Published: November 17th 2008November 17th 2008
The glorious Autumnal weather was good preparation for our new Tropical home.
So this may be the slightly less exciting sequel (as the title says - we do have to work this time!), but as most of you know we’ve buggered off again.
Who’d have thought one little e-mail could lead to a 20,000 mile trip, and a one-way trip at that?! After a very sleepless night deciding whether relocating about as far round the world as you can was a good idea, we started the most hectic two months we have ever had, and hopefully ever will.
Leaving an immaculate and fully re-decorated house behind us (and some parents with newly acquired DIY skills - thanks we couldn’t have done it without you) we said a few tearful goodbyes and headed for Australia and our first stop of Hong Kong.
Arriving the following morning we crawled into bed for a few hours’ kip, waking to sunset and the lights of Hong Kong harbour. Clearly somewhat knackered from the previous two months exertions our next kip lasted 16 hours - oops. Note - this is not the best way to conquer jet lag! Despite this minor sleep miscalculation, and not seeing daylight for 48 hours we still managed to fit
Bright lights, big city
in a ride over to Kowloon on the (still only 20p) Star Ferry, and ascend The Peak in the insanely steep Peak Tram - after all, it would be rude not to.
Having held our breath every time we left our hotel due to seemingly every shop on the local street selling all manner of very pongy dried seafood, we eventually learnt that the street was affectionately known as “dried fish street”. It didn’t say that in the brochure.
After checking in to our flight at the train station, and reluctantly leaving our baggage to make it to Australia, we jumped on the train and headed off to catch our overnight flight to Brisbane.
Arriving a bit tired and dazed into Brisbane we were falsely accused by the sniffer dog of trying to smuggle in that most serious of contraband - the apple. Yep the apple cereal bar Laura had eaten on the plane must have been pungent, or the Beagle was just a bit pooped from sniffing stuff and decided to pop a squat and stare at our bag just for fun.
After a half-hearted manual bag search and the normal Australia baggage scan for
A misty day at the top of The Peak
organic stuff we eventually cleared customs. We were met by a very rainy and grey sky and an Irish man who kindly drove us to our apartment. Evidently the rain was good, the water problem in Brisbane being so bad that you are not allowed to water plants or wash cars, and are restricted to 4 minute showers. Seriously, the local council issued waterproof egg timers!
Our apartment happened to be next to the Castlemaine 4X factory, which we did find out was very noisy and quite stinky on a Tuesday. However, it did lead to quite a lot of "Snowy, I can see the 4X factory from here!" jokes when we got lost and finally found our way home. The apartment was also really handy for the office - before it was relocated to the other side of town.
Our new office is housed a couple of train stops away from us in what seems to be a former warehouse. Cruelly, with the pain of her loss still deep, Laura has to walk past the Mini showroom on a daily basis, although she manages to console herself with the free biscuits we get when she gets into
Another capacity crowd for the Roar.
In fact the Australians being a healthy bunch is a complete lie. We have a proper restaurant coffee machine (we had to have training), free biscuits, sweets and fruit plus beer and nibbles on a Friday. In addition, meetings and presentations are generally accompanied by copious amounts of food. In our first couple of weeks there has been Sausage Roll Thursday (team briefing), Health and Safety Week cup cakes (why? - we don't know), champagne and cheese for the Melbourne Cup (a very dull horse race that the Aussies get extremely excited about) and pizza after an office meeting. There shouldn't be too much chance of us picking up an Aussie accent though as most of the office is made up of English, Scots and Irish!
To celebrate the end of our first week of work, we treated ourselves with a trip to see our new local footy team, the mighty Queensland Roar. Now the name should really have given us some indication of the quality of football on offer, but with cold beer in hand we struggled through the non-existent crowds to find our seats. With star players Craig Moore and the former perrenial Manchester City
We were disappointed when there was no giant gecko at the end of Melbourne Street
substitute Danny Tiatto, strolling about, the team looked promising and was also bolstered by the return of Brazilian Reinaldo, recently returned from a failed spell in the Korean league. The game was, quite frankly, rubbish but also quite fun with the crowd mainly made up of dissapointed ex-pats trying to get a football fix. The biggest cheer of the game came when a kookaburra landed on top of the goal, this clearly being the safest place to sit during a Roar game. The entertainment did improve as we found Andy's colleagues and drunken UK possee, who were shouting hilarious abuse at the men masquerading as footballers on the pitch, whilst the surrounding aussies quietly moved further away.
The things we have learnt about Australia bit:
Their beer is generally rubbish.
It takes 25 forms of ID to open a bank account.
You can't even buy a lottery ticket without showing a passport.
All brits born in the 70's and 80's aren't allowed to give blood because we might have mad cow disease.
Neighbours is a prime time TV show.
The Mentalist is a well-watched tv show not about nutters
The news reports "bashings" rather than assaults which makes us
laugh when we shouldn't.
There are more photos below