Monday, July 20, 2015

3rd weekend in Vancouver!

By the luck bestowed upon me by the three-bladed helicopters in the skies above, I managed to secure a place last week, and started moving in over the last few days.  Usually I'd manage to either find some place that is just furnished enough to live in, or buy stuff off the previous tenant. Not this time, I had to totally furnish this new place!

This then presented me the most amazing opportunity to test out random stuff I've been wondering about, such as not sleeping on a futon or bed, and just use a camping mattress. I think many people think I've gone off my rocker but I've never been one to say no to random experiments!
This camping mattress, a Thermarest Mondoking XXL is actually quite expensive, about the same price as a top-of-the-line air mattress. The first few nights were rather un-restful, as I did not have a duvet and the temperature was so cold, I actually had to turn on the heater lol. In addition, the sun is up even before 5am nowadays, and I find it nigh difficult to sleep. And this is with all the blinds down, and set to reflect the light upwards!

Thankfully, the last two days appeared to have been enough to acclimatize myself to this sunlight, and the weekend saw me waking up past 8am (hooray for no alarms!)
Went down to Ikea yesterday, and it took quite a lot of effort to get there. First off, as a non driver, I had to take the train down to the middle of Richmond, then switch to a bus to get to Ikea. The bus appeared to be on an hourly schedule for weekends, and I had to have missed it by a few minutes >.> so I broke down and ponied up for a cab.

Shopping at Ikea is quite an experience. I've only been to the Ikea in Singapore possibly 2, 3 times, and I've only bought tiny trinkets like photo frames. This time, my big purchases was a nice sturdy computer table and a good solid chair. At the same time, I also took the opportunity to purchase stuff like a pillow, duvet, table lights etc. Not really planned to do it, but hey I was there, and it was super affordable!
So.... while it's a bit narrow, it's surprisingly comfortable, and the best part is I can just strew my books and mobile all over the side, and the reading lamp is perfect for use just before sleep. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to figure out a way to get a desk that has proper ergonomics that is different from the norm... and not cost a fair bit of coin to buy. I just went for a regular table, but I got one chairs there that gave good support to the back.

Now delivery at Ikea was interesting (I'm an ikea virgin, give me that) - only the larger items could be delivered home, the smaller stuff I picked up I had to cart home on my own. Thankfully that was not too bad an experience, but I really don't see why they couldn't ship my duvet, pillow and covers. Oh well.

I think what's left is to get some more lights for the place, and I'm looking at LED strip lighting as they give off very little heat for the light, and draw less power too. The lights in my mini-kitchen area are horrendously warm regular incandescent fixtures, and I make it a point to shut them off when I'm not using the kitchen area.

Some of the stuff here in Vancouver throws me off. In Singapore/Oz/Uk, it's fairly common to purchase UHT milk, but here they are nigh impossible to find, and the only place I've found them, is in the baking section, where they costs over four CAD per litre! Compare that to Adelaide, where 1L of UHT was .95AUD.

Milk powder is another one, I've only found low fat milk powder, which is passable, but I really want my full cream milk powder! The pasteurized milk found all over the place is nice, but I really like the creaminess found in UHT or milk powder. Oh well.

Electricity here is also supposed to be affordable, as it's hydro powered. Internet is not bad so far, the place I'm in has Novus internet, and it's only connected to certain apartment buildings. Installation was a snap, the tech that came down fiddled with one of the panels in the house for a few minutes, and the router connected up smoothly. I got the lowest package, which already provides 25mbps down, with 250gb bandwidth a month.

I'm sure some of you are rolling your eyes, but when you've spent nearly a year with an unstable 1mbps line (youtube buffers on 240p!!!!) with 50gb bandwidth a month.... you'd be very thankful.

Food here is pretty good, there is a chain here called Banana Leaf that has really good singapore/malaysian food. Maybe 80% of the real thing, and it's good enough for me. Japanese food is surprisingly abundant here, and very, delicious and highly affordable. A bowl of ramen usually runs about 10CAD (there is tax + tips) and every ramen place I've tried so far (I think I've tried at least 5) has a pretty good standard, usually my issue is the broth just isn't the kind I like, that's about it.

One other thing that again throws me off, is the donburis here are always found with a layer of lettuce between the rice and meat. Why?! It totally throws off the taste! Maybe it's a health thing, I dunno.

Will write more later, can't wait to get the whole apartment setup, then I can get back to doing stuff :)

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