Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sundays from Singapore, part 1

Okay, I have nothing new to tell, having done nothing but whine about my sore back all weekend. So, I thought I would resurrect some emails that I sent out from our tour of duty in Singapore in 2001. It was an eye opening experience and I printed them out so I could revisit them in time. Without further ado, here is post number 1:


Sitting here with the cable guy trying to hook up the new TV, so I thought I would start a note on the first few days. They certainly have been experience-filled to say the least! Just to give you an idea, I can't run any appliance in the kitchen yet, except the dishwasher and that took a hour of reading and a trip to the grocery for "special salt."

To explain, the dishwasher is British made, I think, and has a built in water softener to handle the hard water here. There is not only a soap dispenser, but a rinse dispenser with a low level indicator, and a salt dispenser in the back of the unit for special salt. The salt has to be refilled by crawling into the machine with a pitcher at some regular interval, which it will tell me with another annoying light on the front.

The front panel is a trip in itself. Apparently the rest of the world, except us energy wasting Americans, set their appliances to different temperatures or power consumption rates depending on what they are trying to do. So, instead of a button for heavy or regular or light loads, I have to know what temperature water to use, based on the chart in the book (which is written in about ten languages including Slovenian, if you have a need,) depending on the amount of soil on the dishes and how long the cycle should run. Oh, and by the way, I have purses bigger than this machine, but the racks and little dividers are better planned and you can fit the whole elephant into this purse!

The microwave works on a similar what-wattage-do-you-need-to-cook-a-potato idea, but since I am missing the multi-language manual, I haven't a clue. The clock, however, has a mind of it's own and no matter what I do, reverts to a 24 hour clock (you know 14:00) and is constantly incorrect at that.

The oven... well, you get the picture, The cook top (known as a hob) won't work until Thursday when the gas man comes to turn it on and make sure I don't incinerate the whole building with my first meal. The good news is I have figured out the refrigerator, except that after unpacking the shelves and bins, I have spare parts...oh well. I did get the new vacuum cleaner to go, and boy can that thing suck! It has 5 power settings including "tornado vortex", "hold-on-to-small-children", and "is it on yet?"

The movers came with 7 small and very smelly guys to move in and unpack. We had the pleasure of their company for two days, but the purple cloud of odor is almost gone now. On some levels they were very entertaining, especially when they would get together to argue in various chattery languages about how to assemble something, turning it over and upside down, then one shooing the others away and getting it done right. The two full sized, stuffed toy dogs also provided some amusing moments.

We now have some semblance of a home, well, except for the 25 boxes of books sitting where the yet-to-be-delivered dining table goes and the stacks of pictures around the rooms. We need to get some carpets soon, because every time I get up off of the living room sofa, it shoots backwards on it's wheels into the dining room.

DH and I are back at the hotel one last time to use the phones to log on, so I will conclude this missive. As you can see, we are having fun and excitement here in Singapore. Supposedly we will have phone service tomorrow, but since they have told us two different sets of numbers, I will wait until they work to hand them out. I have much more to tell you all, but don't want to bore you if assembling clothes drying racks with Chinese instructions isn't your cup of tea. Please email me and let me know if you would like the latest installment of "which taxi can drive Between the lines?"

Love to everyone...Lisa


Celticspirit said...

Wow, that must have been culture shock. Were you and your hubby in the military?

barefoot gardener said...

That is so funny! I always think about things like that whenever I get too serious about travelling out of the country. I get myself so worked up worrying about if I will be able to work the toilets that I talk myself right out of going! lol

Anonymous said...

Oh I miss Singapore... we had some amazing time there! You should post the one about "tidy whitey water in your soup" if and when you find it/ have the time! Love you!!!

Penny said...

Great story Lisa, sounds like a lot of fun!

Anonymous said...

Yes post them all! you are too funny.................

Lisa said...

Thanks, Anon! I plan to post these on Sundays or whenever I get bored with having nothing else to say!