Since we are leaving Xiamen on Thursday morning our landlord came down from Sanming to check out our freshly emptied and cleaned apartment. They came in on the train last night, a 6.5 hour ride, and they are taking the overnight train back tonight after they verified that we hadn't totally destroyed the place.
We have heard, or read, all sorts of horror stories about landlords in China. Stories about them not helping to get things corrected, or most importantly deciding that the security deposit doesn't need to be returned for some small little item. We have friends that we told to move out because the complained about a few items in their apartment. The few times that we called our landlord, for a non-working toilet and a typhoon damaged drying rack, he called up a local maintenance guy and had it corrected. No problems, and the fact that he continued to invite us up to visit them in Sanming we figured that they were different.
They showed up, husband and wife along with Rocky whom I work with and has worked as our impromptu interpreter when we need him. Another guy in a suit followed him so that he could take some photos of the place to try and help them rent it our later, he took a photo of each room and then took off quickly.
They brought us a gift for being such good tenants, complimented Tina on her outstanding Chinese, told us again how clean it was, and mentioned how they don't want to rent to Chinese people because they are messy tenants. They would be like if Rene (the Mexican) told us he wouldn't hire Mexicans because they are lazy - it's a weird racist statement that's hard to wrap your head around.
We gave them keys and showed them paperwork for all of the bills showing them that the two accounts we had for gas and water were all paid up. He tried to give us 110 kuai to cover the cash left in the account, but we refused it saying it would cover the power we were using up now.
Finally a friend of theirs showed up that lives nearby, she will come over Thursday morning to collect our keys when we finally say goodbye, and all she said when she walked in was "干净". She walked into our kitchen and said "Ah, the laowais never cooked." Apparently if you cook you're supposed to leave your kitchen a mess - had we known we could do that and still get our deposit back it would have saved us a few extra minutes of cleaning...
Thinking we are good and thanking them as they thanked us we were invited out to lunch. They took to this as standard Chinese do and ordered more food then can reasonably be eaten. We were full and surprised when they brought out one more dish - turns out they were only halfway through bringing what was ordered. Although we said no a bottle of wine was ordered and we muscled through a lunch that was filled with cheers and "ganbei" (drink it all).
A nice lunch, and continued invites from them for us to visit Sanming when we come back to China. The guy even suggested that we form an import/export partnership once we are settled back in the States. Who knew that a little cleaning would make you such good tenants?