Do deewane sheher mein

We’ve spent a better part of this year hunting houses. First, we had planned to move to Saigon from Hanoi, and spent a few weeks looking at apartments there. There were some beautiful localities – District 7 in particular – with meandering rivers, good roads and sidewalks, breezy apartments – that made my heart skip with joy. That was about when we were struck with some nasty luck. At least 3 apartments fell through because of owner troubles. I had my famed meltdown, and we finally compromised on one place, where everyone was agreeable, and then came news about the move to Jakarta. All work for nothing!

I had heard so much about the expat life in Jakarta. As luck would have it, we moved during the season when everything is dull, including the broker. How I missed the smart women from Vietnam. The guy we met here was least interested in what we wanted, spent no time preparing for our visits, and showed us all kinds of houses with crazy layouts, bad furniture, or worse, with no windows. It’s amazing how big most of the houses are and how awful the layout is, blocking out natural light and air, only to fit in tacky chandeliers and air conditioners. Then we met broker #2, who was a 100% improvement over the first guy. Phew! Saw some great apartments and houses, even had a dilemma of plenty, at one point. Settled on an apartment with a great pool and gym, convenient to commute, and took off to India, resting the matter in the hands of the legal eagles. I believe we didn’t say “Inshallah” enough of times, because it wasn’t God’s will to let us have that house.

Then broker #1 showed us some more houses, all except the one that we were keen to look at. He just doesn’t understand what we want.

Now we’re with broker #3, who seems the smartest of the lot. We’ve seen even more houses, with 2/3/4/5/6 bedrooms, and actually liked one. It’s dilemma time once again. Furnished house, close to the ‘happening’ Kemang market, but 45 min from office, or close to office, quiet neighborhood for walking/cycling, but unfurnished house? The first one is a large cohesive house, with a little pool for fish and a turtle, but not enough light, the second has disjointed rooms, great light and ventilation, and the most adorable rooftop terrace, but a bathtub sized pool.

Predictably, Souvik wants one, and I want the other. We’re getting a third, unbiased opinion, but what would you choose?

Categories: This and thatTags: , ,


  1. You choose, we enjoy!!


  2. Oy. . . house hunting is soooo trying. Good luck!


  3. As you most frequent visitor I vote for the one with the bestest guest room!!


  4. Hi Aarti, been following your exploits with interest. Go with the house your heart is most drawn to, Souvik will be happier if you are and maybe you’ll spend more time in it than him? Which one will inspire your lovely photos?


  5. Btw Aarti, thecontemporaryexpat is Karen who you kindly showed around Ciputra!
    I mentioned to you that we’re planning to take our dog with us – are there places in the area where I will be able to let her off to run where she’ll be safe? She doesn’t go far from me but she is quick so need a good space – in England I go to a football pitch, or the woods, a big park or beside the river where there is a path to walk.
    Good luck with the house hunt – dreading it myself!!!


    • There are a couple of small grassy patches around Westlake, which should be great for your dog. Within Ciputra, there are some children’s parks, but these are quite small. However, the area is gated, and traffic minimal, so running around within Ciputra shouldn’t be any problem, I guess.
      I’ve been following your blog too! It will be fun to read about your adventures in Hanoi.


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