Day 6 in Sydney: Trip to IKEA (13th March 2011)

Today was another early start for us, getting up at 8am for a day of shopping for the house. Neither of us has started work but already spending so much on our first week in Sydney!

Beryl and Tim told us over dinner the other night that there was an IKEA in Supa Centre Moore Park (IKEA, to us, is the place to buy cool furniture and household items at an affordable price) so we walked to the suburb of Surry Hills to catch the bus to Kensington where the mall was located. Cost $3.30 each for a one-way prepaid ticket on bus M20 (the bus is on a route that is prepay only i.e. tickets must be purchased prior to boarding - the driver has no cash). This was our first bus experience in Sydney and it was crazy - the driver was driving the bendy-bus pretty fast and we were swaying jerkily as we rode on. Is he even driving within the legal speed??

We arrived at Supa Centre around 11am but there was no IKEA to be found. It turned out that the Heskeths had gotten Freedom Furniture mixed up with IKEA; IKEA was in another suburb called Rhodes which was a lot further west than where we were. Hmm, we should have checked before we headed out...We had a look around the shops in the mall, mostly selling furniture and a variety of household items, and ended up in Bing Lee, a consumer electronics chain store that has branches based in New South Wales (NSW). What we thought was quite interesting about the store was that you could negotiate the price and because we were purchasing big ticket items such as the washing machine and refrigerator, the lady staff who serviced us was giving quotes for anything we showed a slight interest in - she really wanted her sales bonus, reeling us in with all the discounts she could give us. We spent about $2,000 all up - a top loader washing machine, a sleek stainless steel refrigerator, microwave, vacuum cleaner and iron - it was quite a good deal. And it included delivery and unpacking as well which we definitely require. Yay, we'll have a fridge on Tuesday when they deliver!

If you think that was the end of our shopping expedition, well you're wrong. It was just the beginning - as our place came unfurnished, we have to purchase our own furniture too so we continued our hunt for IKEA in Rhodes. We caught the bus back to Surry Hills from Kensington, then took the train from Central to Rhodes in search for 
Rhodes Shopping Centre where IKEA was located.

IKEA is a world renowned company that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture and home accessories, and it is a store I have always enjoyed spending the afternoon in whenever I visited my extended family in Kuala Lumpur with Mum during school holidays - Mum likes their innovative and user-friendly products which are affordable yet look like they would cost lots. It was a novelty because we do not have an IKEA in my home town. For me, I loved being in the different showrooms - it was like playing house except there were other people doing the same as well (there might be another couple or person sitting on the lounge sofa 'pretending' like it's their living room to get a feel of the product). Still, I enjoyed checking out each room and just soaked in the feeling of what it would be like if this was my bedroom/kitchen/lounge when I grow up. Oh, I've definitely growned up a lot since then and now my dreams are turning to reality :)

It was about lunchtime when we arrived so took a break from shopping for lunch at Sumo Salad at the food court. Sumo Salad is an Australian food franchise that is part of this new wave of healthy food served fast and offers a 'design your own' made-to-order salads as well as selection of gourmet salads, wraps and soups to choose from. I went for a Pesto Chicken Express Medium Salad while Jono ordered a Vietnamese Grilled Chicken Salad where he got to choose his own ingredients. I can see why the company has reference to sumo - the servings were HUGE! Cost us $20.90 all up which also included a 450ml bottle of water and small snack.

k, now that we have refuelled, time to get back to business. I cannot believe there is only one IKEA in the whole of NSW and it's so far from the city (the train ride took almost half an hour). It was quite horrific being in here - it was SO crowded and felt like the whole of Sydney has decided to turn up on the same day to shop! We spent several hours in the 'forest', the first few rounds just to check out what was available and what suited our apartment then back again with pencil and paper (these are free and found on stands scattered around the store - measuring tapes are available too) to jot down the product name and number. Trust me, you WILL need these later. We agreed there were way too many things we needed to get so got only the big items - bed and mattress, dining set, sofa, side chairs and bedside tables. We will have to make another trip the coming weekend to pick up more stuff. 

Part of the fun of IKEA is that you get to be warehouse person in the enormous warehouse because you have to carry your own items to check out using the industrial-size trolleys (we needed two!) and/or the large IKEA bags. This is where those product names and numbers will come handy as you snake along the aisles to find the correct match. And then you get to take your new purchases home and assemble them yourself (this is why the cost of the product is much lower because you have to do most of the labour) - it's like being a kid again, using screwdrivers and L-keys to secure the parts. I love it!

Boy was I tired come 5pm when we finally left. Furniture shopping is hard work - my feet are sore from all the walking! Fortunately we didn't have to carry our purchases home; there was a deal on today where if we bought a particular brand of mattress, the delivery fee would be waived. We took the opportunity to source out a suitable mattress of the brand and had it plus the rest of our furniture delivered to us tomorrow afternoon, saving ourselves $90 and the pain of having to carry these heavy items to the door. Total spend at IKEA today was around $1500. Ouch, we singed $3,500 in one day...

Back at Regis at 6pm and we went to Chon Siam for dinner, a cosy little Thai restaurant just round the corner on Campbell St a few doors away from Chilli Cha Cha and the Thai grocery store (we obviously live near the part of Haymarket that is popular with the Thai community). Cost us $25.80 for my Tom Yum soup with rice and Jono's Thai Green Curry as well as beers. Oh yeah, I need a beer after working so hard today...ahhhhh...this is good... We stayed in the rest of the evening and had an early night - Jono starts work tomorrow and I've got a busy day checking out of the serviced apartment and dealing with the delivery of our IKEA stuff. A brand new and exiting week ahead :)


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