I'm back after a rather long hiatus. Signing in from
My first impression of
Many scared me saying
Oh, and one of the most informative conversations I've had since I landed here was with an old lady whom I still do not know who... basically her husband and I were peering at the same curio in the museum and a conversation started because she knew what the strange-looking thing was… it happened to be a hand-rattle as we came to know later, but since it was in a barracks museum her husband and I were trying to guess whether it was some kind of instrument used to torture people—when she came and interrupted the horrendous thoughts saying it was but a kids’ plaything.
As the conversation progressed, she started explaining and delved into the history of
And yes, to me, a city’s libraries are an indication of how friendly the place is. I was just delighted to walk into the nearby library to find a nice, plump, friendly librarian manning the counter. And even more delighted to see her surrounded by kids (since the nearby school had just ended its day) asking for books to be borrowed, searching for lost things (and there was this dear boy who was asking her with a sorry puppy face if she’d seen the cap he lost yesterday--the one that his mother had embroidered his initials on, and she grinned and brought out a dozen caps asking him to find his!) and a lot of such friendly banter!
A normal city, with ups and downs
What I hated about
The beggars here, by the way, are very interesting. They sit on the roads, with a plate or cloth spread out in front of them. They have a board next to them, where they request you for money, in rather poetic ways—some of the boards read rather well—“I am a homeless bloke, with no roof above my head. Help me get on my feet again, and I’ll be grateful to you. Your gold coin donation will be highly appreciated!” (That means, they want nothing less than a dollar—the minimum gold coin denomination!) And yes, they can usually be found reading a newspaper and drinking a cup of Starbucks coffee. The heart still hopes that the coffee was donated by a generous passer-by or somebody who could not finish a cupful! It sure would give one a complex if beggars in this land could really afford Starbucks coffee all the time!!
Life in a village
So, for a month after we landed here, we lived in a serviced apartment in the heart of the city (while we were searching for a house.) We made use of that one month to do all the touristy things—to take a tour of the Opera House, walk on the Harbour Bridge, ride on ferries and jet boats, visit the Taronga Zoo, laze on the wooden steps flanking the waters in the harbour, gazing at the ships, living on sandwiches (vegetarian food is pretty easy to find in Sydney), and all that.
All this while, we also parallel-processed the house-hunt. It took us a little longer to find a house because we wanted one in an Indian locality and if possible close to the home of a family friend—whose family is one of the friendliest and most helpful we’ve ever seen!
Here, the residential areas are in the suburbs, outside the core city. Many of these suburbs are called ‘villages’, ‘towns’ or ‘municipalities’—and they typically are so. For example, the apartment we’ve rented is in
So, well, we’ve now rented a unit in an apartment complex, for six months, and I’m back at work and blogging albeit on an extremely slow dial-up connection! Having grown so used to the comfort of broadband, reverting to dial-up is rather painful! Oh, I forgot to tell you why… this is one thing I did not like about
Telstra is a monopoly player here; so hot-headed that one of their consultants told me they won’t give you a phone line unless you take a 12-month contract! If you break the contract before that, you need to pay them the fixed charges for the remaining months—which is probably the reason why the tenant who occupied this apartment before went away without disconnecting the phone line! So, despite the fact that I found a service provider (Yes Optus) who gives telephone connections without contracts, it’s taking us longer to get a phone line as disconnecting the earlier line is a legal procedure (which fortunately Optus handles on our behalf). But what is TOUGHEST to believe is that a broadband connection takes TWO to THREE weeks after one gets a phone line! I mean, if I get a modem, install it etc., does it take that long for them to activate the line on their server? Oh well, who knows! Anyways, it’s back to basics, working on a dial-up connection, pretty much a big compromise for a geek J
So, here I am, waiting to get broadband… so I can upload photos!