We started up early today. Had a very tasty non-Chinese breakfast at a coffee place. We just couldn’t resist waffles, eggs, toast, and ham. Been booking our butts around town in search of apartments so we rewarded ourselves with a hearty breakfast. We met up later with our realtor Johnnie Lo (whom we met in September) and his staff took us to 4-5 properties in Xujiahui district, near the well-known Jiao Tong University. We checked out a range of places, priced from $4000 kuai (8.2 Chinese yuan: 1 USD) to $6500 kuai. Finally settled on a modest apartment in prime district location. 2 BR/1 BA, 2nd floor. The furniture is a little funny with random music prints, but John and I are certainly no HGTV watchers so it’s all good. and we get a piano! So the deal was nearly done except we spent the rest of the day (Saturday) searching for a bank to convert our supposedly convenient, as-good-as-cash traveler’s checks. Here, most transactions are done in cash so we needed 3 month’s rent up front for the lease. Went to about 8 or 9 banks. None would take the damn checks. Got Visa on the cell phone, no luck still. So the deal stalls until Monday (most banks are closed Sunday). What a frickin’ pain. But we are very excited to finally have a place… time to get the doggies back. The good thing is that this extra time buys me time to fax the contract over to my parents for translation services. Now hopefully the landlord won’t rent the place to another before Monday morning.