Thursday, September 20, 2012

And so to Spring...

They say that time flies when you are having fun.  Well, as you get older, time just flies.  It’s not that I haven’t been having fun.  I have.  Lots of it.  But it’s not all schooners and burger deals at the Manly Wharf Hotel. (ed. point for readers not familiar with Australian hostelries, all pubs are called hotels for some incongruous reason.)  I have seen off winter, hardly a drag, and we are now firmly in spring.  Coming up to the end of month 2, seriously?!?, I thought it was time to update you on what this ex-pat has been doing.

 There has been a healthy dose of real life thrown in the mix since we last spoke.  And by real life, yes, I do actually mean real life.  I have been trying to focus on one thing at a time, and in the order of my current priorities, that was apartment hunting, more of which later, and the mind numbing tasks of setting up things like utility accounts for said apartment.  This dull, but essential role continues as I have yet to buy a television and procure broadband.  For my internet fix I am currently relying on my nifty little Telstra mobile Wi-Fi device (not ideal for streaming the United matches online, as I discovered to my disdain after setting the alarm for 4.45am on Thursday to watch the Champions League match) and the Wi-Fi on offer in coffee shops. 

The latter of which is not as ubiquitous as I had imagined.  This came as a bit of a surprise having travelled the length and breadth of South America last year and never having a problem getting online.  Apart from maybe in Salento, Colombia, when I arrived very late after being detained by the Colombian army, very grouchy and found out I would be without Wi-Fi for the subsequent 4 days.  However, I digress.

The last few weeks have seen me secure an apartment, subjecting myself to the tortuous process that is followed in Australia when looking for rentals.  Rather than phone the agent and make an appointment that suits you, you are “invited” to join all the other punters in a 15-minute open house.  And in you all traipse at the same time, literally falling over each other to see if the modest abode will suit both you and your budget.  Another quirk is that all rent is quoted weekly, another slight shock to the system when I discovered the flat I liked was not $450 per month, but rather per week.  So for a calendar month, my rent is almost $2000.  This translates to approximately £1300 at current exchange rates.  I better get a job?  No shit Sherlock!

That said, I moved in this week and love it.  And it’s in a great suburb, called Mosman, a leisurely 10-minute walk to my local beach at Balmoral.  You may even have seen some of the pictures I have been posting of it.  OK, I’ll rein that in a little.  Did I mention the fish and chips there?  And the local pub (hotel) is a great spot.  The Buena Vista Hotel.  I’m sat in here now having a cheeky schooner on thirsty Thursday.  Just wish the Mosman hipsters in the corner would keep the noise down a little, I’m trying to work over here.  And for the city?  Just a 20 minute bus ride away so convenient for when I get that all-important job.   If I so wished, I could even jump on a ferry at Mosman Bay to the city.  This could be a fun diversion some mornings to break up the daily commute.

My next challenge is just need to get used to living on my own again.  It is un-unnervingly quiet.  For the last month, I have been in a flat share, via the fantastic, with an English girl called Steph.  I better be nice as I have a feeling she might be reading this.  I knew we were going to get on when the first time we met, she poured me a large glass of wine.  This was followed by a “quiet” night out, where we got slowly plastered.  Being asked to leave the pub as they wanted to close, and then reconvening on the balcony of the apartment with more wine.  Boom.  We bonded.  I think she was just relieved that I wasn’t Russian.  Well Steph, what you gonna do?  Sit in?

That’s about all for now folks but stay tuned for the next episode and updates on my new mode of transport (I’m sure most of you already know), how I’ve become a regular of a bar at Darling Harbour, my job search to date, and how I’m now playing 5 aside football on Saturday mornings with a bunch of Brazilians.  Yeah, you read that last bit right.

Hasta luego amigos, see you soon!


  1. The boozers are called hotels because they could stay open later than pubs historically. I realise that this input is vague and possibly inaccurate but thats never stopped me chipping in to anything before

  2. Thank you for your valuable input Wana, always appreciated :-)

  3. I read that it stemmed from colonial liquor laws. In NSW at least, during the early 19th century they required all on-site licencees to offer accommodation as an attempt to regulate and restrict the growth of the alcohol trade.