Hello Singapore, goodbye 34th floor Great World City, and welcome to 11th floor in Holland Hill!
First thing we did after we got off the plane (one night in a hotel before the big move) was to rush off to Jumbo seafoods for some proper Chinese cooking. Calamari, BBQ tilapia and some delicious steamed kai lan (a kind of spring cabbage) with garlic. Too disoriented to take photos I’m afraid!
Next morning, bright and early – 8 am to be precise – found us outside the Ministry of Manpower to register for residency and work permits. We had no appointment, but were through in 15 minutes. Singapore never ceases to surprise at its efficiency, and politeness.
Then off to Parivs apartments to meet Glenn our relocation manager and – ta-da – we enter our new abode. Much better than I remembered, marble floors and white walls throughout and devoid of other people’s ghastly furniture.
Within minutes the air-freight has arrived (bedding, hoover and iron – domestic goddesses never travel without, don’t you know – and of course desk-top computer, TV, and dvd player). Quickly followed by the cable man who installs wi fi etc in a trice; the IKEA delivery of two beds – but heavens – we have no water, electricity or gas, and the stuff we left in Singapore has not arrived either, plates, kives, forks and glasses…so Ross has to zoom down to nearby store for lunch and cold beers! After lunch the electricity and water are switched on at precisely 2 pm as requested, and my two lovely Burmese chairs arrive, followed by the balcony furniture. Only the Gas Man cometh not till Friday…so luckily no way I can cook until then!
In fact the gas was the only low point of this care-free move. Man came at appointed hour on Friday, stayed all of 7 minutes, turned everything on, showed me how to switch it off when we go away. Come evening and first gourmet meal ready to go in the wok – Thai red fish curry (paste hand-made of course), with Chinese broccoli – and no gas!
Several phone calls to afore-mentioned Glenn and two gas men arrive within 15 minutes! Can you believe that in between the man turning us on, another man had come and taken our meter away altogether. Wah!
But all is not lost, these two lovely men have one in their van, it is duly fitted and we are eating by 9.30. It really is efficient here, even when there’s a glitch
Off to sample the victuals in Holland Village, first night a rather mediocre meal in Crystal Jade (Cantonese, rather than Shanghai, so no noodles or dumplings), but the second night a really delicious curry at Kinara – house special chicken, Kerala fish curry, okra and black dhal.
Meanwhile Ross has been back at work and I have been exploring the local shops – bought some fine new cushions, some lovely Egyptian cotton sheets (all the ones I bought did not fit as Ross bought beds larger than instructed!).
No move is complete without the mandatory trip to IKEA and we fill the numerous gaps left in my meagre transportation of goods from England – which of course are yet to arrive – guest duvet (bed now too big!), laundry baskets, loo brushes, rubbish bins, lamps – bedside and living room – etc etc. It was really not too bad; as it’s open till 11pm I think people don’t all come at once.
Our balcony is stinking hot in the middle of the day, so Saturday finds us back in Great World City buying a floor fan (sorry English people, they are abundant here, can I get one for you?); a printer/scanner as I have found someone in London to transcribe my mother’s letters, which I plan to edit into book form; and a must-have for here – a rice cooker!
Meanwhile the new lap pool is 60 m long and I have started my daily 1 km workout, pre-ceded by the gym. Ross – who for those who haven’t picked up on this – has become addicted to swimming and has started lessons with a local TI (Total Immersion) teacher. Whatever keeps him happy – although he looks ridiculous ploughing up the pool in his swimming snorkel.
And tomorrow we are off to Shanghai, me for a week, Ross for a bit longer. Louise’s dear friend Jess lives there so we are looking forward to a more local experience of the sights, and some gastronomic adventures.