Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Apartment!

I have finally taken some photos of the apartment to share with everyone. A word of warning- the photos aren't very high quality. I found it hard to take pictures of the place, maybe because of the lighting, but partly because it's always hard to get good pictures of a whole apartment, as it usually involves squishing yourself into an awkward corner.

This is, obviously, the front door. Like most of the local apartments, there's a gate at the door with a Chinese lock on it, which means that we have to use our keys both to get in and to get out. It seems like a bit of a safety hazard to me, probably because I'm constantly misplacing my keys.
In the event of a fire, FIND YOUR KEYS!

Anyway, here we go:

The living room. We got the place furnished, and the furniture is this beautiful set- rosewood with mother-of-pearl inlay. The photo with the bird is a closeup of the back of the couch. The floors are marble, which is apparently common in Singapore. The fancy furniture and marble floors sometimes make me feel like I'm lounging around a hotel lobby. As you can see, the fans are on full blast- air conditioning in Singapore is by the room, so the two bedrooms have air, but the rest of the place doesn't.
Wooden couch = pretty, not so comfortable

The picture of the buildings is the view from the living room windows. In the distance you can see some green- a nearby nature reserve. We're lucky to have such a great view. Lots of people can only see the apartment block right next to them.
The picture of the table is the dining area, which is off the kitchen and next to the living room. In the background, you can see the bright light, which is the balcony, and the doorway just past the table is the entrance to the master bedroom. The somewhat blurry picture below is the dining area again, and you can see the balcony and the entrance to the spare bedroom (that's for you when you come to visit, Mom & Dad!). The closed door to the left is locked and our landlords use it as a storage room for some furniture, so we don't have access to it. We saw what was in it before we moved in, though, so don't worry- no dead bodies!
A good table for Settlers of Catan!

Below are pictures of the kitchen. Some things in the kitchen are different than we're used to. The stove is gas and we have to switch out the gas tanks when we run out, and we have to call the gas man to bring us new tanks. You can see a glimpse of a bright blue tank under the silver stove. Ovens aren't standard in Singaporean kitchens, so we don't have one, but we do have a countertop toaster oven. It works fine for most things, but I suppose I won't be busting out homemade cookies or whipping up casseroles anytime in the next couple of years. The refrigerator is smaller than a full-sized refrigerator, and we also have a clothes washer in the kitchen (it's the large gray box on the right in the picture above- there's a bottle of Tide sitting next to it), but no dishwasher, and no clothes dryer (also not standard in Singapore). We hang our clothes out to dry on the balcony, which we're pretty lucky to have. Most people hang their clothes out on bamboo poles that fit into special slots outside of the windows. Some days it seems like there's laundry hanging all over the city. Also in the kitchen, we have a trash chute (or a rubbish chute, as they refer to it). It's nice not to have to take the trash outside, especially because we live on the 20th floor. People have warned us that cockroaches live in the trash chutes, and sometimes come out when you open them. I haven't seen one yet, but I'm still pretty wary of opening that little blue door. In the picture below, everything looks crooked, but that's because I took the picture with the panoramic setting on my camera so that I could get the whole kitchen in. It's actually a perfectly angular kitchen. Our landlord and landlady, who own our apartment, were kind enough to leave behind all of their kitchen supplies, so we hardly had to buy anything- just a coffee pot, since most people here drink instant coffee. Coffee grounds are less common and a little more expensive.

There's also a bathroom off of the kitchen. I'll explain more about the bathrooms below- they're a little different than they are in the U.S.
The pictures below show the master bedroom. It's air-conditioned, so it's always nice to go to sleep in a nice cool room after a crazy hot, humid day. The second picture is also the master bedroom. Throughout the apartment we have lots of storage space, and the bedroom is no different. It was really nice to not have to worry about acquiring furniture like dressers and beds, especially because we don't have a car.

We also have a bathroom attached to the master bedroom. As I was saying, the bathrooms are a little different here. There's a shower head mounted on the wall in the bathroom (see picture below), and there's no shower stall around the shower head. You basically stand in the bathroom in front of the shower head and shower in the whole bathroom. The bathroom door is a sliding door like you see in some showers. There is a drain in the floor (the white square in the picture) and the floor is angled so that the water drains into it. I felt a little exposed at first- just showering in the middle of a whole room- but I got used to it pretty quickly. Another different thing is that the water heater is mounted on the wall (that's what that white box is), and you have to turn it on. So, there's no hot water in any of the sinks, only in the showers, and then only if you turn on the hot water box. The water heats up as it goes through the box. That's also a little different, but it's more eco-friendly, since hot water heaters are always using energy to keep water hot, and in the U.S. they generally don't get turned off, even when people go on vacation. Here, the water heaters only use energy when they need to, which seems sensible to me.
The picture of the bed is the spare bedroom, which also has air conditioning. It still looks pretty plain- we're trying to find a good way to hang things on our textured walls without putting holes in them.

Next is our balcony. The grates on the balcony (and in the rest of the apartment) open up, and I think they're mostly there for safety because we're so high up; it's possible that they're also there to keep out birds. We did have a little baby lizard crawl in our window the other day, though! The picture of the buildings is the view from the balcony. The buildings in our area are mostly residential like ours- Housing and Development Bureau flats, regulated by the government. We live in a part of the city that doesn't have many foreigners. A lot of the expats live in the trendy (and expensive) Holland Village, but I like it here- it seems like a more authentic way to experience life in Singapore.

And finally, that's me hanging out in the living room one night, working on the blog. Anyway, that's the tour of the apartment! If you want a better tour, come on over and I'll give you one!

1 comment:

  1. hahha
    wow this is so great to read about an American living the "real" deal in Singapore.
    hahah I lived in Ohio for close to ten years and I see the opposite !