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Down UnderSales Training

On 31 March 2004 from Perth, WA | comments closed

On Monday I spent the day walking around town to find a different hostel to stay, mainly because I did not like the place I was staying at very much (the dorms were too big and there were too many people from England). I figured that if I want to spend some time in Perth, I might as well spend it at a place I like. So I found a place with a better atmosphere (albeit slightly alternative), where I am currently only paying A$90 (56 euro) a week for a bed in a triple room. That is really cheap for an Australian big city hostel.

After finding a new hostel, I looked around town for jobs advertised, and decided to check out one that promised A$600-1200 earning, with travel and accommodation paid for. In the following interview I was basically talked into a sales job, selling home phone and internet door to door. Oh well, it is not like I have anything better to to this week, and I can still look for other jobs in the morning. Besides – and this was my main motivation to go to the training – a bit of sales experience will always be a good thing to have, and – if nothing else – it should make me more confident. And a bit of personal development was one of the main reasons to go to Australia anyway (otherwise I could just have travelled around South-East Asia for a year without having to work).

So I did this sales training yesterday and today, learning a lot about the product first and some sales techniques later on. I will basically be selling a cheaper home phone service (kinda like “Tele2” in the Netherlands) and/or dial-up or DSL internet. The course had 7 participants (including 2 Dutch girls) yesterday, and today only 3 were left (the Dutch girls dropped out). And it was quite some fun today, mainly because of the male-only environment (some things are just not said when girls are present). Tomorrow will be observation first, before I can bother people by knocking on their door myself.

Down UnderArrived in Perth

On 28 March 2004 from Perth, Western Australia | comments closed

The last couple of days I have been relaxing, going out, and enjoying the nice Australian weather. The weather is definitely a lot warmer here than it was in New Zealand, and after 6 weeks of pretty intensive travelling I needed a bit of a break as well.

Friday I spent the day at my hostel in Melbourne, reading and making a package to send home (no need to carry around the Lonely Planet of New Zealand, and they are starting to make a nice collection back home). In the evening I went to a comedy show, part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, for which the hostel was handing out free tickets. Afterwards I had some beers in a bar close to the hostel.

My flight from Melbourne to Perth on Saturday was only in the evening, so in the morning I picked up a free newspaper at the Melbourne Museum and took the tram to St Kilda. After a quick rollercoaster ride in the Luna Park I sat down near the beach and spent some hours reading the paper. Sun, sea, newspaper, life does not getter any better that this (except for a cappuccino or hot chocolate maybe, but I could not be bothered to get up and get it). The flight to Perth was with Virgin Blue and it was pretty good, especially since I had about a metre of leg space, being seated at the exit. In Perth I took the bus to my hostel, met a Canadian girl (from Winnipeg of all places), checked in at my hostel, went out, and met up with the girl and some guys. Meeting people and making friends is sometimes really easy.

Today I slept in till the afternoon, and went into the city for lunch and grocery shopping. I got all the feelgood food I could think of: Milo serial (only sold in Australia, kinda like chocolate cornflakes, but really good), Cadbury chocolate (I visited 2 Cadbury factories in the past 3 months, need I say more?), and Hokey Pokey ice-cream (I thought it was only sold in New Zealand, but Woolworths in Australia sells it as well, great stuff). With all that stuff (and more), I walked out in the clean shopping streets (all the shops are open on Sundays here), soaked up some of the sunshine (Perth enjoys more hours of sunshine than any other capital city in Australia), and took the free city centre bus back to my hostel. I think I already like Perth.

In the past week I also managed to completely figure out the world time zones, and the changes with daylight savings time. The fact that I had to change the time on my watch, camera and phone about three times had most to do with that. Because daylight savings ended last weekend (a weekend earlier in New Zealand) in the southern hemisphere, and started last weekend in the northern hemisphere, and because I moved thousands of kilometres west, the time difference (compared to mainland Western Europe) went from 12 hours last week to 6 hours now. Perth is GMT +8, whereas mainland Western Europe is GMT +2. Just for your information, will try not to bother you more with acquired knowledge…

Down UnderBack in Australia

On 25 March 2004 from Melbourne, VIC, Australia | comments closed

Yesterday I spent my last morning in New Zealand on getting rid of my remaining Kiwi dollars. I managed to find a neat LED keyring light to replace my lost Maglite solitaire, before getting to the airport. Security there was pretty annoying; at the second checkpoint the x-ray scanners kept beeping and I had to get my belt and shoes off before I was able to pass through. Quite embarrasing really. The flight itself was pretty good, and because they played the feelgood movie ‘Love Actually’ it was over before I knew it. Qantas almost managed to get me drunk on the Bundaberg rum with coke (somehow they kept giving me doubles). As expected, Australian customs were not much of a problem, although they did want to see my ticket at the forbidden goods check, as if they were afraid I would not return home. In the evening my hostel (‘The Friendly Backpacker’) organised a pub crawl, a pretty good start of my return in Oz.

Down UnderLast Day in New Zealand

On 24 March 2004 from Auckland, New Zealand | comments closed

On Tuesday morning I did some souvenir shopping in Taupo (2 shirts and some postcards), before getting on the bus to Auckland. It seemed the bus passed through the Shire, since the scenery mainly consisted of green rolling hills, and Hobbiton was actually built somewhere in that area. I spent the rest of the day shopping, and sorting out my photos (another 3 hours in an internet cafe).

Today I took the ferry to Rangitoto, a volcanic island only 30 minutes from the city centre of Auckland. I hiked to the summit of the volcano to get some nice views of the Auckland harbour, checked out a cave and hiked to the neighbouring island of Motutapu, altogether some 5 hours. Afterwards I got a haircut, did my laundry and cleaned out my bag, so Australian customs will not give me a hard time when I enter the country tomorrow.