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The chronicles of two Portlanders in Singapore

House Hunters International

February 26, 2015.Joshua.0 Likes.0 Comments

This week, Beverly and I are traveling to Singapore on a house-hunting and exploratory trip.  During the week, I’m going to be documenting our trip in small bursts and stream-of-thought posts.   I’ll place these posts under the tag “house hunting” if you want the full digest.

“Beverly wants something close by to her office and with easy access to outdoor activities.  Josh wants access to local shopping and public transportation.  Will these two Portlanders find what they’re looking for in the Lion City?”

HGTV could have had a field day with us, as we have sifted through 14 different locations and narrowed the field to two highly probable choices.  The selling points for both are legion, but the elevator pitch for either isn’t fully refined.  That will be the work of the next two days, I think, while our real estate agent looks to offer any last-minute1not really, we have 30 days in corporate housing if needed showings before we leave the Lion City.

To understand our concerns, one should see through our eyes what our first 48 hours here entailed.  Monday was a walk through the mall adjacent to our hotel, searching for swim suits (oops) and small knick knacks that we forgot to bring.  Bev visited her future work place, I visited Telok Ayer and one of the food courts Singapore is known for.  We saw Chinatown, but jet lag & the heat conspired to send us back to the hotel directly after supper (incredible Dim Sum).  Tuesday was spend on Orchard Road, Singapore’s premier shopping district, a street lined with the biggest, most prestigious brands, backed by a rabbit warren of malls and food courts.

This is truly a city of malls – over a hundred of them – and they are epicenters of commerce here in the town.  To an American, this sounds strange in 2015; our love affair with malls has receded with the 80’s nostalgia.  Malls have been redefined, opened to the air, made into boutique shops and department stores.  Here, they are lifestyle centers, and all indoors/underground, away from the ever present heat and humidity.

When Bev heard about HarbourFront, she imagined as many Americans might, a sea-side boardwalk with boutique shops and fine dining, a Singapore-sized version of Bridgeway in Sausalito, California.  Upon hearing this assessment, our realtor collapsed into laughter – and with good reason – that simply doesn’t really exist in Lion City.  What we found Tuesday night was a mall, two malls, in fact, joined together.  What we didn’t realize is that in malls in Singapore, street food can be found, in sit-down shops that look like food courts in the US, but not populated by junk food like Sbarro.

And so, as it happens, one of our top choices is right next to these two malls, a condo complex named Reflections, where a two-bedroom & study apartment offers an incredible open modern space and nice amenities.  The other is Parvis, a (much) smaller unit above a neighborhood called Holland, a popular area for ex-pats that offers storefronts and wonderful dining areas.  The next two days we’ll be looking at deciding factors between the two.

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