quality of Sal's from pretty good to great.
If you look to the right of this page, under classifieds, you'll see a Ninaxu advertising for a job "Full Time English Teacher at i2." Don't bother.
First and foremost, the teaching experience is awful. You're class will be a revolving door of students, as upper managment constantly swaps students in and out of classes. You'll start to build a relationship with a student, and students will build relationships with eachother, only to be swapped to a different class with a different teacher. Not to mention, you'll be asked at the last minute to fill in for students you have not prepared to teach, because management would rather not cancel a class when a teacher is sick, because that lengthens the amount of time until the contract ends, thus depriving them of more money.
Are you sick? If you call in, you'll get a string of abusive WeChat messages from your boss complaining about your attitude. That is even if you have a medical excuse.
Leave the job, you'll get threatening messages after you have left.
Promises? What are those.
That leave they put in the contract, they have many ways to weasel out of approving your leave. My suggestion, take it ASAP.
The classroom materials are awful. You always are told that the private company needs you to sacrifice for their (profits) difficult needs. No in-classroom computers, in-fact just one computer for the entire office. A couple of broken down CD players, a box of disorganized CD's, and yours is almost always missing or being used by another teacher.
They insist that you use their book, but they don't provide the materials, such as flash-cards. So you spend a great deal of time doing tedious work to get ready for class. The books themselves are garbage. You'll be handed kids who don't know hello how are you, and the book has no phonics material, and really no vocabulary building exercises.
Also, the staff office of the Greenlake Campus was covered in human waste from a broken sewage pipe, and was not fixed for months. This is not a metaphor for life at i2.
You're Chinese colleagues will tell you to work harder, or give you lots of advice. But, when a child freaks out, and you need a Chinese staff member, they will be several floors away, gossiping at the reception desk. But, they are always able to inform on you, and tell you how you can do better.
You'll be asked to "volunteer" for the children at holiday parties. They'll try and guilt trip you. But, you are volunteering for a "for-profit" party, as the school charges parents quite a bit of money for their children to attend.
The marketing department is immoral to criminal. They play on the desperation of parents of children with learning disabilities. Lying, and telling them that their teacher (only 1 or 2 teachers there actually hold a certificate) not only holds a teaching certificate, but specializes in learning disabilities. There were autistic students, dyslexic students, and many other types of issues. They will be lucky if their child is taught by somebody with a generic TEFL certificate. Then, after signing the contract, they will make fun of the family and students they just signed up.
You'll notice that no veteran Kunming expats work at i2, most are imported (many from Russia, Boris from "Chicago".), or at least from other Chinese cities. Just, don't work here. It is an awful and immoral company, that will screw you and the cusomter over in the name of profits.
Excellent loal Italian place. The pizza is a nice Italian version with a tasty sauce. The food is good quality and the owner puts in a great deal of effort to put out a good product.