Thursday, October 18, 2007

Making of the Spiral Staircase

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We went to the metal workshop, Striking Metal, to check on the progress of our spiral staircase today. What a beauty! She's gonna be a work of art.

These guys took 3 days scouring the scrapyards for the perfect wrought iron pipe that would be the spine of the staircase - what holds up the stairs. Then they cut the pipe into smaller pieces so each step is welded to its own little pipe column. When that's complete, they put each pipe column + welded step through another strong supporting column (like making a beaded necklace), and weld the entire thing back together again. Look closely at each step and you'll see the cut pipe.

What's cool is the pipe's nice & weathered with lots of texture, and some parts even have bits of old yellow paint on it. They're gonna take another 2 - 3 days to make a sweeping balustrade and supports and they'll be ready to winch the entire thing up to our apartment through the balcony next week. Watch this space for work-in-progress updates. Exciting!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Only in Africa Part 3: Bad Service

I have a 3G router and data card sitting on my desk at home, and it's been there since yesterday. But of course it's not working and i still don't have internet connection at home. I've spent all day today and yesterday fighting with the condescending tech support at mweb... giving various mweb tech assistants who've called up throughout the course of today THE SAME INFORMATION 3 times now... and on top of that, each time I call, the operator asks me what I'm calling for and I have to repeat my story, then she passes me on to the 3G dept., and I have to repeat my story AGAIN to the guy that picks up my call, and I've called them maybe about 7 times now, so I've repeated the same story to the same people about 14 times now, and i STILL don't have internet connection at home because "the sim card's from vodacom ma'am, not mweb, and vodacom takes up to 24hrs to activate it"... even though more than 24hrs have lapsed by now.

And because I'm now officially fed up, I've been rude, frustrated and condescending back to the mweb support guys, and miraculously, suddenly things seem to be moving a lot faster and people seem to be getting their acts together.

Why do you have to be an ass in order for people to get their jobs done properly when they should've just done it right in the 1st place?

Welcome to a country with shockingly bad service (until you bark). And you thought Singapore service was terrible, but at least they GET THINGS DONE (unless it's not on the menu. If it's not on the menu, the Singaporean doesn't know how to let you have it.) blarrrggghhhhh.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More apartment updates

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Took these photos to show the family in London, so might as well upload them here too... the desk & bookshelf are the new addition to the study. And we still have yet to re-do the stairs... the metal workshop (like everything in this country) is taking its time to sculpt our new spiral.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Family trip to London & Ben's Hampshire Wedding

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What an amazing trip - we spent a week in London before Ben's wedding, and traipsed all over town. Went on the London Eye, checked out the Tate Modern, St. Paul's cathedral, had as much Chinese and Singaporean food as I could (still not enough), made a gazilion trips to Oxford Street, went to an indie band gig in god-knows-where (near the Roundhouse Theatre) where the average age of the groupies was 18 years and all the boys wore skinny jeans (the tighter the better) with skinny scarves and sported shaggy emo haircuts, got lost in Covent Garden and ended up somewhere in Soho, saw Piccadilly Circus at night (stumbled on it by accident, again), met up with Oi and had a good girlie bonding session with one of my oldest friends (who also got interviewed by the BBC morning news while we were catching up), went to a bar that used to be a series of train tunnels and an "interpretive dance" performance was going on at the same time (the "interpretive dancer" stripped naked and had a cup of tea), met up with the parents from Singapore, sister from New York and brother and then-fiancee in London... and that was only the first part of this crazy trip.

Drove to Dogmersfield Park village, where Ben's wedding took place at the Four Seasons Hampshire - and what an amazing, fairytale princess wedding it was... I ran out of space on the camera plus the battery died on me halfway through the day but there'll be more photos from my dad I'm sure. This sets the standard for all weddings - topped off with a fireworks display that ran the entire length of the song "Diamonds are Forever", and the explosions were also timed to the song. Not joking. Arthur, the best man's speech made me laugh, Ben's own speech made me teary-eyed and sniffly, and Dee was absolutely glowing in her gown. Despite all the shenanigans from their horrendous, emotionally high-maintenance wedding planner who should really quit his day job, the day went really well for the rest of us, oblivious to the goings-on behind-the-scenes. Both Ben and Dee are just so perfect for each other, it's great seeing them so happy.

For more pictures, click on the slideshow here:

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