This morning they delivered Lobo at 10:30 AM. He has been lying around most of the day. I’m not sure if he’s confused or tired but this afternoon we will be taking him across the street to the reservoir for a nice long walk. It’s nice to have him home, although his hair has already taken over the apartment!
Cool thing happened today at the quarantine…. As we were approaching the gate of the quarantine we saw something moving around in the stairs nearby. As we got a bit closer, we noticed that it was a monkey!! A little capuchin monkey sitting there on the steps eating a coconut! So cool! I sat there and watched him for a bit and took some pictures. I wonder if he comes to taunt the dogs!
One of our difficulties so far is that we don’t have an employment pass yet. This is impacting our ability to open up a bank account, get internet, and even buy a TV in some places. Today we decided jump the gun and go to a few banks to find out what is needed from our end, in order to open up a bank account. We figured that we would plan ahead and at least get all the stuff we needed ready, so that when the employment pass finally comes in, we are ready to go. Well, we went to HSBC first, as it’s one of the biggest banks out here. They told Tariq what documents he needed, in order to open up a bank account and then asked if we were American citizens. When I told them that I was an American citizen, they told me that they would be unable to provide me with a bank account there. What?!! Yep, apparently they do not allow American citizens at HSBC in Singapore. So, we left HSBC, moved on to Citibank, whom told us that my being an American was not a problem and that they would be more than happy to open a bank account for us. Guess we will go with Citibank then.
Today when we went to visit Lobo at the quarantine, we ran into the guy from yesterday whose dog passed away in the transport. He was there with his wife and Tariq and I spent about 45 minutes talking to them and getting to know them. The guy, whose name is Tom, is from Wisconsin and his wife, Maryanne is from Vancouver. They moved to Singapore from North Dakota about a month ago. Anyhow, they invited us out to a wine and cheese place with them. Tariq and I decided to go along, as we have no friends here and thought that we need to start making some. We had a wonderful time comparing Singapore to the US and exchanging stories about our transitions here. They were also able to provide us with a lot of good advice about places to go, things to do, things like grocery delivery, pet sitters, etc. We exchanged contact info at the end of the night and Tariq and I were happy to meet another couple from the US whom we can hang out with now and then. Thanks to our visiting Lobo!
Today I went to visit Lobo, as I do every day and will be doing every day until he is home, and I met a guy whose dog is also at the quarantine. We started talking and exchanging tidbits about our journey here and the dogs’ journeys. He then went on to tell me that he was here because his wife was transferred with her job. He told me that they had used the same petrelocation company that we used and that one of their dogs didn’t make it. He told me that it was his wife’s dog and described him as a small cuddly cocker spaniel. Apparently, he made it to the first stop, which was Amsterdam and once he arrived there, he was already having a hard time. I will spare the details, as the story is sad enough already. Anyhow, they rushed him to the vet in Amsterdam, but the little guy didn’t make it. I was left so torn up with this story because the whole process of transporting a dog to the other side of the world is so anxiety provoking and stressful. This story reminded me of the real possibility that Lobo could have also not made it. Even though, they are just dogs, there’s a level of responsibility that we feel towards them, as their owners. The thought of putting Lobo through all of this and he not making it makes me realize how horribly guilty I would have felt had our story not had a happy ending. Now, I just fear having to do the whole thing all over again when we go back to the US. No bueno.
We started buying the essentials today… a new iron, new ironing board, and a new electric toothbrush since we gave our last one to Angel before we left. Excited to try this new toothbrush out, as it cost us double what it would have cost us in the US, Tariq ran to the bathroom to plug it in…. Well, strange as it may sound, there was no socket in the bathroom!! No socket in the bathroom?! This must be a mistake, we thought… so we decided to check the other bathroom. Guess what… no socket in there either! How are we supposed to use this thing? Must we charge our toothbrush in the bedroom? Makes no sense! So we asked a few locals (the lady from our management company, our realtor, etc.) and they informed us that it is not just some strange glitch at our condo, but rather, a Singaporean superstition. Apparently, there are no sockets in the bathrooms in Singapore. They could not give us the intricate detailed explanation about the history of how all of this started, but they told us that it has to do with not wanting to have electricity in a place where there is so much water….. So, our toothbrush will just have to have our bedroom as its home… weird.
Finally we were able to see our dear Lobo today. He is in a little air conditioned room in the quarantine center. He seemed healthy but smelled awful. All that travelling and sweating must be making him smell more like a monkey than a dog. He will surely need a bath before coming home. Anyhow, he was so excited to see us and wagged his tail fervently. They have a small grassy area where you can walk them, so we went there and let him run loose. Unfortunately, I don’t think his little body is equipped for Singapore’s hot and humid weather, as he began to pant within about 5 minutes of being outside. Poor guy was so excited that, even though he was panting, he wanted to keep running around. It was really nice seeing him, but when we exited his little room, he climbed up on two legs to be able to see out his window and stayed watching us crying. Broke my heart…
We made another trip to Ikea today and completed our furniture shopping. We now have a bed, a sofa, a coffee table, a dining table, a desk, a drawer set, and a tv stand. Here are some pictures of our furnished home. Now we just have to find a few knick knacks to make it feel more like home. A trip to Chinatown or Little India should do the trick.
So, today I learned something new. Singaporeans have a very nice breakfast. We went to the hawker (low cost food center) near our house and ordered some coffee, only to be informed that here it’s called Kopi. We opted for a typical Singaporean breakfast set (as it’s not called a combo here but rather a set), which included a cup of Kopi, toast with Kaya (sweet spread kind of like a fruit jam) and a soft boiled egg. We were not sure what to do with the egg, so we ate it like a soup using our spoon. We have to figure out the right way to eat this breakfast, as I don’t think you’re supposed to eat the egg this way. Anyhow, the “Kopi” was delicious! They add condensed milk and it tastes just like a Café con Leche from Miami. This will surely be one of my favorite Singapore things!
Last night was our first night in our new apartment. We were so exhausted from our Ikea trip and we were also extremely jet lagged. Because of this, we didn’t even build our bed. We decided that we would sleep on the floor. The problem is that our apartment seems to have a worm/caterpillar problem. They are everywhere. I have seen one in every room. I called the management office and apparently they are aware of the problem and are working on it. In the meantime, I hardly got any sleep because I had visions of the caterpillars crawling on me all night long. This is a problem that needs fixing, as I can’t see myself living in harmony and sharing my home with the caterpillars.