Singapore Adventure

Friday, June 17, 2005

Fraser Place: Mamma Mia!
by venitha

Until our ocean shipment arrives in Singapore (it was packed 5/22 but as of 6/17, it still hasn't left the US), we're going to be living in Fraser Place, a service apartment. If we were planning to stay a year or less, HP would put us up here for the entire time. While this place certainly has its advantages, after a week here, we're happy that we'll be moving out relatively soon.

Best things about our service apartment:
  • Location. Right on the riverwalk at Robertson Quay; just a short walk from Ft Canning Park and two MRT stations. Living here has validated our desire to live an easy walking distance from the MRT. It rocks.
  • Free shuttle to work for Jim. I haven't yet used the free shuttle to and from shopping districts (for the missus).
  • Free breakfast. Lots of variety, including some kinda scary Japanese foods (Jim has been very brave) and, strangely, sandwich fixings. Our regular choice has become a muesli of cereal and lots of different dried fruits (at least we think - hope - it's fruit) topped with yogurt and fresh bananas.
  • Daily maid service. I could get a little too used to this.
  • Awesome pool and fitness center. While the weather here results in regular urges to jump in fully clothed, we have so far only been in the pool up to our knees.
  • The swanky tropical resort feel. It feels like we're living at Sandals, minus the beach and, tragically, minus the ubiquitous blended beverages, though the Beach Bar on the corner by the riverfront does its best to compensate for both. Seriously, we're hard-pressed to come up with a destination for a weekend getaway in the next few weeks. We don't have the energy to be real tourists anyway, so someplace generically relaxing has its appeal. But how would a beach resort be any different from here?
  • Pizza smell in the lobby. Really good pizza smell. Oh, man, let's go get some pizza. The Italian restaurant next door is brilliant in its marketing.
  • All the Aussie accents. Lots of the other guests here are Australian and have that sexy accent that says "I'm smart" like the British accent but replaces snootiness with a dash of the rogue. It's also gloriously much easier for us to understand than Singlish (Singaporean English).
  • Easy walking distance to two (count 'em TWO) grocery stores. Cold Storage, one of the main grocery chains in Singapore, and Meidi-ya, a Japanese grocery chain. We wandered hungrily into Meidi-ya at 7pm the other night and discovered them marking down all their sushi - bonus!
Not the best things about our service apartment:
(Some of these are not specific to this place but are attributes of Singapore housing in general that we'll have to get used to.)
  • The washer/dryer combo unit takes 4 hours to run a single load, and that's just the wash.
  • Light switches have 'off' in the 'up' position and are outside of the room. I hope this is the same in our ultimate apartment; by the time we're used to it, we'll be moving out.
  • Gotta remember to turn the water heater on in advance of needing hot water. At least the water is already starting out pretty warm; room temperature averages about 80.
  • The world's heaviest chair. It's small, but it packs a punch! It's the chair to the bedroom vanity, which is of course the chair here that we move the most. You have to use two hands to move it, and you must pick it up - it's way too heavy to slide on the carpet. I can't imagine what it's made of. Jim keeps listing off heavy metals as suspects: plutonium? deuterium? durian? Oh wait.
  • The world's smallest kitchen garbage can. It's teeny, but a cool design. The garbage can itself is attached to the cabinet door under the sink, and its lid is attached to the wall inside the cabinet. Open the cabinet door, and the garbage can slides out from under its lid. Close the cabinet door, and the garbage can slides back under the lid.
  • No wireless internet. I'm surprised how much I miss this, especially in this small place.
  • European-style bedding (meaning no top sheet, just a comforter with its own sheet-like cover). So it's really hot, but you can't just cover yourself with a sheet.
  • Nothing is blue! Dusty maroon, beige, and mustard. There is a distinct lack of my favorite color scheme in this place, and I'm feeling it. This could have entertaining consequences once we finally get into our own place and start furniture shopping. And just when I'd vowed to give another color a try here in Singapore, too. Sorry, Jim!
  • Chatty plumbing. Any time you run water in any way, it is the subject of much loud discussion between the sink, the toilet, the shower, and the washing machine, all in some gurgly language that I don't understand. And it doesn't sound like they like me.
  • Abba-esque floorshow in the courtyard. I'm frightened to think what it must be doing to our brains to fall asleep to this four nights a week. Will we now think of this place every time we hear "Mamma Mia"? Quite the contrast to the wonderful memories of the snowy pre-ski mornings at Steamboat that "Dancing Queen" evokes.