Saturday, 3 March 2012

Touching Australian Soil


Getting through Sydney airport took a while, I have lost count of the number of times I have had ID checks and have had my bags scanned.  I am surprised they are not glowing radioactive green by the number of times they have been put though those machines.
From the airport I took the train to Kings Cross which was near where I was staying.  I had already planned the journey in the UK.
The train stations in the airport was quiet (because it was 10:00pm) and very clean and tidy.
When the train arrived I was surprised to see that trains in Sydney are double decker, I think double decker trains are a great idea, although they don’t really cater for people with disabilities.  The outside of the trains are made from corrugated silver coloured metal and they look more like American diners on wheels than trains.
Arriving in Kings Cross didn’t take long and I was surprised when I go there.  It looks just like Ayia Napa, full of drunken people and neon signs for shady strip clubs.  The only cars on the road were either taxis or police cars.  I have heard so many good times about Sydney, about how classy and modern it was.  But at the moment it just looks like any 18-30 club holiday destination.
I found the hostel with not much difficulty (again I planned this journey from the UK) and that to was crammed full of drunk people.  I managed to check in ok but the reception guy came running up the stairs after me, I had done my usual old trick of leaving important documents on the desk again.
I think if you ever want to find me just follow the trail of important documents and valuable items I leave lying around.  In my defence the flight and getting through Sydney airport had made me very tired.
After spending a few hours in my room unpacking and writing I decided that already want to go home.  All I can hear around me is people talking and chatting.  It feels like everyone here knows everyone else apart from me.  I think I am the only person here on their own in their own room and it is lonely as hell.  I am writing this listening to music because I am trying to drown out the sound of the people in the next room shagging.  I know that the first days, weeks or even months of this will be hard and so far I am right.  I am currently not having fun here.
 I know that I have just got here and I will make some friends in the next few days, so I just need to get on with this... things will get better.

Against the clock / arriving in Singapore


This flying against the clock is really getting to me now.  Time has always been reliable to me and the days and nights have come and gone when I have expected them to.  I haven’t ever looked at my clock to see that it was midnight then looked out the window to find it sunny outside.  But that is what it is like at the moment and it is messing with my head.
The sun had just come up when we started to approach Singapore and the view out of the window was amazing.  The bay on the approach to Singapore is littered full of tiny islands, all of them looked like little tropic paradises.  The water around these tiny islands was a very bright shade of blue showing just how shallow the water around these island were, really the islands themselves were just the tip of the land mass.  Some of these islands had a house built on them, and some had a house built next to them, so the house actually looked like it was built on water which was a very odd sight.  No doubt these houses are owned by stupidly rich people.
After we passed the maze of tiny islands a wall of large skyscrapers started coming into view, this I assume is the city of Singapore.
The large bay outside Singapore is full of hundreds of boats.  And these aren’t just small boats but massive cargo ships, and there are hundreds of them, all just sat floating there, and they were all facing the same direction.
After we passed the bay we quickly descended and landed at Singapore airport.
The first thing I noticed whilst getting off the plane was the heat.  The sun may have just come up but it already feels like the hottest day of the summer back in the UK.  I dread to think what it will be like late afternoon.
After leaving the plane and looking around the large modern clean airport of Singapore I suddenly started feeling super excited.  The feeling of nervousness and regret I had on the plane has been replaced by a huge amount of excitement.  I just feel like shouting “I’m in fucking Singapore!”  I really want to phone all my friends and family and tell them how I am in Singapore and how awesome it was.  I know I am just in the airport but still...
I have two hours before the final part of my journey starts and I head off to Sydney.


video

Backlog

By the way, because of internet issues I am working through a backlog of posts.  I have actually been in Sydney for a few days now but I want to post everything in chronological order so I will post 2 or 3 posts a day until the backlog is gone and then I will be posting once a day.

The Journey (part 1)


I managed to make it through the airport in one piece.  The woman on the check in desk called me back saying “you might need this” referring to my passport that I had left on her desk.  A woman standing behind me near the departure gate tapped me on the shoulder to say “you have dropped this” referring to my plane ticket.  I can’t believe I had left my passport and dropped my plane ticket!  It is a miracle that I even made it onto the damn plane; I think sometimes I live a very charmed life.
Whilst waiting to board, First Class and Business Class people were invited to board first, it was interesting to see these odd few people stand up and walk to the gate past all the economy (normal) people.  They must have felt so smug.
As I got onto the plane I was greeted by very exotic looking stewardesses, they were oriental and dressed in very oriental and silky dresses. The other times I have been on a plane all the stewardesses were orange and had Geordie accents but those flights were only going to typical destinations like Ayia Napa and Magaluf.  This may sound a bit stupid but seeing these stewardesses was the first time I realised just how far I was travelling, and this made me somewhat nervous.
Walking through the plane was interesting as well because we entered at the front where first and business classes were but I was in economy class, so I had to walk through the plane watching it slowly degrade and get worse until I reached my seat in economy class.  I felt like the airline were rubbing it in a bit, like “this is what you could afford if you got a better job”.
In fairness my seat isn’t too bad but it is a stark contrast from the massive leather beast in the higher classes.  You could probably fit at least 3 economy seats in the space of 1 first class seat.
My seat (like all others) has a small TV screen in front of it with a wired remote control.  Here I can access the in-flight entertainment including films, TV shows, music and some very dated looking games.  I think I will be making the most of these as the flight is very long.
At the moment I feel a bit nervous but not much else.  To be honest I am just relieved to be on the plane.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Departure Lounge (29th Feb)


When it comes to Australia and trying to imagine what it would be like to live there, I come up with a blank.  Sydney is over 10,000miles away from where I am from and I just can’t imagine what everyday life out there for me would be like.  Since I announced to people that I was going to live in Australia for a year I have been given many guide books, all of whom claim to be “insider” guides that know everything there is to know about Australia.  However after reading the majority of these books I still have no idea what to expect.  I have picked up some important information like the locations of places of interest, but I still don’t know what Australia, or Sydney to be more precise, is actually like.
An example I can give you is that I once read that Tunisia is a nice place to go on holiday, but I have been to Tunisia and it is not a nice place to go.  Whenever you go out anywhere you need to take a stick or something with you to beat back the locals and to stop them from trying to grab you.  They are very touchy feely and as soon as they learn you are a tourist they swap you.
Or maybe they are all just really friendly and nice and I’m a horrible person with deep seated issues with personal space, who knows.
Another issue with trying to imagine what a place will be like based on what other people have said it that people see the world through different eyes.  Two people may witness the same event and have completely different opinions and emotions about it.
But really none of this matters, because I will be in Sydney in a few days and I will be able to find out what life is like there myself.  Until then I am keeping an open mind.

A formal introduction


What is this blog about?
Basically, this blog is about my experience whilst I spent 1 year living in Sydney.  This isn’t just a long holiday, I am here to get a job, get a place to live, get a car and basically become a fully integrated member of society.   I am also writing up a list of things I have to do whilst I am here.  This list includes all the standard touristy things like learning to surf, visiting Uluru (Ayers rock) and eating kangaroo meat, but also other more ambitious things to do like meeting the Australian prime mister and to appearing on Australian television.  I want to make the most of my time here down under and to see what I can achieve in just a year.

So, who am I?
Well, my name is Mike, I am 24 and my professional background is in Civil Engineering.  I also have ambitions to write stories and comedy material and maybe one day do stand up comedy, maybe.  I also enjoy photography and travel which go hand in hand.

And why am I moving?
The initial reason for me moving to Australia was to seek work.  Since my last Engineering job ended my former work colleagues and some of my university lecturers highly recommended Australia to me.  They told me that Engineering is very popular out there at the moment.  Or maybe they all just don’t like me very much and want me as far away as possible.  But ever since they recommended Australia and I started talking to people about the idea of going off to Australia I always got positive feedback, it seemed everyone I spoke to about Australia has either been there themselves and loved it or knows someone who has been there and loved it.  So in the end, I am going out there to find an Engineering job and to find out what all the fuss is about.

What does this blog mean to me?
I want to try and record as much of my Australian experience here, I want people to be able to read this blog and feel the experience of what I will go through.  And most of all I want this blog to be entertaining throughout.
If I get a bit of a fan base going that would be great.  You guys could give me some ideas of thing I should add to my “to do list”.
I also see this blog as motivation, if I just went out there and sat around all day drinking I wouldn’t have anything worth writing about.  But by committing to this blog I will be motivated to get off my arse and to go out and do stuff worth writing about.
If you want to contact me, my email address is takingthemike@hotmail.co.uk


Cheers

Monday, 27 February 2012

Open

The time is 12:32am on Monday the 27th of February 2012, and I officially declare this blog open!