Wednesday, September 5

Why can't we find a place to live in Bangkok?

I know you are asking, "What's the problem?  Why can't they find an apartment?  How hard can it be to find a place to live?"  I asked the same question. In a city with a population of 6 million people, why can't we find a place to live?  After endless hours of scouring websites, relocation services, and recommendations from friends, here is a sampling of the results:

1) I really liked this accommodation, as it included toilet paper, not a toilet, but, if we found a toilet, we would have toilet paper.
Bright, sunny room, toiletries included
2) This apartment has the feel of a 'pensione' with direct access to the street life of Bangkok. 
Major Curb Appeal
3) This is the view outside the bedroom window of the apartment in the photo above.  I don't know who the girl in the picture is - maybe she is a guest, maybe she is the owner, or maybe she was just photoshopped into the picture?
A Room with a View
4) This is a picture of the amenities included in the rental price of the apartment above.
Telecommunications & Network Connectivity

5) Of course on the other end of the spectrum, if I had many 000,000,000.00 in my bank account, I could have had this...
Would work in a pinch
 6) I could have suffered through this...
Enough space for visitors
We weren't having any success, so I joined a social property website.  Property owners and renters create profiles similar to Facebook and they can add referrals to the profile. If you have many positive references people are more likely rent their apartments to you.  Obviously, I didn't have any references.  So, I asked a few creative friends to write a referral for me and here is what they came up with:

"I have known Virginia for more than 30 years. We have rented places together and she keeps the rental property so clean. I love renting places with her because does all the cleaning!! She is such a neat and tidy person." 

The only part of that quote that is true is that my name is "Virginia."  Here is another referral from one of my friends:
"I consider Virginia to be one of my most trusted friends. I have been like an aunt to her two fabulous children. I almost delivered her son, Timmy jr, when Virginia's water broke while hiking in the Colorado Mountains together. She is the only woman I would trust with my email password. I went through a tough time last year when my father passed away. Virginia was there for me and even cooked two weeks worth of food for four children and me. She is like a gift from God. Her house is always immaculate and organized and the children are always so well behaved. I wish she would write a book and give her secrets of how she manages so well! I would trust her with my life( which I have many times- especially when driving on the Autobon)."

The only part of that quote that is true, is that she has four children.  Ultimately, the veracity of the referrals isn't so important.  The fact is, after they were posted, renters finally started responding to my emails.
Unfortunately, the social property website proved fruitless.  I began asking every person I have ever met if they knew anyone in Bangkok.  Finally I struck gold; my friend's, cousin's, college, sorority sister, lives in Bangkok and she is the nicest person in Thailand.  She helped us to find a furnished apartment at The Chatrium Residences in Sathorn and she helped us to negotiate an excellent rate.  Here is a picture of the bedroom:
That grey chair is more comfortable than it looks
OK, so it doesn't look exactly like the picture, but we do have that grey chair and the little table.  We also have the TV and the exact same phone you see here in the picture.  I'm not sure I would describe it as "A Remarkable Oasis," but, I would say that's it perfect for us.  The staff is very nice.  They even made a cake for Timmy's birthday and sent a card from "The Chatrium Team."  So, The Chatrium is our new home in Bangkok.

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