I had never been to Ikea before (really!), although I was familiar with the ads.
Our students in Norwich had to do a project about it for their business studies. And I heard people in China telling of how lounging around in Ikea was a favourite Sunday afternoon activity, especially when the weather is unpleasant and home is not so comfortable.
But now I have been there, several times! There is a great restaurant, and it is generally an all-round interesting place to spend a few hours in this you-can't-walkabout-outside type of place.
Of course, buying furniture at Ikea is yet another adventure in itself. You walk around the "Showroom" part of the store and there are little pencils and pads for you to note down the numbers and prices of items that you fancy. Then you go down to the warehouse section and select a cardboard box that in no way resembles the item of furniture!
The price is "right", because when you get your cardboard box home there is still a fair amount of work to do and tools needed.
Peter is quite the carpenter and home handyman and has created furniture from scratch (and from scrap) in the past. But when Stanley (our Indian driver) caught sight of our cardboard box he became quite excited. Obviously when he was a little boy he always wanted (and didn't get) a Meccano set or even Lego!
So Peter was quite happy to sit down and let Stanley play. A chest of drawers is actually remarkably complex, I learnt, especially when it's a good one.
So how did it end up? Was it like one of Homer Simpson's spice racks??
Look at that! Perfect - just like a bought one! And the drawers glide in and out as smooth as silk.
So now that we are in the bedroom, why don't we take a little look around? In the UK we bought ourselves a "Kingsize" bed, and it was 5' wide. In Oz, of course, that is only "Queensize", and Kingsize is 6' wide. Well, here they like their beds BIG.
It's impossible to get perspective in a photo like this, but this one seems to be Royal Family Size.
And then, with our indoors lifestyle, we had to put aside the wiggy little TV that came with the apartment, in favour of a real TV. (It still looks small in this spacious room.)
(Yes, it's a Sony). And yes, all TV programs seem to come with Arabic subtitles.
With all this space and no outdoors, this is where we play our sports as well. It was really difficult to get a clear picture of Peter playing "Wii sports".
Now we have two sets of remotes so we can play together at the same time against each other. FUN!!
When you have to live indoors a lot you need two things - TV and Internet.
So here is our Internet setup.
That white thing with the aerials is our modem which picks up the Internet wirelessly, and then is connected by cables (lots of cables!) to our computers. We also have a modem in the sitting room supposedly picking up TV channels, but quite honestly there is rarely anything to pick up.
So - we are well set up, and comfortable, despite not being able to run in the park.