Sunday, February 20, 2011

Brisbane And Air Travel

Dean - Kirribilli, Australia

I have moved again. I am now staying with a co-worker who just moved to Australia himself. He was nice enough to let me crash at his place while I try and finish my home hunting saga. So now I am a temporary resident of Kirribilli, which is on the north side of Sydney Harbour. The Prime Minister of Australia actually lives in a very large house about 10 doors down, kind of cool. Makes for a safe neighbourhood, there are Australian federal police all around. The view from this side of the harbour is spectacular.

This week I made it up to Brisbane. I was only there for a couple days so couldn't see much. However, the signs of all the flooding seem to been gone, the city looks like it's back to (almost) normal. My company's office was closed for a chunk of time there because of the flooding, they are in a tower right by the river. Talking to a co-workere from Brisbane, he had lost his car in the parking garage, it was completely under water.

The most memorable part of my trip to Brisbane was oddly the flight. Domestic air travel in Australia is very different from that in North America, especially on Qantas. First, airport check-in was quick and efficient, everything was completely automated including bag check in. Security is also very different. Water, liquids, gels, toiletries, are all ok, even if bigger than 100ml. I didn't have to take off my shoes, belt and didn't wait more than a minute or two. Then the best part, free food on the flight! Yes I was served a breakfast on my 1.5 hour flight. On the return flight, a small meal and free wine as well. This all may sound silly, but this is what air travel was supposed to be like.

I didn't realize how much I missed being mobile in a car until I rented one this weekend. My co-worker and I drove up the coast about an hour to see some different beaches. The eventual destination was Palm Beach where I tried surfing again. The beaches in the north are much different, more laid back and definately less people. It was a great experience to get out and moving around and just what I needed. The driving has become easier now, except that, every time I go to turn, I turn on the windshield wipers (they are on the left side of the steering column). So we definitely stood out as being new because they were almost always on whenever we were turning.

Some new translations/differences for this week:

Arvo = afternoon
Sunnies = sun glasses
Pokies = poker machines found in almost all pubs/bars
Qantas = Queensland And Northern Territories Aerial Services (always wondered what this meant!)

- Australian "bacon" is more like peameal bacon than strip bacon.
- Mixed greens or mesclun (spring) mix is called "rocket" here. Today I had a "BRT," bacon, rocket and tomato.
- If you ask for lemonade you get Sprite. You have to ask for "squash" to get real lemonade.
- "Rump" steak is common here which is what we would call a round steak in Canada.
- A left turn on a red would be like a North American right turn on a red, except that you can't - it's illegal.

Less than a month and Nancy is here!!

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