Our apartment is a gem. And by “gem,” I mean a diamond in the coal stage. T’s school decided to construct a block of apartments to house both new teachers and a few older students. In theory, this is a good plan. It’s located a block from the school, and the administration can control costs to some extent. In practice, however, it has been slightly less brilliant.
We had hoped to come to Bangkok a few days early, to have a chance to settle in before orientation activities officially began. When we were told that our apartment wouldn’t be ready until the very day of our arrival, we became suspicious about the degree of the apartment’s “finished-ness.” Sure enough, when we arrived in Bangkok at 2am last Friday morning, we were taken to a hotel. The apartments were “almost ready.” Shocker. After three nights in a hotel, we were finally taken to our new building. At first glance, all the teachers were excited by our new home. The apartments look good – Ikea meets sleek’n’modern meets fake wood. “New design trend!” proclaimed the building manager.
Upon closer inspection, however, all has not been so rosy. In their rush to complete the apartments, the workers missed a few key details. Some were relatively minor, though disheartening, like the thick layer of construction dust coating all surfaces, and the splotches of paint and glue on the new tile floor. After having a minor, jet-lag induced meltdown, I sucked it up and cleaned it up. This was semi-pointless, as construction is still raging around us: filth wafts in every time we open the door. The workers are hurrying to finish the remaining units before the students move in.
Other problems haven’t been so easy to “suck” up. Here I am referring to the toilet in our master bathroom. It “sucked” for the first few days, but now it seems to be more interested in “heaving” and “belching.” I’m not totally sure what is wrong with it, but it appears that all the raw sewage in the building has found its way into our master bathroom’s toilet bowl. First, it simply refused to drain. As we were drifting off to sleep one night, however, it began to belch up new surprises: “get the bathmats off the floor!” I yelled to Todd. It threatened to overflow, but soon settled. It seems, however, that every time we start to relax, we hear a familiar belch. Fortunately, we have a second bathroom, although who knows how long it will be before that toilet joins the revolt(ing).
We went to the manager’s office today, and spoke to one of her minions. We explained through a translator that our toilet was malfunctioning, in addition to the lights in both bathrooms. He was very kind, and quickly sent workers to repair the problem. They brought in ladders and equipment, and shut themselves in the two bathrooms. After 10 minutes, they left. Our lights have been fixed, our white bathmat is perma-stained from the filth they tracked in (yes mom, I know that buying white anything is a boneheaded thing to do), and our toilet is still brimming with society’s detritus.