It took me almost three years in Beijing to get to know BeijingCafe and its advantages! Last year I heard of BeijingCafe, a yahoo group, for the first time. It seemed to me an amazing source of information. If you want to know where to buy e.g. silk, you raise this question at BeijingCafe and the members who know where would eventually write back.
Well, I thought, I am living here since a while and did not feel the urgent need to get more information that I already had about life in this city. But who knows, there might be some shopping secrets out there that this group likes to share more openly with you then your neighbours or friends ....
So I asked my friend who had told me a couple of times about BeijingCage to invite me (it took me a while to find out, that you need to be invited). She tried once, we forgot about it and she tried twice. It did not work out. Some more monthes passed by until another friend told me that she had heard about this and that and I wondered how she got these hot info - BeijingCafe, you know? Oh, yes, please invite me. She forgot about it and so do I. Until a third friend told me that she has found something, maybe a great tailor or so, via BeijingCafe. BeijingCafe? Can you invite me? Please! Sure. She did it the same day and I received an invittion the same day! Great! And since I am a member, I am "branche", connected.
It turns out very handy!
One might think, why becoming a member of a Beijing online group when leaving?
It is the right time!
I had to find a job for my ayi. In July? The month every expat goes on holiday? I thought this will be impossible. Probably I need to pay her a month salary for bridging the gab until she finds a new job. But, wait a moment. Why not post her on BeijingCafe. This group has 1.300 members by now. So I wrote a nice recommendation and I got answers! My ayi had over a dozen job offers and enough interviews to find herself a convenient job in an even more convenient location at a higher salary!
Then I thought. What to do with my big Mercedes pedal car? We have no more space in the container, and my son definately does not play with it anymore. Where to sell it when not in China. I asked the neighbourhood, thought about posting it at Jenny Lou -but wait - BeijingCafe is the solution. A minute after I posted the used toy, I got already the first requests in my email box. And the next day it was gone! For a fair price. Fantastic.
Right now, in BeijingCafe the most popular topic is about Olympic tickets: The hurdles of picking them up, during holiday, with middle names and how to transfer it etc. I also checked here whether someone would buy our tickets. Oooh, what a flood of emails I got....
One last BJC story for today: For our farwell party I miscalculated the need of alcohol and am sitting now on a stock of liquor that I cannot pack in the container. What a pitty! I was trying to figure out which bottle I would give to whom, when I read another post on BJC about 'free tampons' that have already been picked up (!). People sell / give away and are looking for some strangest things sometimes...
So I thought, when someone would go to a strangers house to pick up two boxes of tampons, maybe I can find someone via BJC that would come to my house and buy my stock of various wines - white and red, new and old and gins and digestives. So I wrote: I am selling the lot, all 13 bottles together... and I just pressed the sent button when I got a phone call, several emails and one sms - all agreed the price and wanted to buy my leftovers. (Mmmh, maybe the French 1999 bottle is a collector item??)
PS: When you are interested, please don't ask me to invite you... I am leaving and busy. But check out this link: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Beijingcafe/
Sorry for no perfect link - I entered blogger via an anonymous proxy and it does not show all the features for posting links and photos etc.