Christmas Down Under

Trip Start Sep 28, 2003
Trip End Sep 29, 2004

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Friday, January 16, 2004

From now, on the entries will be a bit less of a day by day account of what I have done on my trip. More of an overview of the main events that have happened since I have been here.

Well we arrived back in Manly (nr Sydney) on Christmas Eve. After planning to be in Sydney for Christmas, all the way down the coast we had been hearing that most of the accomodation in Sydney was already booked out. In keeping with the rest of our trip we had not booked ahead.

It was lucky that we knew someone already back in Manly. Jay rang around some hostels for us and managed to arrange a hostel for us to stay in for a week (including Christmas and New Years Eve's). Unfortunately the hostel where James and I were staying was not exactly the best we had been to. In fact it was probably the worst hostel I had stayed in so far. One kind of plus point was that the only beds available were two beds in a private room, although the disadvantage to this, was that we had to pay a lot more for the privilege.

Just to give you some idea, to get to the toilets we had to go outside to get to the wooden toilets (a bit like small sheds), the kitchen seemed to contain more flies than the total number of people who had ever dared to enter it and one day I shared the shower with a cockroach - overall, nice!

I spent Christmas Day with Jay and a few other people we had met with a month or so back in Airlie Beach. This was at their hostel, which was a bit better than we were staying, although not by too much....

We had a barbecue for Christmas dinner, including some nice steak, some prawns, chicken kebabs and kangaroo kebabs. This was the first time that I had tried kangaroo, I thought that it seemed like slightly chewy beef. Apparently it is normally a bit better than that, everything else we had was great though, well done Jay for oprganising it all.

Well, it was the first Christmas Afternoon that I had ever spent on the beach. There were also a couple of other people there as well, although it was not as packed as I had imagined. I think Bondi Beach is where many backpackers go on Christmas Day. It was nice to see family groups on Manly beach and it was quite a nice atmosphere. See the photos I took of the beach, which should be in the gallery somewhere.

New Year's Eve we spent at a great vantage point, sitting at the edge of the Botanic Gardens, with a clear view of both the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. It was a great position that we were only able to get because friends of friends had turned up at midday to reserve some space. There are some photo's of New Years Eve in the gallery. Neil and Kelly and Kelly's sister Rachel and her boyfriend Scott, met up with us as well.

Just before the New Year, Bob and Elaine flew down to Sydney, for the last week of their holiday after being in Cairns for a week. I saw them a couple of times and I was lucky enough to be invited to go with James and them on a boat that they hired for a half a day. It was great to go about Sydney harbour (under the bridge!) under our own steam (OK - it wasn't steam...) It was great to just moor up by a beach, allowing those who wanted to, to jump in for a swim.

Well with New Year over with there was one priority, for James and myself. This was to get out of the hostel that we were staying in as quickly as possible. James had already decided that he wanted to move into a house or flat somewhere in Sydney, preferably Manly. He was looking to share a place with Kate (a friend he had met last time in Manly) and or Neil and Kelly (who were also looking to get a place in Manly).

After a while of looking in Manly, Neil and Kelly had started to look in a different area of Sydney. Kate also decided that she did not want to commit to a lease. So it was then that I came out to have a look at a couple of places. Up until this point, my plan had been to find work first (he writes sitting here with hindsight - ha ha ha!) before organising a place to stay. I had been looking for jobs for a couple of weeks, but without too much success. I was (and still am) trying to get IT work similar to what I would do back at home.

After speaking to Neil and Kelly, and seeing a couple of places that we could potentially lease for 6 months. I decided that I might be better off organising somewhere to stay first. Then at least it would give me a good base from which to look for work. So I went in with James, Kelly and Neil and organised the lease of a house in Drummoyne, which is a suburb of Sydney. It is about 15 -20 minutes away from the centre of Sydney by bus.

It was at this time that I was told of one of Neil and Kelly's friends whop is working in Sydney (also on a working holiday visa) in a recruitment company. I sent my CV over to him, and it just so happened that his company was finding people for the Australian office of the company that I last worked for in the UK - a company called Dendrite.

Dendrite have an office just north of Sydney. They immediately called me in for an Interview as they wanted to see what I could do. So I spent the next morning running round, getting shirt and trousers pressed, and buying a pair of shoes, before going to an Agency interview, with the agency who got me the interview, before heading to meet the guys at Dendrite. Unfortunately they took a long time to make their decision as someone went away on holiday for a while. The first time that they came back to the agency, the agency suggested a way whereby I may be able to work at Dendrite for 6 months. (You are only typically allowed to work for a single company for 3 months in Australia on a working holiday visa). They seemed enthusiastic about this and promised to get back the next day. The day after this they called back and said that they would rather take on someone permanent for the position which they had me in mind for! This was a bit of a blow as I knew that they would not get anyone with as relavent work experience as I had, with Dendrite's main product. Unfortunately that is the way it goes and I now started looking for a job a little bit harder...

That is all for this episode, in the next episode we finally move into our new house.

Bye for now... Tim
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