Singapore Adventure

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

by venitha

Last November, when a merlion knocked boldly on our front door, I checked out every book on Singapore in our local library. Each painted the same picture: Singapore is hot, and Singaporeans like to eat and to shop. Half an hour of reading completely squashed my excitement and had me telling Jim to forget it. Yet nine months later, here I am, and I have a great deal shopping to do. Well, I have come to the right place!

Shopping in Singapore is seductive. Advertising mesmerizes from unexpected locations: video monitors on the bus, moving billboards in underground pedestrian walks, the very pavement of Orchard Road. Curving fingers of arctic air waft from shop doorways and beckon you inside.

For the last month, I stoically resisted temptation. Not only did I not know what we would need, but I also had nowhere to put it and would soon have to pack and to move it myself. Forget it. Today, however, all that has changed: I have a home of my own. Gentlemen, start your engines; let the shopping begin.

  • Park Mall: three stories of furniture furniture furniture. We brought very little with us, so the salespeople adore me and curry my favor with water, candies, and, my favorite, Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Last week, I bought a dining room table and chairs and an L-shaped black leather sofa. Tragically, neither was from the store with the chocolates. Perhaps I'll have to go back and look some more?

  • Mustafa: the Wal-mart of Singapore. One-stop shopping for all the necessities the morning after our ocean shipment arrived: wall outlet adapters and a power strip, plastic hangers, shelf paper, and a hot water pot.

  • Cash Converters: an international chain of re-sale shops with several locations in Singapore. If I wanted to decorate our apartment with those psychotic waving kitties and smiling buddhas, this place would be of great assistance. And it also stocks oodles of small kitchen appliances and electronics. My mother would love this store. Our first expedition met success: an iron and a three-tiered steamer, oval-shaped to accommodate fish.

  • Ebay. While the selection is a bit limited compared to that enjoyed in the US, Singapore plays a trump card by eliminating shipping costs. Most items here are exchanged in person at an MRT station. My first winning bids: a clock radio and a set of 4kg dumbbells.

  • Ikea. Wildly popular here in spite of the way it is pronounced: icky-uh. Somehow this amuses only me and Jim. On our list: closet shelves, shoe racks, reading lamps, and, to my extreme annoyance, a full-size bedframe. Always always always assemble new furniture before shipping it 10000 miles. Always. Hopefully there will be demand for a queen-sized bedframe on ebay, though delivery by MRT will certainly pose a challenge.

Our most fun purchase so far is a subtle nod to Colorado: a pretty purple carabiner we've used to raise the living room lamp a couple of inches. Jim was in grave danger of brain damage, and he's going to need to remain employable if he's to finance all this shopping.