Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Big Move

Well, blog followers, you've probably wondered what has happened-- no postings in quite some time.

We've been a bit busy--  we moved out of our service apartment (hotel room with a kitchen) and into our permanent apartment.  Furthermore we've been entertaining guests-- our first guests in Singapore.  Our good friends Anne and Wendell stopped on their return trip to Boise, ID after trekking in Nepal for 6 weeks-- pulled up a planned lay-over in Singapore by a couple of days, which was great.  It was really wonderful to see some familiar faces.  They arrived just in time to assist us with the Big Move, which was extremely fortunate for us.
Another source of the blog silence has been some delays in getting telecom (broadband, telephone, cable TV)  established and set up at the apartment.

There are still some things yet to be done.

Elaine, Anne, and Wendell at the Singapore Chinese Gardens

No-- this is not Singapore.  This is a picture (posted without permission) from A & W's trekking tour (Annapurna Loop) in Nepal.  You will need to visit with them for stories and some spectacular photos of their trip.  I'm posting this to think cool thoughts.

Our new apartment is in a complex called The Pearl.  (See Mount Faber Park and our possible new abode) All buildings have names here as well as block numbers, and perhaps a floor and apartment or space number as well.  This is a remarkable system.  Many of the taxi drivers seem to know all the buildings by name, which has me particularly impressed since I can't  remember people names, much less the name of buildings.  We initially intended to get moved in over the weekend, but ended up spending the weekend cleaning the apartment before we could move in.  (The clean-up done by the property manager was not particularly great).
Moving required transferring five suitcases and two dish-pack moving boxes (about a meter high with a 1/2 meter square base each.  Yes, we use meters here, not feet).  That's what we arrived in Singapore with.  But then there were some bags of groceries, bags with the new toaster, electric kettle, and a few other things we've already accumulated.  I arranged to have a mini-van (7 passenger) taxi pick us up and do the deed.  However there were four of us, and with the taxi was loaded to the roof it was necessary to get a second taxi.  We convoyed over, and voila--the whole thing was over in about 20 minutes!  Sadly, no more maid service.

Our apartment cleaning exercise uncovered one surprise about the apartment.  No hot water in the kitchen.  At first we thought something was wrong with the water heater, but upon determining a good supply in each of two bathrooms, I checked the sink plumbing-- both sides of the faucet (normally 1-hot, 1-cold) were connected together!  Furthermore, the "maid's" bathroom (approximately 3-feet square-- a small shower stall with a toilet and hand shower) is not plumbed for hot water either.  Elaine has conferred with some of her work mates, and we have learned that this is very common, when the apartment is structured for maid quarters.  Live and learn.
The lack of hot water in the kitchen is neither appealing nor convenient-- we have contacted the property manager, and are investigating the installation of a small point-of-service water heater.  This is also apparently a common retro-fit over here.

One of the salient features of our apartment is the Bomb Shelter.  One of the building code requirements for apartment/condos built between about 2001 and 2007 was the inclusion of a small fortified room, for civil defense. In 2008, the building code was changed, and now apartments/condos have this emergency shelter area located in the stair wells.  I was told that Singapore emulates many of the building codes of Switzerland (?), and this was one of their requirements.  The room is about 1.5m x 2m, with a steel door, and very robust hinges and lock-- looks like the door on a bank vault.  It would be just big enough to fit a twin size bed mattress, and doubles as the maid's quarters, if you have a maid (which we don't).  The existence of a bomb shelter in an apartment is a good indicator of the age of the building of any apartment you may be considering renting.  Our building was constructed in 2003.
I'm not sure who might be attacking Singapore, or what type of ordinance this shelter would protect us from, but I don't like the thought of being in a small enclosed room on the 8th floor of a concrete building during any type of emergency.
I could see this as the ideal time-out room for parents of particularly willful and misbehaving children.  (A modern day replacement of the dungeon).

On friday, Dec 4th, our shipment of house goods arrived and was moved into the apartment.  The movers arrived promptly at the appointed time, and it was a orchestrated team effort.  Boxes and items were brought up from the car park and handed into the apartment in fire brigade fashion.  Once placed in the rooms, the boxes were each opened, and the contents neatly arranged on the floor (we have few furniture items just yet). Even the bomb shelter contents were VERY neatly arranged.
I wonder if these guys can come to the states and straighten up my garage/workshop when I return?

Anne, Elaine, Jim, and Wendell celebrate Jim & Elaine's move to The Pearl

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