This is my Emu. In art class we are using a lot of different materials. I am using paint, shiny blue paper, bark, smooth gray paper and  I am also using soft Emu feathers that are real on Ducku. I called it Ducku The Emu because it has tiny legs like a duck.


It is not finished yet but this is how it looks now!!!



The Orange Cow





In summer the only orange cow ate all my grass because it was so hungry.

On the 22nd of april the same cow ate the beautiful blue flower on the big hill because it was still hungry.

The orange cow

Once up on a time there was a one and only orange cow his name is Jack,Jack the orange cow. on the 29 of november he went on a date with his girl-friend to the moovies and had popcorn. The next day Jack had to go to the hospital because he had a tummy ache. The doctor asked how much did you last eat? Jack said: I ate lots of grass from a little boys garden. the docter said decause your a orange cow Jack never eat so much.

The End

Long Easter weekend 2013

Finally a long weekend with no plans or appointments. Although we are in Australia for 3 years now, and we are adapting the aussie lifestyle, we are still not infected with the easter show fever (yet?). Honestly, we do not understand all the fuss about the show bags. Maybe we missed it in our childhood. The only reason we would go there one day is to see the biggest pumpkin of the year and the prettiest cake.


No instead of taking the bus to the easter show Continue reading Long Easter weekend 2013


No time to relax with the Kemna Family. It has been a while since our last post, and a lot happend since. Everything is going fine and this week we are experiencing the hot Syndey summer, including the hottest night in many many years. The temperature did not drop under 30 degrees. The newspaper of today says:”41 degrees: Sydney’s sixth day of sizzling”. With some sadness we think back to our Dutch home in Nieuwegein where we installed Airconditioning in the bedrooms, to stay cool and have a good sleep on that terrible hot day in The Netherlands ;). Continue reading Changes

Ametyst Office Support

Well, one of the things that changed when moving here is that we both had to quit our jobs.

Of course, I found a job quick enough, but for Melissa it is harder as you get into this catch-22: You can’t work full time if you don’t have daycare, but you can’t pay for daycare… if you don’t work fulltime. So, a solution had to be found and this is it. Spread the word! 🙂

Oh, and you can find the website at

Worldcup 2010, Maus and Poes


I realize that It’s been a while since my last post, but I didn’t feel like writing at all. First, just after my last post, the football Worldcup 2010 took place in South Africa. As a fan of the Dutch, I tried to watch all matches, but that’s quite hard, as some matches took place at 4.30am. A time I normally try to spend in bed and as our bedroom TV didn’t survive the trim down under (unless, of course, when you don’t mind hallucinogenic colors).

Having a few German colleagues, it was also fun to follow the Mannschaft and well, if Spain didn’t beat us both, we might have had a dream final. But alas, first the Spanish team took Germany out, and in the finals they rightfully won as well. But by that time I didn’t have much interest in football anymore, let me tell you why:

During the last week of the world cup, my dear friend and friendly cat Maus got really sick. For some reason he was suddenly very tired and didn’t move much anymore. So we took him to the vet, where after a few days of tests, they discovered he had a rare cancer in the red blood cells. So on Thursday the 8th of July, we had to let him go.

I always joked about how one of our cats would surely die from some spider or snake bite after arrival here when people asked me how much it costed to take them with you. Well, it wasn’t a spider bite, it was something he already had in the Netherlands, but for some diseases, if you don’t look for them, you won’t find them, especially since cats are masters at deceiving you and hiding their illnesses. I’m just glad he was really happy here when he was reunited with us from quarantine.

Kipp, our other cat, kept looking for him for days, inside the house, outside the house, positioning himself in strategic places, he kept wondering where his best friend had gone. And as Maus was always the talkative one, the one that came to your bed to make sure you were safe, the one that knew the difference between your and other cars and immediately came to greet you when you got home, we agreed the house was just too empty. But it couldn’t be another male, nor a black and white one. So, we decided that if there was ever coming a new cat, it could only be a red, female one.


So, we called the vet and asked if there were any kittens currently been left for adoption. You see, we didn’t want to buy from a store as it’s really sad to see the cats in a shop in a mall, especially when you know that some people don’t neuter their cats and simply drop the offspring at a vet, if they’re lucky.

And as you may have guessed by now (well, kind of hard not to, with that picture…), we went to a local vet to see if they had a red, female kitten and there she was. Her brother was picked up a day earlier and Poes, as we called her, just stole our hearts and we couldn’t let her stay there another day alone.

Previously Kipp was our ‘small’ cat and he really looked small compared to Maus, but when you see Poes next to Kipp, you realize how big Maus actually was, and how tiny Poes still is. But it sure is fun again, having a busy kitten running around, catching your toes, fighting with toy mice and most of all, hunting the tail of that large grumpy grey fellow Kipp.

Well, so much for what happened in the last two months, there’s more of course, but I think I’ll keep that to myself for a while, or at least until the website is ready… You’ll just have to come back to see what I’m talking about 🙂


Herring & Mortgages

So, with the Dutch elections over with a landslide move to the right, our most notorious ‘suspected’ killer behind bars in Peru and the first barrel of Dutch herring (nieuwe haring! I crave for just one!) going for no less than 58000,- euros (yes, that’s 1288.8888888 and a lot more 8888’s behind that) a piece, which comes roughly to the monthly down-payment on our mortgage for our Dutch home, it’s finally time to actually announce some good news:

– The World Cup Football is just about to start and I’ve taunted my German colleagues by wearing my authentic Orange jersey. As I said the day before I would be wearing it, one of the Germans wore his country’s jersey and we had some laughs about it. It didn’t even end with spitting in each others hair. It’s actually quite funny that you’ll have to move to the other end of the world to befriend your neighbour. The only sad thing is that I’m a bit vulnerable to picking up accents and I’ve noticed that I start to sound like Herr Flick around them…

– Ok, really, the real good news :-), we sold our house in the Netherlands yesterday. It has been on sale since September last year and even though the housing market here Down Under is booming, back in the Netherlands it has almost come to a complete and utter halt. I’m pretty happy to say that we no longer have the burden of, well, a ‘herring a month’ on top of our lease down here. We loved that house and neighborhood, but you just can’t take those with you. And as we don’t plan on coming back, it was just a bit too expensive for a second house.

So, with that financial burden lifted from our shoulders, we can finally repay the loans we had to take out to move down here and start building up again. To be able to say that after less than 3 months here is actually quite impressing, having a great job, Tim doing awesome in school, no loans hanging over our heads anymore and ending up in the plus each month from now on sure gives a great feeling of security.

We’ve actually started our secondary goals already, Melissa is researching ways to make an extra income by becoming a Virtual PA (which I believe she will be the best at, excuse this shameless plug, but it’s true ;-)) for at least as long as Zoë can’t go to school. In the Netherlands she would have been allowed into first grade (e.g., kindergarten), but down here she’ll have to wait until January. Sad, as she’s so ready for it already. I guess having an older brother does give some advantages… (I can tell, I have one 🙂  )

Well, as you can read, we’re doing well, the future looks quite bright and we’re all pretty happy. Of course, I’m already concerned how I’m ever going to own a house here, as the prices of property have sky-rocketed here, but really, between you and me, being worried about that is probably just a luxury 🙂

I guess I’m not much of an underachiever after all 😉

And on day 56, man creates post…

It’s been 8 weeks now since our arrival at Sydney Airport and it have been a busy 8 weeks. But, I can say with a lot of results.

I’m now in my 3rd week at work at the Australia Broadcasting Corporation and Tim is already in his 4th week at West Pennant Hills Public School.

Tim in school uniform

Though I’ve never been fond of public transportation, it’s almost the only, reasonable, way into the city. It would cost probably around $50,- or more a day on parking and some more on gas & toll. And, as we’ve (for now) only have one car (which you really need if you’d like to go anywhere in the Hills) it was a no-brainer that I was to go by bus & train.

The other man in the house has been going to kindergarten and is really advancing quick on his language skills. We feared we’d never be able to get him into a school uniform, he actually is quite fond of it. I just hope he’ll grow out of this uniform fetish before he turns 18 🙂 Right now, it’s still cute.

The day after we moved in, I went to pick up our cats. We were afraid that they’d hate our guts for shipping them off like we did, but it didn’t take them long to adjust to their new home at all. Right now the only problem here is that they can’t go in or out without our help. But as it’s a rental, it’s not really an option to whip out my saw and install a cat flap.

Coming to that, I’ve never really rented a house. Sure, when I was a student, I lived in a shared house in Utrecht, but I bought my first apartment when I was 24. Now, not that I’m a big DIY-er, but whenever I felt like hammering in a nail, or drill a hole in any of my walls, I could do so without having to ask for written permission. But getting into the home-owners game down here is pretty expensive at the moment. But, who knows, perhaps I should join with what seems to be one of the main sports Down Under: betting.

I can’t remember that I’d have a single TV channel for horse and dog-races, but here I have 3! And there are at least 3 lotto draws a week and TAB locales all around. Coming from a country where it’s still disputed if Poker is a game of chance or a game of skill, it’s impressive to see how incorporated betting is in normal life. I’m pretty sure that there’s some bookie somewhere that’ll take a bet on me getting to work without delays.

As for the women, Zoë is not yet allowed to go to kindergarten although we both feel that she’s ready. Back home she would have gone right after the Summer but here she has to wait until January. And there are waiting lists for daycare, so there’s a little vicious circle. Melissa can’t really go for a job unless there is a secured spot for Zoë, and we can’t really afford daycare unless, well, Melissa has a job…

But the schoolyard has proven it’s value, other moms have tipped us about the many playgroups she can go to on an ad-hoc basis. This kind of knowledge you really can’t google for 🙂 Anyway, before people start complaining again that these posts are too long (sorry Anne :-)), I’ll just leave it at that for today 🙂


Who do I think I am?

I’m not a disgruntled poster. I don’t blog when things aren’t going my way, I preferably don’t dwell in misery and I hope to keep it that way. I prefer to only shout out the successful events and not to stick too long on those that weren’t really fun at all. But sometimes you just encounter something you want out of your system:

Yes, within the 5 weeks here, I have already filed a complaint with a certain company that has the monopoly on triple-play tv, telephone and internet deals. And yes, today I got into a dispute with another company.

What is this all about, you may wonder. Well, it’s all about identity and credibility.

First time we encountered this was when we were looking for housing. Most of the landlords won’t let you lease their property unless you’ve got work. Most of the employers are scared to give you work because you don’t have an address or any proven income. We kinda cheated the system by stating that we did have an address, which was the holiday park, and suddenly some of those doors opened. (We checked later, almost 50% of the people at that holiday address lived there permanently, so we weren’t that much off)

The first ‘catch22’ is that you won’t be contacted by recruiters as long as you don’t have an Australian phone or address. I’d sent out many applications when I was still living in the Netherlands. Never got any response. I hadn’t set foot on Australian soil and I got like 3 recruiters a day contacting me. For some reason, you need to be there before they’ll even considerate you as an applicant.

To open a bank account, you don’t need any identification at all, you can open a bank account from overseas. This really is important, as this will get you a ‘keycard’. This keycard is worth about 15 to 30 point on any other ‘identification check’. Most companies here resolve to identity checks to sum up to 100 points before you are served. So, the first week here, we got the keycard (+15), medicare (+15) and private health insurance (+15). It’s not enough.

As it turned out, having a passport with the visa attached to it just means ‘jack sh*t’. Yes, you are eligible to enter and leave the country as you seem fit, but it doesn’t mean anything. After getting as much proof as possible to prove that we were up for our money, we finally secured a rental (after being turned down many times). This was our first mayor breakthrough as now, we had a real address. Having a passport with a visa attached: +0 points. I guess none of the corporations trust the government.

We went to the RTA to have our Dutch drivers licenses turned into New South Wales drivers licenses, we got nothing but an address where we could obtain official translations of those drivers licenses. I was ‘flabbergasted’. All I’d heard was that it was in exchangeable as they had books to identify key marks on the drivers license.  So much for spending money on an international drivers license (which is basically a translation…).

Not awaiting that, I went of to get internet, telephone and tv delivered to our newly arranged household. At Australia’s largest telecom provider I was told that they really needed an Australian photo ID card. So, I, stupid as I am, asked why. Didn’t my photo look much like me? What if you can’t drive at all? Why did the government allow me to travel freely, but wasn’t I able to get something stupid as a phone line?

I asked why it was possible for me to get housing, insurance, medicare, private health insurance etc. but I wasn’t able to get a telephone line. ‘Company policy’ and they left me with that. The next day, I went to the RTA (again, after the first time the RTA officer told me that I had to have my Dutch drivers license translated, even gave me an address where to get that, right now I’m pretty sure that officer was getting commission from that translation office, as there is no need at all to have it translated), the officer there whipped out a booklet which had all the details of both versions of the Dutch drivers license in it, and I got a NSW drivers license without any hassle. She even looked up the details of the newly added categories for mopeds. No translation required.

So, if you are a new arrival and they tell you that you need to have your drivers license translated? Immediately ask for their bosses and have them fired. It’s not true. The Dutch drivers license is completely valid and they DO have books describing the key features to look for. I’ve seen the book and I will admit to that in court. If told anything else, you’re being played.

Ah well, Armed with an Australian drivers license, I returned to the telecom shop. Now all it took to get connected was that license and the last 4 digits of my bank account. We now have internet, telephony and tv. No matter what the problem was the day before, it only took the drivers license and the last 4 digits of a banking account.

So I wrongly thought, this Australian issued ID, this is the key to identify yourself. I was right at first. However, it does helps with identification and proving that you are not a dead retard, it doesn’t help at all when getting a mobile phone with some companies. And it sure as hell doesn’t help with being handled as if you weren’t an untrustworthy retard. Which may perhaps prove this country has come a long way from being founded by criminals in the first place. Guess it takes one to not trust someone else.

Sure, I could have gone with the same company that delivered the landline, but they didn’t have any sensible plans for mobile phones, at least not when I got there and not for another 3 weeks. I guess that when companies are used to monopolies, they’re not that interested in innovation, let alone to be competitive. Or at luring clients altogether.

I reckoned I’d go with ‘3’. They had a $125/m plan with about 2gb of data usage plan and I was informed at their stand that this was the best around (not only their stand. compared to the Netherlands, nobody here ever shows any price unless you explicitly ask for it. Dutchies are used to get all the numbers upfront).

I arrived at 10.00-ish at their stand and explained what I was looking for and they got to work. Well, work, they were pretty much occupied with family members hanging around that stand instead of helping a customer. Just to the other side of the store, a young teen with her mom got handed a pretty expensive telephone without any credit check. Although privacy should have been an issue, I got all the details as they were put in the system right in front of me.

A 16 year old was applying for an iPhone and all she needed to show was her mothers’ identity. I reckon that is what counts when you are under age. Mom and daughter left under 30 minutes, armed with the new phone. I thought that if she was able to get one it should be a very, very strange day if I was denied.

But then it all went wrong:

My passport was scanned (twice, as it has an identification page and a page where the visa is attached), my medicare card, my keycard for my banking account, my NSW drivers license etc. It was just a little short of him putting on rubber gloves and examine the remains of last nights dinner’ remains up my rectum. And then the question came ‘what is your employers phone number’.

I asked what influence my employers phone number could have on my financial status and whether it was appropriate to ask such question when you’re applying for a phone on a personal basis, the answer was that it was for a credit check. So I asked what credit check they’d actually did with the teen that just had left with her iPhone minutes before. Did she provide enough prove that she’ll not spend her monthly allowance provided to her by her parent just to pay for her phone? I asked what the system needed from me to get it all settled.

‘Well, none, it’s just a STP (Straight Through Processing) system and we just need a number…’ So, ok. I asked whatever question they would be going to ask me so I could return with all details later. And I even went back for another session of humiliation.

I got back and my application was picked up. After entering the final few details they once again applied. However, as they’d failed to scan the correct pages on my passport, which I pointed out to them in the first place, my application was once again denied. Yes people, you can get a rental, you can buy a car, you can own an Australian drivers license, but you can’t get serviced by 3 as long as you don’t have a payslip.

So I asked, what if you are a gazzilionaire, able to buy the company, but don’t have an employer? No service.

What if you are here, right in front of you, and you show all ID and a contract that says that you’ll probably make 5 times as much as they would (which I do): No service.

What if you did have a job last month, robbed the company of all their cash, raped all male employees and insulted the females, got off to china and killed 10212 children just because that’s your idea of having fun, got fired in the act., but not before you did get a payslip:


Even though the sales rep. understood my anger at that moment, he said his company demanded it and that showing a signed contract didn’t mean anything at all. I asked him if a work contract, dated the day before, where my name was obviously spelled correctly, at a yearly number he’d dream to make as a phone-salesman was a contract I’d turn down just to remain jobless and unable to pay a bill and to eventually become a ‘3’ sales rep. was a realistic concept of life?

they turned me down. No Service.


Which wasn’t that bad after I got over it. I’ve been with Vodafone in the Netherlands for ages I thought I just run over and go to their shop. 30 minutes later, I left the premises with an iPhone, a cheaper contract than whatever ‘3’ offered and I didn’t have to show anything more than my id and a banking card (as one should expect), I got serviced and I got serviced with a very friendly sales rep, who was willing to actively match my wishes into a contract.

On the way out I walked by the ‘3’ store, showed them my Vodafone bag and told them that I got the contract I wanted with them but which I now had for at least $30 less. The poor sod recognised me without me showing any ID


It’s been 4 hectic weeks for me to find a job and I can now safely say I landed an opportunity. Although everybody around me says that it really isn’t that long, I just can’t stand it to not have an income. You wonder how some can live without for years… anyway,

The last 4 weeks I’ve been in contact with a lot of recruiters to find a job here Down Under. Some of them asked me to take online tests (which I aced all of them). Even got an excellent interview with a company that were looking for a Sr. Java Dev. However, as the interview progressed, the client learned from me that they weren’t looking for another developer, they needed a testing consultant, which is, in my eyes, a completely different role. They did change the role description online the next day 🙂

But back to the search, perhaps because we came here in the wrong time (Easter, ANZAC weekend etc.) it took the agencies a long time too to respond, there were perhaps just too many long weekends and holidays going on to respond quickly. But, then again, if you’re waiting on something, time is not on your side.

Nevertheless, I got back in contact with Capgemini and I have to say, they made a very, very competitive offer for me to rejoin my former employee. I was offered a great role being one of their solution architects for the Sydney area and it was very inline with my career aspirations and I would be back in the cap-family as I’ve liked to be over the last four years. I would have taken it if it was just me. But… it’s not just me.

We came here as a family and one of the biggest pitfalls for new emigrants is exactly that. The person working quickly builds up a network but as he/she’s working, perhaps travel a lot, busy, at least for 5 days a week, and he/she also doesn’t get that much involved in whatever goes on at the home. Or worse, whatever is not going on at home. At least we have two children, so Melissa wouldn’t be home alone, but I can imagine what it would mean to be alone in a strange country without a social life.

Capgemini offered me a very nice role in which I personally would be able to continue where I was in the Netherlands. (Thank you fellow Capgeminists) However, it would mean that it was not sure that I would make it home each day. (Actually, it could very well have meant that I’d to fly to Melbourne each Monday to return Thursday or Friday for a long period of time). Normally I wouldn’t mind that, but right now, the first few years, I can’t do that. We need to get settled as a family so I had to turn the offer down.

Luckily, there was an alternative. Two weeks ago, on a Friday, I got a call from a recruiter about a role at ABC, the national radio and television network. The next Monday I had my first interview and the next Tuesday the second. And just within a few days, I suddenly had two job offers and a choice. So, you could say that I’ve waisted a lot of time searching when it could all be done within a 4 day period 🙂

We (me and my wife) deliberated much on each position and what it meant to our migration here. In the end, the arguments that made us come here in the first place (more family value, more family time) led to my decision to go for ABC. In the end, we came here as a family. People have to understand that consultancy in the Netherlands means that you have a maximum of 200km north or 200km south to your next client. This country is a tad bit larger and consultancy here means that you’ll have to accept to be away from home for the majority of the week.

Now, it may now seem that I took the job at ABC just to be with my family, nothing like that. It’s a greenfield role where I can be of mayor influence to one of the most established institutes this new country has to offer and I’m very keen on taking on that role. And if that also implies that I’ll be able to spend a lot of time with my family, it just means that I’m one of those lucky guys who’ll be able to get best out of both worlds 🙂

It was a hard decision to make but  sometimes the selfish gene survives best when being just a tad bit less selfish :-). And perhaps, in a few years… I may just rejoin the Capgemini family once again. (especially if Jeroen continues to push the Open Source community as he’s been already ;-))

Cheers from Down Under!

Off-topic: How salary caps are not the answer to fair play

I’ve been down under for just over a month now and during that time it got out in the open that one of the best National Rugby League teams, the Melbourne Storm, has breached a ‘salary cap’ and they have been punished by the takeaway of their 2007 and 2009 titles, as well as a financial punishment of $500000 and all their 2010 points being wiped.

Today, however, they won 40-6, so they are on their way back anyway. But more important, as this is a huge news item Down Under, let’s investigate on what really happened.

Rugby is a sport that’s being played world wide. Not many outstanders would know this, but Rugby is divided into two variations, Rugby League and Rugby Union. Rugby Union is the variant played by most teams in the Netherlands, it’s the variant that has the scrimmage etc… Rugby League however is a fast packed action variant which doesn’t compare to most TV sports I’ve seen except for NHL icehockey or NBA basketball. I’ve played American Football myself, and even though I love the sport, actionwise it just doesn’t compare to the previously named leagues. These are sports that go on and on with only a half-time break.

‘Round here, there are 3 sports that make it to the tube, right now it’s not the cricket season, so it’s either AFL or NRL. I’ve been watching both and I’ve got to say, although the AFL boys pass the ball with their hands, it’s probably closer to European Football (soccer) when it comes down to the rules, than to rugby. NRL is the National Rugby League and down here, being a rugby player is probably the next best thing to being a God.

What I didn’t know is that there is a salary cap for the teams. So there is a rule that there’s a maximum you can pay a player. I reckon this rule is in effect to get evenly matched teams because no team is allowed to pay more than max to a specific player. And as you can have only about 20 players you’ll know the players won’t cost more than 20*cap. I guess the general idea is that if you’re player 21, you’d rather play with another team just to get that cap.

I just don’t get that. Imposing such cap would in my eyes inevitably end up with a system that circumvents the cap in many ways. Free use of this, free use of that, we all know there are many posibilites outside of a contract that will make it worth your while. Everyday free dinner at KFC, Maccas or Hungry Jacks may not add to much, it’s free. And this is exactly what happend with one of the biggest teams here, the Melbourne Storm. And now that’s in the open, the team has lost their last 2 championships as well as all their points in the 2010 season. But it’s not only them that are being robbed.

It’s the NRL itself as well. By setting a cap on salary, the only thing you can be sure of is that players will leave your competition to join the one that is paying whatever you are worth. Imposing a salary cap only makes the merchandise boys richer and richer while you won’t get any of that because, you, as a player, are capped. Australian NRL players will probably flee to the UK and other Rugby countries when their marketing value rises. Salary caps won’t keep the competition here, actually, it might just lead the league to a diminished state. Why?

Soccer doesn’t have salary caps. Did it grow out of hands? Some national soccer organisations would think so, but, does the money in soccer not flow to those who are eligible to receive it? I think it does. David Beckham still is the highest payed soccer player in the world. Although he isn’t the best (anymore, he still bends’m like only he can), he’s the one that balances his marketing value and playing value best. Messi should perhaps be the most valuable player in the world, but he needs a marketing lesson from David. However, in both cases, the money flows to them personally, not to the league they happen to play in.

I come from the Netherlands and we’ve blessed the world with a lot of great players and probably none of them play in the Dutch league. The team that will participate in the 2010 world championships mainly consists of our foreign boys, some from the Premiership, some from the Spanish or Italian competion and a few playing in Germany. If we had capped them in Holland and kept them all, I don’t think we’d even have qualified for WC2010. No, they followed the money and play in the best competions the world has because they are obviously worth it.

Does it seem strange that these salaries are more a week than a thousand times the money the poor bring in in a year? Yeah, that may hurt, but do not forget that somebody, somewhere, pays for it. And if they don’t collect it themselves, some company does. And I don’t think those companies will give it back the way our sport heroes do. As a last example, the Cruijff Foundation has done more for suburban sports than the Dutch government has in years.

So, salary caps aren’t a solution. They’ll just make the companies richer whilest they should have payed the player who may eventually set up a foundation that will actually help local sports. I’m pretty sure no company will. Ever. And remember, if it can be payed, it’s obviously worth it. There wouldn’t have been a salary cap scandal down under if there wasn’t a profit to be made. Sports is more than what’s happening on the playing field. There’s a multi-million dollar merchandising machine behind it all. Don’t let them take it all.

so, cut the cap 😉

Busy or slow, what’s the difference

It’s been over a week now since I last wrote here. Wow, time sure flies when you’re busy! (I wouldn’t say it was all fun, as moving house never is, at least not to the guy that is supposed to remember how bookcases are to be put together, should know how the bed can be restored or is supposed to get TV, telephony, electricity and gas installed) Oh and meanwhile I’ve also been to the city a few times to either go and have another chat with yet another recruiter instead of a real client.

Let’s just continue where we left off. We got a place to live, but we didn’t have a release date on our 20ft container which was still at customs. It wasn’t going to be released unless we paid another $70 because our TV was less than 2 years old and there was supposed to be an import fee paid for it. This explains why you don’t see any Philips TV here. Why import a 32″ from Holland when you can get a 42″ from anywhere within Asia at the same price.

Anyway, after we payed the additional fees, our container was finally cleared and Tuesday we got the liberating call that it could all be delivered next day. Within 20 minutes however, this was pushed to Thursday morning. No worries, as the holiday camp wasn’t overbooked and we were able to add another day to our 3 weeks.

However, the next day I got a call that the truck wasn’t going to be able to make it up the hill and I should pay for a $500,- a day ute (utility vehicle) to get the contents delivered in our home. As we had a brand new (huge) fridge and washing machine delivered by a pretty huge truck the day before, I felt the need to slightly disagree with them on this one. The workers kept disagreeing with me, so I finally succumbed, and my call was forwarded to the management.

Strangely enough, they weren’t that sure themselves that it was really necessary, so it ended somewhere with a line like ‘I’ll talk to the manager and I’ll get back to you’. Which she did, by leaving a message on my voicemail, while I was busy trying to recharge our prepaid phone from within a supermarket. By the time I managed to have the prepaid operator to accept the fact that I was really me and that I owned my creditcard with I’d used to buy the damned prepaid in the first place by reading out loud (because of the reception) each and every detail on that credit card (there are now at least 20 customers in that store who are able to buy stuff on my account), it was already 4.30pm and I couldn’t get back to the guys that would be delivering our container contents the next day. Who knew what ‘management’ had decided.

Anyway, the next day, the guys arrived pretty much on time, with an ute, and we’ve till today never been contacted by their management. It took them less than 4 hours to get everything from the truck in our garage and most of it to the right room in the house. No complaints whatsoever on that. By dinnertime I had put together a table and our bed and we were ready to spent our first night in our new home.

The next day, I put together two other cabinets just before I had to go into the city for another interview. I bought a prepaid data stick in the city so we wouldn’t be out of internet until the landline is installed (which still isn’t, note to self: call them tomorrow). Then, as you know when you move house, I’ll have a weekend full of work even though you’ve promised yourself that you would also enjoy the weekends a little. Later afternoon on Sunday, I even completed some Java programming tasks that one of the prospective employers wanted me to do.

That’s another thing. When you come here, it’s probably better to find work from overseas and have them sponsor your visa. Because, when you are here, you’ll have tests thrown at you no matter what your track record says, there is a Catch 22, you don’t have Australian experience. Although the circumstances weren’t ideal (moving house, online from a campsite or through a stick), I’ve managed to average the top 25% 0n all of them, but nevertheless, I’ve detected no forward movement after completing them. If I remember correctly, one of the first tests I’ve done (and scored a 95%), I haven’t heard from them at all since…

But there are some bright lights luring on the horizon too. One recruiter I hadn’t met in person called my Friday afternoon. Got me an interview on Monday. I managed to get a consecutive interview today (Tuesday) and it may just result in an offer tomorrow (Wednesday). So, most things go slow down here, but sometimes, you’re in the fast track. Anyway, over the coming few days I’m pretty sure I’ll get a job offer, and maybe two. And with having found a school for Tim, if so, we’ve managed to restore normal life within a month. A house, a job, a car, insurance (health, house, car) and education for the children.

So, tomorrow, we’re out to buy the BBQ Melissa got from her parents for her birthday and if all goes as planned, at the moment I write this, somewhere in the Netherlands, someone is signing the provisional contract to buy our house in the Netherlands, which has been on sale since we were granted the visa. So, if those last two ‘details’ are finally set, I can say that we’ve succeeded in a complete movement Down Under in under a month. Record breaking, ain’t?


Traffic Tragedies (or where you die defines how much you die)

I recently wrote about the 3.8 litres V6 we bought. Now, we’re living in ‘The Hills’ were it’s not uncommon that you’ll have to traverse 10 metres in hight with each 10 metres in width. Actually, sometimes I wonder why I throw myself off a cliff, even though the locals say it’s a road. But in the end, you throw yourself over that edge just hoping to make it to the other side (of the road, not life, please, I’m not that religious!)

Anyway, each monday I buy a newspaper just as I did in the Netherlands. You see, a Monday newspaper is way more interesting than any other newspaper because it’ll have all the weekend sports results, the finance market has had a full 2 days to not invest or retract money and any politician you know spilling their fruitless ideas can’t have had his/her idea through the parliament. So there is no paper like the monday paper. It’s probably the only paper you’ll ever need as the Friday afternoon paper is just a paper to remind you that your life is so freakish boring that you need a paper to remind you. If you’re not a paper reader, just get the monday paper to wipe your arse with, it’ll last till thursday and it wouldn’t hurt your mind to read the remainder.

As always, not to make a short story into a long one, I only read papers by lack of any digital media. So yeah, I sometimes buy a paper. In NSW, each paper reports the death toll in traffic for each weekend. Now, I wouldn’t dare to compare Australia to Holland (I mean, both have around 20 million people, both have a decent life, but only one of them have the space to live that life shared with 1000 other people in just 10 square metres, but who cares, it forces you to meet someone else eh?)

If you die in a traffic accident in Holland, all you’ll achieve as news value is something like ‘210 people died in tragic mistake’, when your traindriver painfully took the wrong track. Or ’21 died in tragic mistake’, when someone killed your busdriver at full speed. ‘100 killed by mistake’ on page 6, just below the advertisements for fireplace woodworks.

Here, you ask? Here you die at least 21 times. The first time being the most painful as it’s the one time you really die in traffic. Probably being run over by a car that weights at least 3 tonnes. However with your remains of your face intact, you’ll make the local news at least 5 times, first just by being death, then because it was on a road, third because someone else hit you and perhaps a fourth or fifth time just because it was on a sunday or saturday, who knows.

Then, because you’ve just died in a tragic accident, the newspaper fills up with stories of other people that have died at 1) that same road, close that f***** road 2) that same shire, close that f****** shire!, 3) same date, close that f****** date and 4) at the same age, people shouldn’t be allowed to get to that age damnit!. At least, here you don’t die alone, you die at least 18 times, 12 times in different positions in different newspapers and another 6 times in the years after when you’re remembered because someone else died.

But if you just managed to get your local barn into space and back and had contact with other species (preferably vulcan) from outer space who seem to have fun in making grain/crop circles, no worries, the chance of being hit by a flying saucer compared to a bullbar is 0 to less-than-nothing, so no worries mate, it’s more probable you’ll die from a stingray than a crock… unless you near the roads, where death is luring around each corner.

Some thoughts

OK, now, I can blog about all the stuff that’s happening with our family and our endeavours Down Under, but I can also just sum up some stuff that interests me as it’s either weird or just so different from my flatlanded Dutch mindset that it ought to be logged somewhere.

  • one of the first tv shows I saw on public television was ‘Costa’s Garden Odyssey’. This is a gardening programme, but it’s nothing like the stuff we have in Holland. No, here there is some fully grown leprechaun or flora-hippy that goes by the name Costa. If you’d like to know, go It’s not that he’s not right, it’s just that with a beard like that, people either think you only grow plants that contain THC or that you’ve obviously incidentally struck the correct formula for LSD and this is all an imagination.
  • Another tv series they run here I never heard about is Underbelly. Now on for the third season, it’s a ‘dramatised faction series’ about Australia crime. The third season is set in 90’s Sydney Kings Cross. Guess what? The main character, John Ibrahim, actually exists in reality and is nicked ‘Teflon John’ as obviously, nothing ever sticks no matter how hot. Or it must be that he has that teflon red spot too 😉

  • As said before, Easter is a huge holiday here, 2 weeks off for the kids, re-enactments of the crucification of Christ in shopping malls, 10ct a litre raise of fuel to get the most out of holiday travellers, it’s huge. In Sydney it’s also the start of the largest agriculture display of the year, the Royal Eastern Show. It’s like showing off your cattle and ferris wheels. It’s also the time you get a ‘Showbag’. No, you don’t get it, you pay for it. You see, it used to be a bag full of promotional stuff you’d also get in Holland, you know, the folders, some sweets, sometimes a gimmick, whatever.  But no, it has evolved in themed bags with over $50 worth of merchandise in a $10 bag. You can’t leave the Royal Easter Show without at least 3 showbags. Want to know the contents? Check this:
  • Driver license issues… Ok. I can buy a car here and I can register it in my name and I can drive it. I can do all this by just having a drivers license. Which I do, actually, I even bought that ‘international drivers license’ you can get at the ANWB in the Netherlands. Which basically is a translation into a few internationally renowned languages, among others English, of that Dutch drivers license. However, if you’re at the RTA (Road & Traffic Authority) to convert these into a New South Wales drivers license, you need a translated version of your Dutch drivers license. Now, I thought that was exactly what that international drivers license was supposed to be, but no, I need to get my Dutch pink license translated by a certified translator (for which they have only one address, or it’s a family member, who knows…).
    So we still need to have that translated, at least, in the meantime, we won’t be able to score ‘Demerit Points’. Australia has a system of awarding you points for offences you commit. Say, running a red light x points, driving too fast y points etc., until you’ve reached your 3-year maximum of 12 points if you’re unrestricted (they have P2, P1 and Learners permits here too, ranging from 7 to 4 demerit points max. From a percentile point of view this means that a young driver is more evil when caught drunk driving than someone who has been drink’n’driving all his life, doesn’t differ that much from the Netherlands as we’ve got different allowances of alcohol too for young drivers).
    Anyway, getting back on Easter and this, there is a huge difference between Australia and the Netherlands when it comes to these ‘demerit points’ and that is the time when you score these. You get the double bonus when you’re caught during a long weekend, Easter or Christmas and New Year. Yes Dutchies, you get the ‘Bonus verdubbelaar’ for free on your demirit points at those special dates. So, not only is it more evil to drive drunk when you’re young, but it’s even more evil to do this during a holiday… This makes me wonder about road safety during a normal weekday, but hey, who am I…
  • Ok, that last one was a bit long, so now for a ‘shortie’. I don’t how to say this, but for every word in the English dictionary there is an Australian ‘-ie’ variant. So, English Dictionary would become Engie Diccie. A headache would be a headie, there’s jummie for your tummie and a blowjob would probably be a suckie. This also explains why there is a difference between the real meaning of hurry and their hurrie (which means something like ‘somewhere next month, or earlie…)

Ok, not to spoil you guys too much this time, I’ll leave it at that, there’s absolutely more and I will post it here when I figured it out myself. For now, so long and till next time, Cheers mate!

A new home

Over the Easter weekend (which seems to be some sort of national holiday of great magnitude down here), we we’re left with nothing much to do but drive around and do mostly various incarnations of ‘nothing’. Life really shuts down completely here analogue to Jesus’ death. So, forced to do absolutely nothing but hanging around beautiful areas as the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park we spend the Easter weekend as most Australians do.

This also meant that there was nothing to expect from the employment side as even the recruiters took a long weekend off. To give an impression of what Easter means, normally, on a Sunday, you’d be able to go to a Mall and probably find most of the shops open till say 9pm. On Good Friday, you’ve got a bigger chance to strike gold or find an oil-well under your bed than you’d find an open shop. Except for the gasoline stations, whose prices have suddenly risen 10 cents the litre, just to make as much profit they can from travelling families.

So, Tuesday, life started to emerge from the trenches of Easter and I got into town to have a talk with another recruiter about a possible position at an insurance company. It sounded promising and after I told the bloke that I preferred to insure income over the next few weeks, he said he’d make sure I would have an interview this week. Cuz, as said, you don’t seem to get a chance on housing unless you have income.

Now, having said that, we went to inspect another property on Wednesday. We explained to the property manager that I didn’t have a job at the moment, but that there is a good chance I’ll have one by the end of next week.

This time it seemed to be no problem at all, as long as we scored enough points on a certain system they used. We needed like 100 points and we got 15 for having a picture ID… We got another 15 for having another picture ID. We also got like 30 for having Medicare and we got another 30 for having bought a car which is in our name (called REGO here), some more points for having a drivers license (which I felt was pretty convenient when you own a car), and some more for having a registered bank account (which is indeed pretty handy when it comes to buying that car in the first place).

our 'townhouse'

However, I shouldn’t complain about this system, as with this system we suddenly had enough going for us to land the property and we did, so, we now have a new home! Yes, it’s that house you see in the picture. Without having lived a day in that house, we still had to pay 4 weeks rent and another 4 weeks bonds.

So, within 2 weeks after arriving, we did find a house and I now have 4 more weeks to generate an income. I’m pretty confident that I will, but it’s always stressful to not have a home and evenly stressful to have one without a job. But, as said, I now have 4 weeks to solve that last puzzle of our migration Down Under. And I’m pretty sure I will.

And best of all, after having lived out of suitcases for 3 months now, we can finally order our container to be delivered to our address and get all our stuff back. I can’t await me reuniting with my favorite pillow :-).

Oh, and perhaps best of all, in yet another week, our cats will reunite with us too. I think I’ll smother them to death when we’ll pick’em up 😉

Next time, I hope I can tell you the name of my new employer, it might just be a name I’ve grown very familiar with over the last four years, but who can tell 😉 Keep in touch!


Things that make me nervous…

Last wednesday, we got the 1999 Holden Commodore Acclaim 3.8 litres V6 (I’ll up some pictures asap). It sounds like a lot, especially from a Dutch point of view, where 1.8 is regarded a ‘decent’ gasoline car. I can’t imagine how those cars would perform here in the Hills, as sometimes the inclination seems to reach at least 45 degrees or more. Anyway, with a 3.8 V6, there is nothing easier for a ‘special achievement’ then the slope test, trust me on this one.

We also got rid of the ‘green machine’, a tacky green Ford Falcon XR6 we were hireing for the first week. Thanks to the guys at Europecar, I’ve now got a whole new appreciation for the concept of a scratched bumper. It’s nothing, invisible, not even there. I guess we Dutchies are too focussed on keeping the paint razzle-dazzle… If you’d ask me, I’d say, that car got it’s groove back, maybe 12 of’em, but who car(e)s… Anyway, so far on the green machine you see on the left here 🙂

Thursday the 1st of April I had two appointments in the City. It’s strange that when I applied to job postings from the Netherlands, I never got a single response by email, but since I can produce a +61 phone number and a 2000-series postalcode, people contact me. I guess most employers are afraid that you’ll ask them to be your sponsor for the 457-visa when you don’t have local information.

I took the bus into town (from Dural, it’s $12 AUD a return ticket). At first I wondered how that bus would even get into town within the promised hour, as it was stopping at almost every corner. But when it cleared ‘the Hills’, it went on the express way, straight into town. I can’t tell you how it feels to see the view of the Opera House from a bus driving down the Harbour Bridge. For some reason, that felt great.

I hadn’t arrived or I got another phone call from another recruiter and we agreed to meet around noon. Three appointments in a single day… I can say they really need good software engineers down here. But why didn’t they just respond when you wrote them the first time?…

Now, it’s Easter, and this seems to be a big holiday down here, at Good Friday, everything was closed, even the pool (although it said it was closed for maintenance, nobody was maintaining it). Today (Saturday), we went to the Castle Hills Mall, which is a 4 stories few 100 yards large mall where run a larger chance in finding the meaning of life than finding your children if you’d lost them.

Tomorrow and Monday, all life will seize to continue down here as Easter really is a big thing. I wonder if the Pope knows. Either way, I’ll have to wait till Tuesday to see if I can get a job in a really short period. As said earlier, you need a job to get a lease and I really, really want a lease because I really, really, really (did I say really?) miss my stuff that’s in the container. And in 3 weeks, our cats will be released from quarantine so I really (here we go again) really want a house for them to come to.

There really are more than enough jobs for me, the only question is how soon I’ll get one. I’m so fed up with living out of my suitcase, you can’t imagine…

Hopefully, I’ll have a date with my container by the end of next week 😉

Oh, by the way, to the right you see a picture of our $8K holden Silver Bullet we’ll be driving from now on. It may not be pretty, it may not be smart, but it got balls like no Dutch car does. Here’s almost 4 litres at ya, losers! (Thankfully, gasoline doesn’t cost that much as in Holland, otherwise I wouldn’t be laughing :-))

Down Under Continued, Day 2 and 3…

So, I promised to write smaller posts, I hope I’ll succeed today…

Yesterday we set out on a mission to secure medicare. Medicare is something the Dutch may compare to the well known ‘ziekenfonds’ we used to have years ago. Medicare takes care of your medical bills unless you want something special (like, hey, an operation…). Anyway, within the hour we filed for medicare, we also added a private health insurance to cover whatever medicare doesn’t, or at least, whatever we wanted to have covered. (I still feel that I really don’t need a mammagram or an appointment with my gynecologist, however, I can imagine that Melissa doesn’t need her urologist to check out her prostate, but you never know what other people feel like insuring…)

As we have a pretty good internet connection at our cabin, we went back for the afternoon so I could research the whole housing problem a bit more. It seems more and more that when you want to rent a house, you’d better have a job. However, if you’d like to have a job, you’d better have an address. So, as from yesterday, we’ll be using the camp site’s address as our own. We aren’t even lying there as this really is our home now. I just changed my resume to reflect my new location and went back on the SEEK website to respond to job advertisements for the rest of the afternoon.

Today we set out first to see local real estate businesses and check out if they could help find this family a house. This ended up in two appointments for tomorrow, so perhaps, we’ve got news for you this weekend. Afterwards, we went back to have a swim again and I started to look into the car market. It seemed to me that I really had to go to Parramatta, a part of the larger Sydney area where they have some sort of car salesmen alley, or more, road, or, perhaps better, area, or well. You see, here stores are either large (Parramatta has a mall that has at least 7 stories, with each storey having at least 100 stores) or spread out (it took us 20 minutes to pass from the Holdon car display to the Ford car display, just to find out that the Ford display only had the new Fords and that if we wanted to see the used Fords, we needed to go 3 blocks down…)

In the end we bought a Holden Commodore (not the car of my dreams) at $7990’ish. My only interest was that it was an automatic (as I’m still not used to stick-shifting with my left hand) and that it had an airconditioner (you really can’t do without it here, traffic either goes through highly dense inhabited parts of the city at 60km/h, or sits almost still in wide open sun running at most at 5km/h, either way you need to cool down). We agreed that we’d pick it up next wednesday when we are to return the rental in Parramatta anyway, so hopefully our banktransfer from Holland to our Aussie based accounts will get through before that.

Which leaves us with only 2 challenges left: me finding a job (pretty important) and us finding a house (as said, probably dependent on me finding that job first). I admit, not a bad score for a 3 day stay Down Under, but I won’t rest until I’ve got them all checked off my list.

Down Under, The Trip and Day One

At last, we’ve arrived Down Under. Last monday, we left for Schiphol (Amsterdam Airport) at around 8am. I’m not going to spend too much of your valuable time and dive into the emotions of Goodbye, so I’ll skip that and start somewhere when we pretty much decided that we haven’t had a clean and easy boarding like this in forever.

But then again, the plane was half empty, or should I say, half full. When it comes to planes, I prefer half empty, unless you run an airline of course. But the first leg (to Singapore) there was enough room and it all went pretty well, regarding the fact that I can’t sit still for a minute and my eldest for less than 30 seconds.

There was a load of onboard entertainment and I think I managed to see 2012, both twilight sage movies and some French comedy named OSS 117. But Tim was so focussed on not missing anything on the ‘Flight Plan’, he didn’t see a single movie. Whenever he was awake (which was almost the entire first leg), he’d watch that silly little plane move just a few miles. He’d check with the window if it really, really was a sea or land we were crossing. Anyway, I still had to wake him before touching down in Singapore.

In Singapore, they’ll let you arrive at one part of the airport and then walk all the way to the extreme other side, just to rub in the fact that you are going to the other side of the world (and make sure that they have time to get your suitcases from one plane to the other). Other than a long stroll (you know, walking) at a low pace with nothing else to see but tax-free shops, there was nothing to do here this time (we’ve been in Singapore before, and unless you are in business there, or have some strange obsession with shopping, Opal or Orchids, this is a great city to spend a day or two)

So, for the next leg in our flight, we were all the way in the back of an even nicer plane (this time we had USB, ethernet, power and other connectors in each of our seats, but alas, we were not planning on a flying network party, so we didn’t bring enough laptops). However, I know that most people will get annoyed by children on a plane, especially when they are loud. I personally don’t mind children anywhere, I do hate the loudness and this time it was a bunch of French 30-something loners going on a joint-vacation. I’ve never seen children act so childish as these grown ups did. At one point they even started to climb over their back seats into the seats behind them. Within a few moments, 20 or so french people were occupying 21 or so rows, with this act superseding the Germans, who only seem to dig holes for themselves.

Ah well, at least that was the shortest leg of both, and as I can’t sleep in busses, trains, automobiles (especially when I’m driving) nor airplanes, I was wide awake the remainder of that flight, which saw 20 sleeping and snoring French people, and 2 sweet little children (of which one did have to puke only once, hurray!), and a sleeping wife. As we rented a car from the airport to go to the inner city, I couldn’t even try to drink myself asleep, so I had to spend most of my time trying hard to sleep but ending up watching the ‘Flight Plan’, as Tim was watching before.

Anyway, 8 hours later, we’re through customs and quarantine and we didn’t even got filmed (it mentioned at the airport that it was a filming day for the channel 7 hit series ‘Borderline Security’, something we’d always watch in the Netherlands). We got our stamp that tells us that we’ve entered the country before the expiry date of the visum, so, with that final hurdle, we’re more or less ‘Australians’ now.

With our suitcases crammed into a Ford Falcon RX6 (lowered body, racing green, man, this is what the Dutch would call a ‘Sjonniebak’, and then some more. It’s so wide, tall and low, that, coming from a SUV like the Verso, you don’t see sh*t, in all directions. Which wouldn’t be so much of a problem except for the fact that I now don’t see in all directions at the other side of the road. I managed to get to the Subel Surrey Hills in Albion Street, Sydney. I admit I asked for valet parking once I got there 😉

And after a great pizza and beer at ‘Pizza e Birra‘s restaurant we went to bed at 21.00 or so local time. So, we actually got to be ‘early’ for our doing. Actually, I’m writing this post at 11pm local time, so what jetleg? When you travel halve the world without sleep, there is no such thing 🙂

The next day, we went to the emigrants bank department of the Commonwealth bank on 48 Market Place to get our first official Australian bankpasses. After a long, interesting talk about what kind of extra services and insurances we can (and should) get we left with 2 working bankpasses and an internet banking account. All those other things will come later. By the time we left it was also time to get lunch. This time we introduced the kids in the for them whole new idea of having a ‘food court’. I know much of the Dutch people I know don’t really know this concept. It’s like a court (centered area with seats) surrounded by little shops that sell food. So, it kinda differs from the Dutch snackbar because there’s a lot of bars and a lot of snacks and one single shared place to eat them all. So I got a salad from the Salad King, Melissa got a wrap from the Wrapping God and the kids got some chips from some Korean fishfood stand. (all the names are made up as I didn’t feel the need to remember them). I know they’ve tried this concept in the city mall of Nieuwegein, but it failed miserably when each of the entrepreneurs that should have shared their terrasses ended up in creating their own small terrasses. I guess the Dutch just can’t share anything but the bill or the costs…

Next we went to Harvey Norman (which is just below that food court). We bought the simplest prepaid phone money could buy (which ended up a drag to activate, as you don’t seem to buy ‘prepaid’ alone, you actually have a plan or 15 how to spend your prepaid money. I just wanted to make cheap calls, why can’t they put that on a box. ‘simple phone to make cheap calls, no internet, no facebook, no social media, no nothing but voice calls’, it just doesn’t exist, anyway, it’s activated now, if you’d like to have the number, just leave me a message ;-))

We also bought a navigation system. Back in the days, when you went to a strange city or country, you’d buy a book. We didn’t even bother, we bought a brand new navigation system for around $260. Guess what, it works and it’s been a gift from heaven (well, actually, a gift, we bought it ourselves, so it wasn’t a gift. And it wasn’t from heaven either. But calling something that’s a lifesaver ‘something you’d buy yourself’, just doesn’t cut it, does it?). Anyway, I startled the guy who sold it to me a bit when I said I really didn’t want the extra year warranty. ‘But you’ll get a replacement when it breaks in 2 years?’. ‘Yeah, but think of the idea that I already saved $55 for my next, new, fully featured one I’m going to buy when that happens!’.

Anyway, weaponed with the GPS and phone, we walked over to the wharf and made a picture of Tim and Zoë right at the spot where their grandparents’ boat had been at the beginning of March and then we went back to the hotel where we had the valet parking guys bring the car up from below the surface of Sydney. And guided by the newly acquired navigational device, we arrived at the Sydney Hills Holiday Park in Dural, in the north of Sydney, which will be our home for the following 3 weeks. And where I’m writing you this as we you can get WiFI for 30 days at $50.

So, hopefully, from tomorrow, I can start writing smaller posts. It’s been a crammed 2 full days with way too much stuff that happened to go unnoticed. We’re beat, we’re tired but we’re happy. The plan for tomorrow is to get medicare and to make a first investigation into the second hand car business. I’m keeping my eyes open while driving to see what kind of car seems to be popular here, or, more important, what kind of car seems to be fit to ride these roads for a long time. And I’ve got to say so, even though I hate our rental (I already burned the insurance on that one while parking in the Hills may help you misjudge just how much a sidewalk and street level differ so you can wreck your front bumper just enough), you see a lot of ford falcons

Catch ya later!