Friday, January 30, 2009

TV Department Farewell Breakfast

I feel like I've just surfaced from a Black Hole, and suddenly it's my last day of work today.

Been busy sorting out stuff (as usual) before the big move, but yesterday, the girls from the TV department took me to breakfast at the Rhodes Memorial restaurant.

It's a really pretty drive up to the top of the hill... or is it mountain? ...through a wooded forest. Apparently this place is infamous for University of Cape Town students making midnight pit-stops here for making out.

Right next to the memorial is a huge field where you can spot game animals such as zebra, wildebeest and the like... it's 5 minutes away from the city, yet it feels like you're somewhat out in the bush. Except the views you get are spectacular, of the Cape Town CBD.

These are the lovely people I work with...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Wishing you a prosperous and peace-filled year of the Ox.

Too bad I'm not home for the reunion dinner... missing the Fa Cai and Abalone! ...we've just had HUGE burgers for lunch, so don't think we're gonna do anything Chinese-y for Chinese New Year.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's Been a LOOOOOONG & Busy Week

Where do I begin?'s been pretty quiet on this blog coz I've been MAD HECTIC trying to get our lives organized and sorted.

It started with our burst geyser on Friday, we were waterless over the weekend, and then the plumber finally decides to rock up only on Tuesday. They couldn't get the new hot water pipes up the stairs, so they pulled it up by our balcony instead.

Then they managed to get the new geyser up the spiral stairs.

While they were uninstalling the old tank and putting in the new tank, the downstairs neighbour, whose garden our water overflow flows out to, comes storming up to our flat and yells "Why don't you have the courtesy to inform your neighbours that you're working on your geyser and there'll be water flowing out to my garden?!" ...of course I had no idea there'd be MORE water flowing... after all, our flat was dry as a desert, the water mains had been shut off for 4 days, how the heck was I supposed to know that there's still water from the old tank that'll pour out through the overflow when they take it out?! It's the first time it's happened to me!!

So I'm apologizing like mad to the old bat, who wasn't satisfied with my apology, and insisted "Who's your plumber? He's a bad plumber if he doesn't tell you what to expect, and doesn't tell your neighbours!" ...and she storms upstairs to confront our plumber, who by this time is pretty irritated with her.

As I'm apologizing to her again, the plumber turns around and says "Enough! This lady has apologized to you 1000 times already, and you won't take sorry for an answer! Everywhere I go, there's always got to be one of YOU in the block! What do you want from us now?"


By now the neighbour's bristling, incensed at his audacity and she keeps going on about how two of her R250 plants have been damaged in the process, and then the plumber says "Lady, before we took out the tank, I looked downstairs and saw that you already had 2 big garbage cans positioned where the overflow comes out, so I knew that the water wouldn't be damaging anything". I looked, and it was true! She had huge pails to collect water, which had obviously been there since our geyser burst last Friday. (which, incidentally, she didn't tell us about until 5hrs later, when she told the next-door neighbour who then had to call us. She didn't even have the decency to come upstairs to inform us!!)

The old lady keeps going on about the same thing again, and this time the plumber cuts her off and says "Look, I'm happy to reimburse you for your plants but if you keep going on like you are, I'm going to have to charge you for my time that you're wasting now!!"


I didn't know whether to laugh at the situation or continue to play the bimbo, apologizing for the situation. Of course his attitude didn't help either and the neighbour storms out the house, insisting on getting his name and number, as well as MY name and number and threatens to call the Body Corporate. Grr. Anyways, Kelly manages to call her directly and played the good cop, soothing her ruffled feathers.

And today, we had the movers come and pack up the rest of our personal effects. We're not taking any furniture with us, since we've rented the place out as fully furnished. I'm dead scared of having excess baggage on the flight there, since I always seem to get nailed, so I insisted on packing my suitcase, weighing it, and whatever else beyond 25kg that doesn't fit in the bag would then have to get shipped and I won't see it till 3 - 6 months' time. (that's a long time!)

This is the state of the house last night:

And that's Kelly playing his Playstation PSP while I'm fussing around.

There's piles of stuff for "to be shipped", "to be packed with us", and "to be given away.

Allied Pickfords came this morning, and I must say this is the way to move your life! Four of them swooped into the house, surveyed what had to be moved, brought the relevant boxes up, and in just ONE HOUR, managed to pack our lives up into just 14 boxes!

Even our shoes were individually wrapped in paper, in pairs.

And since we've got 3 suitcases for some reason and can only check in a maximum of two, the other one has got to be shipped too. Which came in handy since some of the clothes could be packed in the suitcase.

Apparently with all international removals, they will have to pack up the stuff, to ensure that they know what goes into the boxes. I don't mind it all, it's almost like having your own butler service. :)

Plus, at the end of it, they number each box with a reference of what went into each box so it's easier when you're unpacking when it arrives on the other side.

Of course what's Kelly doing while I'm traipsing up and downstairs, getting the movers organized? He's watching the cricket, with the TV volume cranked up super high. One-Day International: South Africa beat Australia by 4 wickets, whatever that means!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Blog Description Has to Change

I just realized today that I can no longer describe this blog as "Singaporean in South Africa" since I'll be leaving Cape Town in about 2 weeks!

Hmm... In the meantime I've changed the blog description to "My life in pink". HAHAHA. Kinda cheezy, but it's literally about my life written in pink font, it's got an air of whimsy about it... and I dunno... I'm still thinking of other descriptions coz this blog is kinda random and haphazard, depending on what life throws at me. Innit.

Comments/ suggestions are welcome!

Saturday, January 17, 2009


So it's true - our geyser really did burst. Thank goodness there's a tray underneath it which caught the excess water which flowed out through the overflow pipe into the neighbour's garden downstairs. So at least there's no water damage anywhere!

Unfortunately, because it happened on a Friday, there's no way anyone would come round to install a new geyser over the weekend. So we're waterless till at least Monday or Tuesday. It's unbelievable how you take water for granted, and how much of it you actually need. We went to buy a large 4 litre water bottle, and in less than a day it's 3/4 empty already.

Brushing your teeth alone uses more than 3 mugs full of water and even then, I'm still unable to wash ALL the toothpaste gunk out from between the bristles. Got to 'rough it' a bit and leave my toothbrush in less than pristine condition while we haven't got running water.

I had to shower at the yoga studio today, and that's probably the one and only shower I'll have today (it's middle of summer, with sweltering African heat). Kelly had to pop round to his mom's for a shower. We can't even do laundry or do the dishes! ...but that's not a bad thing coz we can be lazy and eat out.

We went to the neighbourhood Japanese restaurant last night, and amidst our moving stress and geyser misery, at least their menu made us laugh.

"Waiter, 1 raw ass, please! Would you recommend the large ass or special ass?"

Friday, January 16, 2009


Has it really been only 2 days since I last posted? It honestly feels like a week has gone past.

I've been stuck in a minefield of redtape, from sorting out visas... to shutting down home services like the internet, mobile phone... transferring bank account info... finding out about excess baggage services... phoning removal companies for quotes (Allied Pickford is by far the cheapest and most professional and most contactable, and sees through the entire job without partner companies... if you ever needed to know).

At this point, I'm too late to enter on a defacto spouse visa, so will have to go in on a tourist visa first, then figure my way through more redtape on the other side. For some reason, all South African travel agents quoted me TWENTY WORKING DAYS to get a tourist visa sorted, but I called my travel agent in Singapore, who got it done in FIVE MINUTES. All electronically. And for free! Singapore good ah. I still can't believe it... 20 days versus 5 minutes!!!

(Picture credit:

I've been at work, but I've barely been at work, if you know what I mean... Every other minute something new pops up in my mind about what else needs to be done, or an email from a Sydney housing agent comes through or the neighbour phones and says "I think your geyser's burst - there's water pouring into the downstairs' neighbour's garden"...

Great!! Just what we needed at this point in time! (Thank goodness the new tenant has signed the lease!)

Kelly's home now with the plumber that the home insurance guys sent... but I just feel like curling up into a ball and pressing the fast-forward button till 6 months' time now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bureaucracy Rocks My World

...Yeah right.

I'm trying to stay positive about it. I was gonna title it "Bureacracy RULES my world", but then thought that was coming from a negative place so I'm gonna think happy, positive thoughts while we mission around, dealing with red tape getting our lives sorted and packed up this side.

Just this morning alone, we went to the Sea Point police station to get a police clearance certificate. To prove we're not gangstas. Police stations are not nice places to be in. Even if you've never committed a crime, somehow it just feels intimidating to be in there.

Now imagine being in a South African Police Station. Yeah... one of the most hardcore police systems in the world coz they've got to deal with pretty hardcore thugs. It was rather frightening and I had a knot in my stomach the whole time. It was probably all in my head coz I didn't see anything out of the ordinary, and the policeman at the Inquiry desk was friendly, but the energy of the place was just kinda angsty.

To begin with, there's a huge police badge on the outside of the station, but the inside of the badge where you usually see the logo or animal mascot of a government institution was missing. Yes, I kid you not. All you saw was the fancy star-shaped frame, but with nothing on the inside!! Kelly refused to let me take a photo of it coz I'd be "inviting trouble". It was pretty classic!

We waited 15 minutes for the lady at the clearance desk to show up. Please excuse the crappy photos today. Forgot to take my camera with, and these are shots from my pooey HTC Touch Dual mobile phone with no auto focus and only 2 megapixels. And the touchscreen is starting to die on me every now and again but that's a different story for a different time.

(The logo on this poster is the same exact badge on the outside of the police station. Now imagine just the star frame, but with nothing in the middle!!)

As you can see, it says "R59" on the poster. The very sweet and kind lady asked us for our money, and when we both gave exactly R60 each, she seemed to perk up just a little bit, with a wider, toothier grin. It struck me as a little strange, but sweet. She then took our documents and money, and disappeared into another room.

Her little office was kind of sad and drab - almost like sitting in a concrete prison cell from the '70s. She didn't even have a computer! We must've waited for only 5 minutes for her, but I was crawling up the walls already, wanting to get out... Her walls were covered with all kinds of quotes from Einstein to passages from the bible, interspersed with police force posters.

She came back a while later, plonked herself on her chair, then said "Oops! I forgot your 2 Rand change." ...then proceeded to fill up the forms with no intention of getting up off her seat again.


I was dying to burst out laughing coz it was so obvious she was intending to pocket the change regardless, but had to bite my lip. As she filled up those forms, I did mental calculations... if she had 10 people a day for 5 working days over a month, that's a pretty decent extra R200 a month she's making! ...poor thing, that probably only barely covers her transport though... so of course we let it slide. She was really very sweet.

She "inked" our fingers - the entire digit all the way down to just before your palm, and used PAINT for this. They don't use ink. They use PAINT. I checked the tube she used coz it was so sticky, and it said "Black Paint". !!!!!! ...and this also explains why right next to her desk was a sink.

She said "you can use the hand gel by the window." ...I looked up, expecting to see... oh, I dunno... a Dettol hand gel pump thing or something (that's what you'd imagine when someone says "hand gel") but instead found this industrial sized tub of green gunk. Remember the Slime gel toy from the '80s when we were growing up? ...yeah, it was kinda sorta like the Slime gel colour, and millions of people before me had already dipped their hands into it coz you could see imprints of fingers in the semi-solid "hand gel". There were also huge smears of black paint in the gel and on the sides of the tub, AND! On top of this, there was about half an inch of (dirty) water floating on top of the green gunky gel.

I almost threw up as I dipped my hands into the gel. I was trapped. I had to use it or I couldn't get the sticky paint OFF! Plus, I was carrying my favourite white bag and couldn't afford to get any bit of dirt on it! EWWWWWWW!!!!

Unfortunately, I couldn't get any photos at all of this ordeal coz my hands were filthy (before AND after washing them).

Next stop: Traffic Department. Kelly just realized his driver's license expires in March, so he couldn't get an international driver's permit. The funniest thing is while the Traffic Department has a huge facility in Green Point, you can't take photos on site. You've got to cross the road into what literally looks like somebody's garage that's been converted into a "photo studio".

(This is a front attachment to a house that sits behind it!)

This is what the inside looks like:

Apologies for the crap quality photo, but I really couldn't find any focal point where this frickin' camera-phone would focus!

He came out looking like a sun-tanned Arab! Pretty good quality photo, even if for a backyard (or is it frontyard) studio.

We spent another couple of hours waiting in line at the Traffic Dept. ARGHHHH!!! At least we had other things to keep us amused. Like the "signboard" for the Enquiry Counter. In the first place, it wasn't even a proper signboard. Someone had printed out huge letters, one letter per A4 page, to make up the "sign" that said "Enquiries Counter". I guess someone else waiting in the queue must've been REALLY bored, coz they took the "O" away from "Counter" and you got this:

Ahhh... the state of these sorry South African goverment departments... I'm sure there'll be more tales to tell in the days to come.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's Official: We're Moving!

OK, so I'm letting the cat out the bag now...

The contract's been signed and it's an official deal: KELLY & I ARE MOVING TO SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA!!!!!

It's all pretty exciting stuff. He's been offered a position as Deputy Creative Director at an agency there (I probably shouldn't say where until he starts, so I won't say where publicly on this blog. Email me and ask!) He's starting work the second week of February, so we've got less than a month to get our s**t together. S**T!!!

The ink's barely dry off the contract, but we've already been running with it, prepping to leave. In one day, we called an agent to rent the flat out, she came to see it at 11am, sent a prospective tenant round at 5pm, and by 6pm we had our first offer. Which we took. WAHHHHH!!! Pretty happening.

So now it's time to call removal companies and get quotes in, sort out visas, throw stuff out, pack stuff up, sort flights out... it's also time to start looking into setting up a life over there including renting a flat, doing up my CV (which I've done already - including uploading my reel... which explains why I set up last week.) ;p ...heh.

The sleepless nights have already begun. Even if I manage to doze off, within an hour or two I'll be up again thinking of what other little detail I might have missed out. The other night, I woke up at 2am and couldn't sleep again, so I started researching headhunters and job recruiters and sending out a flurry of cover letters & CVs until the sun came up.

It's not that I'm in full-on panic mode (yet), but it's an unsettling time now and even though I might not be thinking of any one thing in particular, it feels like there's lots of pieces floating around in there somewhere. And I've been bursting to put it on this blog but had to be discrete until everything was finalized, of course.

So now it's only starting to sink in... WE'RE MOVING TO SYDNEY!!!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Weekend in Pearl Valley, Paarl

One of the great things about living in Cape Town is that you're never too far away from yet another beautiful place to visit, within an hour's drive away.

This past weekend, we went up to Pearl Valley estates in Paarl. The last time we were there was about a year ago for Christmas 2007. Kelly's friend's dad has a holiday home on the golf estate there and we were invited to go hang out with them.

Fabio came along with us in our NO-AIRCON car (in 34 degree heat).

We drove past scenes as varied as pylons... vineyards.

We got lost along the way, since it's been about a year since we were last there, but good old Fabio whipped out his latest toy, the Nokia E71, and turned on the GPS navigation system. We nicknamed the voice "Nikky the Nokia Navigator". She was just like the Garmin system, but better, since she is also a phone.

The boys were pretty sure we'd taken the right turn-off, but Nikky kept saying "U-turn and take the next turn-off". We decided to follow her, but then she made us U-turn again... I think she had a set path to follow and we had to backtrack in order to get onto her path instead (instead of the Garmin chick who tells you she's "Recalculating path..." if you take the wrong direction). Whatever, we made it there in the end. We were all impressed this lady could read maps. And give better directions than the boys.

We took a short detour to the Paarl Mall to pick up groceries for the weekend, and I was amused to find a branch of the Christian bookstore here as well:

No, seriously. They're a Christian bookstore and I think the name is an acronym for something (I think it stands for something like "Christian United Ministries" or something...?) but it's a rather unfortunate, ironic store name.

Anyways, we finally made it to our destination.

It's basically a gated community out amongst the wine estates in Paarl. There's a golf course here and houses that are built on the property, spread out around the course. The whole idea is to get city slickers to own a second home here and drive their golf buggy from the garage directly onto the course.

Security here is TIGHT! There are cameras and guards everywhere, and you need to sign in before they'll allow you to your host's home.

...which is a great thing coz there's hardly anywhere else in this country where you could leave your front door AND back door open and not have to worry about thieves. On the inside, it's basically like the well-manicured golf course extends out to the homes... it reminded me of St. Francis Bay (but with tiled roofs instead of thatch), very peaceful, suburban living (but out in the country) where all the houses kinda sorta look the same but not really.

Tim's dad's place is absolutely GORGEOUS!

Tim's been living in London for the past year or so, and it was cool to finally see him and his foreign imports - his Swedish girlfriend and her identical twin sister were also here on holiday.

That's not really beer in our hands. We both don't drink alcohol. I'm allergic, and Tim's into the Art of Living. So he found 0% alcohol beer and non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice in a champagne bottle. Seriously.

I was looking forward to it, but the moment I had a sip of the beer, I realized how gross it actually tastes and how much I DON'T miss it.

Of course we had a braai. Every South African social gathering involves a braai. Except this one was a gas braai, with no need to fuss with coals and getting fires burning... it was all rather civilized. The next braai we get will definitely have to be a gas braai.

Kelly actually COOKED!

Him and Fabio were having a gay time.

It all looked nice and cooked on the outside, but apparently the meat was raw on the inside. HAHAHA. He'd turned up the gas too high! even a gas braai can go wrong.

We ate, drank, were merry... and then all too soon had to make the trip back to Cape Town the next morning. Tim and I practiced some yoga on the outdoor patio before we left, and it's so peaceful out there I told Kelly that the next place we have has got to have a garden!

We came back rested and recharged and ready for the week (Well ok, not quite ready for the week, but it helped...)
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