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Down UnderPhotos of Thailand

On 20 December 2003 from Sydney, NSW | comments closed

I finally managed to find an internet cafe where I could upload my photos. Somehow there is always something that does not work for me, either an old operating system, no CD-drive, a slow connection, or the place is just too expensive. But no more worries, I managed to upload the remaining photos of Malaysia and the ones from Thailand. The photos from Sydney will have to wait till another time though.

Down UnderTasmania

On from Sydney, NSW | comments closed

I spent the last six days in Sydney getting organised, sightseeing, job hunting, relaxing, and figuring out what to do and where to go in Australia. Chances of finding a nice job in Sydney during the next weeks are pretty slim, because of Christmas and New Year’s holidays and the summer vacation here. Since I did not come to Australia to enjoy the cities (I might just as well have stayed home), I figured I needed to get out of Sydney. I can always work later in the year, and I have saved some money to travel, so why not do it right now?

So I decided to go to Tasmania, the island that is also a province, twice the size of the Netherlands, but less than 500.000 inhabitants. The main reasons to go there are the fact that flying is not much more expensive than taking the ferry, and the weather is best now. Since it is the Southernmost part of Australia, it might be fairly cold when I choose to go there after travelling to New Zealand. Today I booked my flight, but because it is ultra high season here, I am flying on 25 December, the first available option. I guess I am making a tradition of spending Christmas at airports. On the other hand, my family is 16.645 km away, so it will not be a family Christmas after all. And what is the point of celebrating Christmas without family anyway?

But before heading off to try to spot a Tasmanian Devil, I am going for a 2-3 day trip to the Blue Mountains on Monday. Time for the real Australia, even though Sydney is quite okay for a city with 4 million inhabitants.

Down UnderA Word about Costs

On 18 December 2003 from Sydney, NSW | comments closed

Some of you visiting this site might wonder how much my wanderlust is costing me. Somehow most backpackers’ sites carefully avoid this issue. But I decided to go by Adam Curry‘s (for those of you who do not know him: it is not important) adagium: “There are no Secrets, Only information you don’t yet have”.

I just started my trip, so there is not that much information to share, but here is what I have paid so far:
1638 euro for the flight (Amsterdam-Singapore, Bangkok-Sydney, Sydney-Auckland, Auckland-Melbourne, Melbourne-Hong Kong, Hong Kong-Amsterdam);
450 euro for travel insurance;
103 euro for my Working Holiday Visa.
So including guidebook it is about 2250 euro just to get here, be insured and be able to work.

However, during 3,5 weeks of travelling in South-East Asia I only spent 330 euro. That is excluding 155 euro of electronics I bought. Unfortunately Australia is quite a bit more expensive than South-East Asia. I am trying to spend a maximum of 50 euro a day here. So far that is working, but I have not left Sydney yet. I am working on that though.

Down UnderJob Hunting

On 17 December 2003 from Sydney, NSW | comments closed

Since I have a fixed flight from Sydney to Auckland (New Zealand) on 10 February, my plan is to stay around the Sydney area for the next 7 weeks. Sydney is supposed to be the best place to find work, except for this time of the year, since it is the summer holiday period. So office work is pretty hard to find, although I ran into a vacancy for the Christmas and New Year period today. I did some tests: typing (only 54 words/minute) and Microsoft Office (average more than 90/100 points). According to the guy at the agency I stand a pretty good chance. We’ll see.

In any case, there seems to be more work in the hospitality area and since I worked for more than 3 years at a bar in my home town, I have some experience in that area. However, I need to get an RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificate to be able to work in hospitality venues in NSW. So that will fill my day on Friday.

I also moved to a cheaper hostel, but I should really find some shared house or something for the next seven weeks. When all these plans fail, I can just enjoy the summer here and travel around. At least the weather here is a lot better than back in Europe, so far it has been sunny and over 25 degrees every day. Just perfect.

Maybe it is because of the weather, but Sydney is a really nice city. First of all, there is a lot of activity, so no chance to get bored. Other than that, there are plenty of opportunities to avoid the streets. From my hostel I can walk pretty much all the way to the Opera House through a series of connected parks. Yesterday I spent hours relaxing in the Botanical Gardens, mainly because I was not feeling too well (I am blaming the airplane food), but also because it is such a relaxed place.