Prima (Ria) Donna


Or… life is full of tough decisions; like which ONE Ikea coffee mug to buy…

I suppose since we’ve been here three weeks, it’s probably time for my first blog post. Kevin’s much better at this stuff, so I’ll probably leave most of it to him, but I will talk about finding our apartment. When we arrived, my boss put us up in an airbnb in a place within the neighborhood where I work. I wasn’t sure what to expect when she told us the place was in someone else’s apartment, since the last thing we wanted after spending 50 hours traveling, and then spending a night sharing a bathroom with an 8 year old was to spend the next two weeks sharing a bathroom with another couple. In case you didn’t know, sharing bathrooms is probably Kevin’s least favorite thing, though I don’t think there are many people who actually like it. However, the couple was extremely kind, and we had our own bathroom, though it was right off of the kitchen/living and dining area, which made a few mornings a little akward…’Good morning, please continue to enjoy your morning coffee while you listen to me take a poop.’ However, the place was very nice, with 5 pools and a sky beach and all, and it was nice to feel like we were on vacation while we looked to get settled.

Hard at work finding a place to live...
Hard at work finding a place to live…
Underwater workout machines in the sky meditation gardens at the Verve
Underwater workout machines in the sky meditation gardens at the Verve
Morning walk on the 35th floor serenity gardens...more Verve suites
Morning walk on the 35th floor serenity gardens…more Verve suites

The office manager from work had been trying to help find us places before we had even arrived. Of course I thought I had it all under control trying to find the perfect spot where we’d be near the city center, near public transportation, but yet still be near a bus line to work. We’d have the best of all worlds I figured. As soon as we arrived though, I realized everyone was determined to convince us otherwise. Everyone told me I needed to live near work. It seemed they couldn’t fathom me taking a bus to work. This is because apparently the buses run with practically no schedule because traffic here is so terrible that you can’t get anywhere. So they put us up in Mont Kiara (the neighborhood where I work), and figured that would probably convince us to stay. It worked. Although it definitely felt a little less authentic than Kevin probably wanted, being close to work really was a big selling point. However, we wanted a 2 bedroom apartment (so you all can come visit!) within walking distance to shops and restaurants in our price range. We didn’t mind if that meant being farther away from work.  In the land of a billion condos, we figured we weren’t asking for too much. We were wrong.

All those condos...isn't there one just right for us?
All those condos…isn’t there one just right for us?

The first day at the Verve, I call my office manager. She has some places in Mont Kiara for us to look at. They are all one bedrooms. I tell her we’d really like two, even if it means living farther away, so sorry, all your hard work finding us places isn’t good enough for us. She has to keep looking. I talk with the realtor she has call me. He doesn’t like what I have to say, he has to call us back. I talk with Kevin. We decide to go look at the apartment of a coworker who is leaving in a few weeks. She has a 3 bedroom that’s huge, looks like it has everything we want, and well within our price range. It’s in a place call Prima Ria, a low rise 6 story building. It looks like a 30-45 minute walk to work. Not too bad, but I could take a taxi if I needed. It’s huge, it’s got everything: washer, dryer, full stove and gas cooktop, dishwasher, two bathrooms, students in the building we could take over tutoring. However…it is close to …nothing. I ask if she ever walked anywhere and she says, ‘no, I usually pick up what I need after work and then drive home.’ Le sigh.


Oh, let me just make a side note here. Although I swore up and down I didn’t want a car when we came here, and I would NEVER drive since they drive on the left and I’m already a terrible driver, EVERYONE here seems to have a car. For now, I’m sticking to my resolve, but I feel as though it’s already weakened, and I’ve been here 3 weeks. However, even if we decided we would get a car, parking here sucks and is expensive, so I’d rather not have to drive everywhere.


So I call back the realtor. We’ve changed our minds. We want to see your places. We’d love a one bedroom, just please be walking distance to things. He tells me he’ll call back. He doesn’t. He doesn’t answer the next time I call. He’s done with me. I talk to my office manager. I tell her everyone who tried to tell us to live in Mont Kiara was right. I tell her we’d love to look at one bedrooms in walking distance to school in our price range. I feel like an idiot. She sends me one place close to school with 2 bedrooms, too expensive. She sends me another 2 bedroom close to school, too expensive. She is nothing but so so so very nice, and has an appointment set up with the amazing Howard for the next day.


Another side note, while all of this is going on, we have been loving our stay at the Verve suites. It’s not quite close enough to my work, and too much like vacation, so we didn’t consider living there, but it was great for a week. It was also a 10 minute walk to an adjoining neighborhood of Mont Kiara, Desa Sri Hartamas. Desa Sri Hartamas is a more local neighborhood with a few older condos, and a lot of low rise commercial buildings. That means tons of amazing restaurants. Most of the food Kevin’s blogged about has been from restaurants in that neighborhood. There was also one newer looking building that I thought looked like it could have some nice places, but I figured you’d have to walk all the way around the long way to get back to Mont Kiara, and that made it inconvenient for us. Plus, I figured it was too expensive since it looked brand new.


Side side note. This is a very common feature of the area where we live, and I think a common feature of a lot of nice neighborhoods here. Nothing connects. It’s really annoying. Most of these condo complexes are built for exclusivity and security as their big selling feature. Since everyone drives, closeness and convenience don’t seem to matter. The place we looked at in Prima Ria would have actually been just a 5 minute walk to work if they made it possible to walk out of the back side of the condo complex and made a little pathway. The Verve suites would have been a 25 minute walk to work instead of a 45 minute walk if they just had such things as side streets here, but no. So I figured, The Signature would have the same ‘excellent selling feature’ of being extremely inconvenient. Luckily, I was wrong.


Howard picked us up to go look at places, and he was taking us to the Signature. His first statement about the place was that it’s selling feature was convenience. It has an exit on the Mont Kiara side, and an exit on the Desa Sri Hartamas side. I was practically sold before we even got there. In the end I felt like I had put my office manager and all these realtors through the ringer with calling back and forth saying ‘no we don’t want that’, ‘wait, wait yes we do want that’. Though in the end I realized we looked at all of 4 apartments, 3 of them in the same building. I suppose we weren’t as prima donna as I thought. Anyway, I’m going to go hit the pool, next time: the apartment.

One thought on “Prima (Ria) Donna

  1. Thanks for giving us a virtual tour last night. Your apartment looks great – small, but very comfortable looking. I’m glad you found something to your liking.


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