Leaving on a jet plane…(part two)

So the shipping container arrived and we had to check it for holes and general integrity (like we know anything about shipping containers!). It was an older container but didn’t have any obvious damage. We signed on the dotted line to accept the container in the condition it was in. (The obvious question is what would happen if we didn’t?!).

The removal guys started ferrying boxes down in the padded lift to the car park below the building. This takes quite some time as there is only one small lift. Once all the boxes are piled up in the underground car park a small open truck is loaded up to ferry boxes to the truck. It also takes quite some time to ferry the boxes to the container. There is one mover in the container and one mover lifting the boxes up as they are ferried (obviously receiving help for the heavy boxes).

While the container is loaded we are going around the apartment, damp cloths in hand, wiping off every mark on the white walls. The landlord’s agent will go round the place with a torch when the handover happens and we have to pay for any mark or scratch. Similarly we sweep, hoover and mop the floors to ensure they are spotless and no marks on the floors either.

The container is loaded, Jenga style, and fills up quickly. The container is filled with 300 boxes and we have a whole 4 inches to spare before the doors are closed and sealed. The movers tell us that it was a lot of boxes! We have to watch the closing of the container and sealing it with a bolt and plastic tag seal with a security number on it. If that seal is broken, or changed, when it arrives in the U.K. we will know it has been tampered with. We sign to say we witnessed the closure of the container and it’s sealing.

We then sign a myriad of forms for the shipping agents, insurers, landlords agents and others to say everything was packed well and nothing was damaged or broken by the movers and everything was done in a timely and professional manner. If anything gets damaged or goes missing now, it will be the shipping company who are responsible. And let’s hope it doesn’t go overboard either!

Then the curtain dry cleaning service arrives to remove the net curtains (called day curtains here) and the curtains in all the rooms for dry cleaning, as required in the tenancy agreement. The charge is by weight and as these are floor to ceiling heavy curtains it isn’t going to be cheap. They work quickly, a little too quickly as it turns out as they forget to take two sets of curtains. After several phone calls an waiting around they return later for them. I’m glad at this point that I arranged for the AC to be serviced a week ago as more hanging around would have been energy sapping.

Finally, we are able to leave and head off to the serviced apartments. Two friends kindly took time, off work and out of their schedules, to ferry us and the mountain of luggage we have. By the time we get to the apartment we are exhausted but have to check in there too. temperature checks, Covid-19 declaration, TraceTogether app check in and only then passports for normal check-in. Its exhausting when you are already exhausted. We follow the staff to our apartment but upon opening the door it is clear that someone is already in there. We bid a hasty retreat, back through the maze of corridors, to reception to be given a different apartment. Back through the maze of corridors, in the lift and finally we are in the apartment. The staff show us around and the amenities and I must admit that I am pleasantly surprised. Definitely no comparison to the hovel we were put up in in Bangalore when we first arrived there. (I’m still traumatised by that!). There seems to be everything we need for our short stay and the rooms are a decent size. we go back down to the carpark an ferry our luggage up in the lift. The luggage is heavy – we have the maximum allowed weight because of everything we have to carry that the shipping agents wont. It is exhausting moving so much heavy luggage even a short distance – definitely a downside to travel! Once we say our goodbyes to our friends we collapse in a heap on the bed, totally exhausted.

Now we have a week to complete our exit from Singapore – returning hardware to Singtel, sorting out tax affairs, saying final goodbyes, picking up shopping requests and having our pre flight Covid-19 test. The only thing that can scupper all the best laid plans now is one of us contracting Covid-19 before we fly. Absolutely praying that does not happen. Part 3 of leaving on a jet plane will detail the experience of the swab – I cant wait! (sarcasm).

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