Thursday, March 26, 2009

our new apartment

We love, love, love our apartment. After moving in a week ago and spending the last six days cleaning and outfitting the place, it finally feels like home.

The neighbourhood is focused on the main arterial road, colloquially called Ekkamai, officially called Sukhumvit 63. If you want our proper address or new phone #s, let us know. It’s a very mixed area, with everything from abject poverty to extreme wealth (I’m talking diseased homelessness and Ferraris here). These contrasts, combined with the astounding traffic, bustle, and fumes make it rather overwhelming. It’s got a lot going for it, though, notably being right where I work (I have a five minute walking commute), as well as having accessible affordable food and household goods stores, and access to the main city public transportation.

The layout of our place is reminiscent of an American motor-inn, with walled and gated grounds, parking on the ground floor of the building, balconies facing in to the central pool (!!) and courtyard, and four different shared stairwells. It’s an older building, maybe from around the 1940s or so, but we could be wildly wrong in that guess.

Our apartment is way bigger than we need, with two bedrooms, a huge dining/living room, a study, a kitchen, two bathrooms, six to eight closets depending on how you count, and a balcony. Our money, little though it is by our standards, goes an awfully long way here. And this place is quite a find, even given our price range. Quite a change from last year’s shoebox: Erika and I are having to adjust to being in different rooms from one another. And what rooms! There are dark, polished hardwood floors throughout, with dark woodwork framing and built-in cabinets, all around thick white plaster walls. Each room has copious large, nicely-proportioned wood-framed windows with views of the gardens next door and/or sliding doors to the balcony. At first glance the overall effect reminded me of Japanese minimalist architecture, but since being here I can see how it’s actually very Thai. Something in the proportions: like those great Thai wardrobes, they’re just proportioned in a very Thai way.

Our apartment is on the top floor and on the corner farthest from the street, so it’s quiet and gets a fresh breeze. Our neighbours are a mix of Thai and American/British people, heavier on the Thai than the white. It’s very much a family place, quiet and safe, with a few kids playing outside at almost all times. The kids largely favour the pool – did I mention we have a POOL?! A perfect pool?! It’s right at the bottom of our stairs, surrounded by a lovely lawn, with shading trees and decorative shrubbery and lounge chairs and sweet little tables and convenient umbrellas all around. Some of the shrubberies lend a romantic air to the pool by casting their pink petals down to float across the water in light breezes. The water itself is delightfully clean and not too salty or chlorinated, and is the perfect temperature without being heated (yes, it’s that hot here). It’s a great size for both playing in and swimming laps – not too big and not too small. The deep end is quite deep, allowing for a diving board and general jumping-in fun. There’s no closing or opening times, so we’ve availed ourselves of quite a few midnight swims, as well as swimming in the rain, during the midafternoon, and really at any and all available times. There is nothing quite so wonderful as swimming when you’re really hot and sweaty. Like right now, for example, or any other time that we are not a) in an air conditioned space, b) showering, or c) in the pool.

I love our apartment. But it is so nice that I feel embarrassed because it is more than we need and is so luxurious, even though it’s the same price per person as what my colleagues have. On the other hand, if I have to have a problem with my housing, it might as well be that it’s embarrassingly nice. Here’s to miraculously good real estate agents and dual incomes (see Erika’s forthcoming post about her new job)!

Photos both of our neighbourhood and our apartment:

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Elandria said...

Hey, I just found a flight for $987 from Atlanta. I need a vacation and I never get to leave the country and I am not messing up and not going to Thailand like I did when ya'll where in Australia :0). It would be for a week leaving May 26th and coming back home June 2nd. Let me know what you think.


clairebearkiss said...

That really is an *amazing* apartment! totally jealous, I've wanted to visit Thailand for quite some time as a good friend from college moved back home to Bangkok a few years ago.

Love from Brooklyn,