Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Fortress

Today we will give you a tour of our residence in Taipei. We live on the fourth floor of a six story apartment building.

This is our alley and our balcony is the top one you can see on the right in this picture.

Qing Tian Street is about a block and a half west of our apartment and it has lanes running perpendicular to it. We are on lane 7 and then there are alleys perpendicular to the lanes (or parallel to Qing Tian St). We are on alley 10.

At the left of this picture are the buzzer buttons that guests may press to request access to the stairwell. Then there are mailboxes which are stuffed each day, mostly with advertising brochures for apartments and housing. But you have to go through it, just in case there is something important. On the right side of the picture is the access door to the stairwell. We have a key for that and two other keys -- a total of three doors to gain access to our apartment. For that reason I have titled this posting "The Fortress."

This is the outer door to our apartment. I assume the Chinese decoration was put there by our landlord. She is a professor at the university. I think she plans to live in this apartment after she retires and has to give up her university housing. There is an elevator, but we usually climb the three flights of stairs (48 steps) to the fourth floor. This door has a huge key with an extension -- you press a tiny button and the spring-loaded extension pops out (reminds me of an umbrella). I think the purpose of this outer door is to protect the inner door.

This is the inner door. It is thick and heavy and no one is going to get in, but they could mess it up if they were using a crowbar. With it open, you can get a breeze through the outer door.

This is the second reason for calling this "The Fortress." There are EIGHT deadbolts (4 in the middle, 2 at the top and 2 at the bottom). They all retract when you push down on the door handle.

When you enter, you will notice white tile floors and a lot of recessed lighting.

Our first weekend we went to a floral market and bought these artificial flowers. The apples came from New Zealand and cost about a dollar a piece.

The custom here is to remove your shoes when you enter someones home or the temple. The phone on the wall is the intercom for talking with people who buzz you at the stairwell door.

This is our dining area. The open hymnal on the table has Pin Yin words and we are continuing our tradition of singing one verse before each meal, starting at the beginning of the book and going to the end. We currently are at hymn #5, 3rd verse. On the wall behind the table is a slab of marble with recessed lighting to accent it.

This is our living room. Looking down the hallway, you see a recessed, lighted area. Above the electronic keyboard you see a live orchid in a recessed area (which we are trying to keep alive). The keyboard we found in a mission office store room, along with 6 or seven others not being used. So we may do some keyboard teaching. Above the couch is a recessed, lighted shelf with some Chinese pots for decoration. The whole wall that you see are hinged doors covering cupboard space. Behind the keyboard is a cupboard that is holding five large water bottles for our water dispenser. Every room in this apartment has an abundance of cupboards, closets and drawers.

This side of the living room has a low cupboard which had a huge TV on it. But we took it out and replaced it with a water dispenser and CD player/radio.

Outside our picture window in the living room is a large plant. We've decided it must be a subtropical plant that needs lots of water, so we've been pouring it on. In the daytime when you look out this window, you see a brick wall of an apartment building across the alley. So the plant is nice.

Here is the large, side-by-side refrigerator/freezer.

The kitchen has hot/cold running water, a heated dish dryer above the sink, a two-burner gas stove, a microwave, but no oven.

This balcony utility area has a washing machine and a gas water heater on the wall above the washing machine. Behind the camera is a small laundry sink. We may be able to get a clothes dryer since there are several in the church service center storage area.

In this bedroom we have relegated the TV on a study desk. This mattress was in the master bedroom, but after the first night we swapped it out. I compared it to the slab of marble on the wall. Alma does her morning exercises on this bed. We use the fan to push air out this window and draw it into the master bedroom. The bedroom floors are dark, wood-looking material.

This bedroom is used as our computer room. We have a DSL connection to the internet and the upload speed is very slow. Each of these pictures took about five minutes to upload. But the Skype seems to be working okay for video. And for $3 per month, we can use Skype to call any telephone in the United States. Each of the bedrooms and the living room has an air conditioner. We haven't used them much yet, but I expect that next summer we'll be using them.

Here's the master bedroom.

This is the other end of the master bedroom, with closets on the right, and two bathroom doors visible.

This is the shower that we've been using. Very nice.

This is the other bathroom. And this completes the tour. This apartment is much larger than we really need, and is the most expensive place that we've ever lived in our life. The rent is 36,000 per month (local currency, that is). The value of the dollar has been going down a little since we have arrived. This is equivalent to about $1200 per month. We lived on less than that for ALL expenses in Germany. And it is about 50% more than we spent for all expenses in Brasil. But when compared with other apartments that were available for about the same price and were unfurnished, we decided this was the best deal. We've also been told the rent for this apartment would be higher if it were any other floor. Apparently, superstitious people associate the number 4 with death (because the sound of the character for 4 and the sound of the character for death are about the same). So they don't want anything to do with the 4th floor.


  1. That is neat that you might teach keyboard lessons again. And if you lived there longer than 18 months, I bet you would appreciate ALL those cabinets and drawers. :) NO OVEN...could you get one? 18 months without homemade bread??? Maybe get a toaster oven...I've made 6 muffins in that before and baked chicken breasts. But real bread. :(

  2. Yea, no oven? Odd. That door cracks me up - do they have a lot of break ins???? Not with the Fortress I assume! (: And I notice a lot of recessed lighting.
    Thanks for the tour - VERY INTERESTING!!!
    Thanks for the post!

  3. oh, looks like you have enough room for guests! (: I wouldn't mind saving my pennies to come visit!!! (:

  4. Wow!! Great tour! Thanks! 8 Deadbolts and 3 doors? I see why you call it The Fortress! So the 2nd metal door with the hanging decoration on it outside of your door to your apartment, where do the stairs go? Other apartments? That's awesome that you have so much storage space! I'd love that! It's a nice apartment! That's a big living room! Nice furniture too. That's a cool heated dish dryer there in the kitchen! I'd like that. Sorry to hear that your first night's sleep was on a slab of marble! I hope the one you're on now is lots better. Was it in one of the other two rooms? That's cool that you have 2 bathrooms! That's always nice. And 3 bedrooms! Wow. No oven or dryer? We don't have use of our dryer, so I know exactly what that's like! That's good that you have air conditioning in each room. Your shower looks very nice indeed. So this is the most expensive place that you've lived eh? That's interesting that nobody wants to live on the 4th floor! So, you got to pick out where you wanted to live? Did the Mission Office give you the choices? I'm glad you have a nice place to live while in Taiwan. Will you be living there the whole year and a half? If so, that's nice. Thanks for the pictures! FIVE minutes to load each one is sure a long time! Thanks for patiently loading them all for us to see!! : ) That's like over an hour to load them, plus the time it took to type the commentary, so thanks for taking the time to write and post all of this! : )

  5. P.S. When I said, "So the 2nd metal door...." etc... what I was wondering is -- after you go through that door, it looks like there are stairs to the right of your front door. Where do they go? And what else is in that area besides the stairs?

  6. P. P. S. Wow -- I just counted how many pictures that you posted of your apartment, and if it took 5 minutes per picture, then that's an hour and 50 minutes to load the pictures! So it took you over 2 hours to enter all of this! No wonder you wanted us to look your blog with all of the work you put into it!! Thanks again!

  7. Love seeing your apartment. Looks like there will be room for Victor and I when we come visit!