As with any new premises, there are things to get used to. But to call them teething problems would mean this apartment has more teeth than it was supposed to.
There are however, nicer things.
In the carpark, between the parking lots, are fruit trees. Mangoes and rambutans, and the other day, an Indonesian maid from an apartment spirited a ripe pineapple back to her employer’s apartment. (I knew she was Indonesian because she yelled “Mum, ada pineapple” as she cradled the pineapple up the block.)
Walking Mac the Dog has been a good way to acquaint ourselves with our new neighbourhood, and we now know that we have a cleaner who knows everything and everyone in the compound, and we have the best security guard the landlord’s maintenance fees can buy.
In the best martial traditions of a Gurkha, he sits, unmoved by anything and I mean anything, in the guardhouse, all day, except during lunch hours. The night guard is even better. He’s a sorta stealth operator, and we haven’t seen him since we’ve moved in. Intruders, be warned.
The cleaner, now he’s a character, has been really helpful, telling me things (in Hokkien) like, “Wah, you damn suay, your apartment on the top floor on that side of the building, furthest from the refuse point, you didn’t know there wasn’t a refuse chute did you? Raining you die”.
On our second morning here, we had a reasonably long conversation in Hokkien, halfway through which he said, “You know, It is a pity not many people will know how to speak Hokkien in a generation or two. A real pity”.
Then a Caucasian woman walked past us, and he yelled, “Bonjour!”
As she tripped and responded with not as much gusto, he turned to me and said, “There are a lot of Frenchies here, so I learned a bit”.
At that point, both Mac and I felt like breaking into song.