Monday, February 14, 2011

OZ - One Month In...

Dean - St Leonards, NSW

It is hard to believe that I have been here just over a month. It has been a month of highs and lows, but no more of either than I expected. Do I miss home? Yes of course I miss family and friends. Today being Valentine's was especially tough not seeing Nancy. Positively, I am starting to make friends here and build an environment that is starting to feel like home. The big challenge still, yes still, finding a place to live.

My accommodations finished at the Fraser Suites on Friday,  however I was actually a bit glad to get out of there. It was like living just off Yonge Street in Toronto. Too busy an area for me and just not homey enough. I found a funky little hotel not far from my work office, so now I have been calling St Leonards home. It's a quick 10 minute walk to work, so my days back and forth have been easier than ever.

Tomorrow I am off on my first business trip out of Sydney to Brisbane. Brisbane is about 900KM north of Sydney and was the area ravaged by the floods just a short time ago. I am excited to get out and see a bit more of Australia, even if it will only be a couple days. I will be homeless again on Wednesday night when I return, however I am lucky though that some co-workers are offering to put me up. I have applied for a really nice place, yet again. I hope this time is the last so that Nancy and I will finally have a place to call home. As well, our shipping container with all our stuff just arrived in Sydney port on the weekend, it will be ready for delivery in about a week or so.

I drove for the first time here this week. I went to the VW dealership to test drive a Golf, it's a car Nancy always liked and I do to. I was plenty nervous when I got into it. Driving on the right side of the car was a weird feeling, going around a very busy round about LEFT was even weirder. I managed to bring the car back undamaged, and really liked the drive. I would love to buy one, but I can't get insurance without a permanent address, sucks not having a home yet. Life without a car isn't so bad, the transit system is actually quite good despite what the locals say. I have successfully used trains, buses, trams, and ferries to navigate this city for the past 4 weeks. But I have to admit, I can't wait to have some wheels.

I did an awesome walk on Sunday, it was from Mosman Bay to Manly Beach. It's about a 10K or so walk all along the coast with stretches through Sydney Harbour National Park. Here are a few pictures of the coastline, it's hard to believe this is part of Sydney Harbour just where the city is.

Another notable experience this week; bring your own is very popular with restaurants here. At establishments marked "BYO," you can stop into the bottle shop on the way to dinner and bring your own wine (some places beer too). The difference between this and the few places in Canada that offer this, is that here, there is typically no corkage charge. And, if you don't finish your wine, cork it up and take it home. I love this country! 

Something else I have noticed - a lot of Aussies like to walk barefoot places. It is not uncommon to see people walking around town bare foot down the sidewalk. Now I don't mean people go to work this way, but I have seen plenty of people strolling around this way. I have to ask someone for an explanation.

Some differences/trivia for the week:

- There are no coolers here, they are either called "chilly bins" (New Zealand) or "Eskys"(Australia). Chilly bin is self explanatory, Esky is actually the name brand of an old Aussie company that made these, it came from the word Eskimo.

- I had referenced before that flip-flops are called thongs here, which is absolutely true. However, more of a Kiwi word, "Jandals" is another. A name brand, apparently they were invented after the second world war and were called that because servicemen returning were wearing Japanese zoris (thong like shoes). So the the name Jandals was formed after "Japanese sandals."

- Good onya = well done!

- Two very common toppings for Australian burgers: beet root and eggs. (Better ask or they might just put them on!)

- The term "shrimp on the barbie" is not really used here, from a previous post you should know Aussies use the word prawn. The phrase was made for a Paul Hogan tourism advertising campaign in the mid 80's and shrimp had to be used as to not confuse North Americans. Barbie is definitely widely used though.

That's all for now...

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