Saturday, December 03, 2005

End of Singapore and welcome to the US!

Day 7 - Malaysia

Last day in Singapore was quite interesting! We went to Malaysia (S$2.40 each way on a bus!) and went through Singapore and Malaysian customs a couple of times to get in and out so now my passport has more stamps in it :)

We went to a city called Johor Bahru which is literally just across the border from Singapore. It was very different to Singapore in the way of cleanliness, and feel. In Johor Bahru I felt as though I needed to hold my bag the entire time. I had a small Kathmandu bag that goes over your shoulder and I'd been wearing in front of me, and just holding when I was somewhere busy, but in Malaysia I never let go of it. I noticed Mum, Nola and Vicki seemed to be holding their bags fairly tightly as well. There was taxi drivers trying to convince you to get in their cab and drive to you a particular shopping centre where all the tourists apparently go. They seemed to be charging a fortune for it though, and were there just as you got out of Immigration, and this shopping centre was not in our Lonely Planet guide for the area, so they seemed a bit dodgy to us, and we just kept trying to dodge them all.

We only went for a bit of a wander, and headed back to Singapore after only a couple of hours. The best part of Malaysia was the Immigration officers. They seem to like fair hair, and I got stopped going in and out as they were having a joke with me and laughing. The guy as we were leaving Malaysia was a scream, he was taking forever with people, and we were getting annoyed, but when we got up to him, he was smiling, and having a laugh at us because we were jostling to be next in line and telling mum how beautiful I was and singing to us! We had a good laugh with him.

After Malaysia we went back to our hotel and just finished off last minute shopping, got some more presents and backed our bags to leave.

Day 8 and beyond- Leaving Singapore and arriving in the US

We got up early to be at the airport by 6:30am, and went to our respective flights. I flew Singapore Airlines and they were fanastic! Great service, really yummy food, movies, tv shows and CD's on demand, so you can choose to start what you want when you want, and they had a huge range. I snoozed for maybe 45 minutes in the entire 17 1/2 hours as there was just so many movies to watch! I had two seats in my row, and we had a stop in Seoul, and from Seoul to San Fran I had the seats to myself to could stretch out a bit, and have both blankets and pillows which was a little more comfortable. Good thing too as that was an 11 hour leg or something ridiculous like that, and it was loooooong! Seemed to take absolutely forever before we finally made it!

Andrew had ordered a "limo" (which was just a nice car with a smartly dressed driver) to get me from the airport, and thankfully he was waiting for me, so could just get in the car and not have to worry abour driving or directions or anything like that.

When I got to our temporary accommodation I slept for most of the afternoon as I was pretty exhausted. The apartment is really nice and the bed is incredibly snuggly and comfortable. As soon as I get in, I feel as though the whole bed is wrapping itself around me, and I immediately fall asleep.

The next day I drove Andrew and Michael to work (the driving is nowhere near as bad as I expected!), came home, put some washing on and immediately fell back into bed and slepe for another 3 hours! I woke up at one stage and was still so exhausted that I was trying to force my eyelids open, bue I was still snoring!! I realised that waking up wasn't meant to happen so just fell back to sleep.

I've also been on my rental tour where I spent the day with out "relocation consultant" Rick who is an aboslute character - very talkative and exciteable (even by my standards!) and he showed me a bunch of apartments. Andrew and I went back today and decided on an apartment and put in an application for it.

It's only a few k's from Andrew's work, is a nice 2 bedroom, 2 storey townhouse (similar style to what we had in Watson), and less than we thought we might have to pay (but still ridiculously expensive...).

We also went to the dealership we're puying out Toyota Prius off and went for a drive in the '06 model like what we'll be getting and it was very cool! Very nice little car - great features, very maneouverable and still has plenty of power.

As Andrew and Michael have been working, I've been driving them to and from work every day so I can have the car and it's been so easy driving. Driving on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road is easier than expected. Yuo tend to drift to the right hand side of the lane a bit as you're used to your head being in the right side of the lane not the left, and I reach for the hears to my left rather than the right, but that's about the only problems. The exits can be a bit scary as well. You take an exit, but at that same exit, people are coming on to the freeway , and the exit often has 2 exits to different roads, so you need to be in the correct lane to get to the correct exit (by reading the exit number/road name on the actual lanes), and watch behind for any cars trying to get onto the freeway who'll be cutting in front or behind you. Completely mad.....

The malls are pretty cool though, and American pretzels are sooooo yummy! The people are ridiculously friendly, and the areas around Andrew's work (Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto) are just beautiful. The "downtown" areas have beautiful old shops that remind me more of a small country town (with more people!). The mountain ranges are also pretty impressive - I'll take pics soon.

I've put in my paperwork to apply for a work permit but apparently it'll take about 90 days to go through. I've got plenty of things to do still, and that doesn't even include sightseeing so that should be ok. There's plenty of other Australian Google wives around it seems, so I'm sure I can meet with others during the day to go sightseeing which is good!

Overall, I think we'll really enjoy it here - the people and area are great, and there seems to be a lot to do. So make sure you all come over and visit us sometime!!!!!


Tesso said...

Its a positive sign you feel so great about the US already Sarah. And with names like Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Palo Alto I'd think those place would have to be beautiful.

Looking forward to the pics.

miners said...

AS Tess Said, it's fantastic to hear you've aclimatised so quickly and you're really enjoying it there. Can't wait to see the photos

(happy to know you made it out of Singapore customs ok too ...)