Geez. It’s amazing how I’ve suffered without Internet, phone or TV for the past five days. OK. I’m exaggerating. I haven’t really suffered. You would think after traveling for three months and being under the radar during that time, I’d be used to this feeling of floating.
Well, I’m not. It’s completely different when you’re at home and you’ve got nothing to occupy your time! It’s doubly worse when you’re also off work. Needless to say, we moved house in Taiwan quickly and were quite efficient at setting up our new digs this weekend.
By Sunday night, I fell into my pile of books and that’s where I’ve been ever since.
Now, about our move.
Despite living in Asia, and moving several times over the past five years, we discovered moving in Taiwan is not as easy as we thought it would be. We asked a Taiwanese friend to call a moving service for us because we wanted to ensure a smooth transition out of our old building in Shu-lin and into the brand-new Taipei Sky Dome building complex in Banciao.
After making the call from our house and giving all the correct information, she assured us we would have no difficulties. The moving service had our old and new address, and they knew we would be moving from the 4th floor to the 24th floor.
She told us we would have to pay 2000 NT for a truck. We had two trucks.
The math is pretty simple right? Wrong!
On moving day, the movers showed up early.
One bare-chested fellow headed straight for our bathroom and threw up for a good five minutes. I wasn’t impressed, but they moved us swiftly and we figured everything would be clear sailing from there on. I jumped into the truck with the driver and we drove to our new address.
As soon as we arrived, the same fellow threw up again on the side of the street. While this was going on, the driver coolly demanded some beer, and since it was a hot day, I complied. It seemed a reasonable request.
The guys started unloading while the boss followed us to our new apartment, where he christened our bathroom facilities in the worst manner.
As he chugged his beer that I paid for, he told us that the distance from the truck to the elevators was too far (it isn’t even 50 meters from the road) and demanded we pay 10,000 NT! (Obviously, we had contacted a moving company run by Taiwanese gangsters. Lovely. You don’t really want to mess around with these guys.)
I started arguing with him, as we’d already decided on a price. He told me my Taiwanese friend obviously didn’t understand. I found this odd, as my friend is an English teacher at my school. Her English is very, very good. I also told him that I had listened to the conversation and she had most certainly not misunderstood. I have to wonder if he raised the price because he thought they would be moving a Taiwanese couple.
Since my friend was having her wedding photos taken that day, we decided not to call her and instead called our real estate agent, Rock, from across the street to help us deal with the situation.
After arguing for over thirty minutes, I asked John to pay them 4000 NT to get them out of there. They dumped our belongings in the first floor lobby and we had to move the rest of our things up by ourselves. It took us all afternoon in the sweltering heat. Our sympathetic building manager brought us a trolley to make things a little easier.
Our real estate agent felt so bad for us, he insisted on staying to help. Both the manager and our real estate agent wanted to know how we had gotten involved with such a shoddy service. I’m going to blame John on this one. He wanted a cheap service and we got cheap service. Lesson learned. Make sure you shop around when booking a moving service. They aren’t all reputable!
Since this first disastrous move, we now use and recommend Steven The Mover to countless friends and teachers in Taiwan. Steven has been in the business for 20 years, he’s honest, quick and gives you exactly what he says he’ll give you. I wouldn’t recommend anyone else!
We worked like dogs late into the evening. By 11pm, we had half our boxes unpacked and we headed up to our roof for a much needed bottle of cold Taiwan Beer.
So, moving wasn’t as easy as we thought, but we’ve got a fantastic new apartment and that’s really all that counts.