I've been looking for a new place to stay.
When I moved into my current place, my housemate (and colleague) assured me it takes "about half an hour" to get to work. This was fine, as my previous abode was roughly the same distance…minus the pool ;)
Plus, Googlemaps agreed with him. So I happily carted my thousand or so boxes over to the apartment.
And then I drove to work.
I quickly realised 2 things:
1. My housemate drives at approximately 120km an hour.
2. Googlemaps doesn't account for traffic.
I have subsequently convinced myself that the drive is 45 minutes, in order to handle the mental trauma of driving this much. But that's a lie. It basically takes an hour. Twice. Every day.
Adding insult to injury is the fact it costs almost rm5 each way for the privilege sitting in my car that long.
Hence the new apartment search.
So I was browsing the ads online and found a place that looked ok. I called up. In no other country I've visited is this the first question a stranger asks:
"Are you indian or chinese?"
Neither actually, but does it matter? In Malaysia, yes. Lucky for me though, "No, I'm English", is a reply that only dreams are made of, to which the response was;
"Oooh, great, great"
After a brief phone interview, which I apparently passed with flying colours, I went to look at the apartment. I had asked about the middle room. I turned up and the only room free was the master bedroom. Advertising fail. Therefore, too poor to take room. Want to leave. Not so easy.
I spend the next hour negotiating the various pros and cons of staying there. A brief summary of the discussion:
Me: "It's quite empty" [read: empty]
Landlady: "What do you want? I can buy you a washing machine"
Me: "Mmm, I'm not sure. I was looking for furnished"
Me: "What about the other tenants, didn't they ask for a sofa? Don't they cook?"
Landlady: "No. They are really good, very quiet, they just come home each night and go to their rooms."
[Note to landlords: this is not a positive selling point…]
Me: "Oh. Well, I can't really afford the rent anyway"
Landlady: "But it's so convenient for your work, you can see your office from the window [True but irrelevant]. Shops and swimming pool, you can use anytime [Also true and equally irrelevant]"
Anyway, I eventually managed to get back to the lift lobby, only for the hard sell to begin.
Landlady: "Oh I really hope you can move in, I really want you to stay here, I know you will look after the place. Maybe we can go out together sometimes or I can cook for you? Can? [begging eyes] Oh, you don't need to look at anywhere else, mine is the best. Ok, I hope you can stay. I love you."
Also note, that all of this was said whilst hugging me. Really. I couldn't make it up.
The search continues...