Sydneysiders at last!

Trip Start Jul 27, 2003
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Trip End Jul 26, 2004


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Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Friday 7th November
We got up at 5 and dropped off the car and headed to the airport to catch our flight from Tassie to Sydney via Melbourne. We were landing at 9.15 and I had an interview at 10.30 so we had to make a quick run for it into the city which is only 15 mins on the train. I left SImon in a starbucks with the bags while I went for my interview. The interview was with an agency and lasted an hour and a half and went well. They wanted me to meet with their client that afternoon. The job was for a Project Co-ordinator working for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) in their Group Securities Department. It was quite well paid too but doesn't start for a few weeks. The agency reckoned they could get me something else to tide me over though so fingers crossed.

I got back to Starbucks to find Simon sitting with Kevin who had called on the mobile to see if we needed somewhere to crash till we sorted ourselves out. We decided to take our stuff to his and Brendans place so I could get to my interview and we could sort out accomodation later. We headed out to their place which was at a place called Milsons Point which is directly next to the Harbour Bridge and faces The Opera House. We got the tube the 2 stops and came out from underground onto the Harbour Bridge which gave us our first glimpse of the Opera House backed by Sydneys Central Business District. It kind of confirmed we had arrived. We dumped our bags and I left Simon and Kevin (who were opening their first beer!) and I headed back into the CBD. I had 2 hours to find a suit and pair of shoes and not spend too much incase I ended up working in Starbucks! I succeeded which is actually quite easy as Sydney has loads of shops. I found my way to the CBA (all four blocks of it!) I made my way up to the 11th floor and was in for an hour with a really nice chap who would be running the project.

I then left and headed to Scruffy Murphys where I had arranged to meet Simon and Kev at 4pm. They turned up at 5 having carried on the tradition of drinking since 12 when I left them! Brendan met us there too and we got some beers in and the Scruffys Special of Steak and Chips for $5 (about 2 quid!) and it was actually really good. We stayed out for the night familiarising ourselves with some of Sydneys bars before heading back to Milsons Point.

Saturday 8th November
We got up and hit Sydney trying to find accomodation. We walked for miles trying to get our bearings and suss out where we might want to live. We decided we wanted to stay in the city rather than the suburbs and really liked the look of Darling Harbour as it is a great area by day with parks and the waterfront and for night there were loads of cafes and bars and restaurants. Plus it is 5 mins walk to all of Sydneys transport links. We also liked the idea of Milsons Point and Kirribille with all their pavement cafes and leafy avenues not to mention the views of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. We walked till our feet hurt and couldn't find anything a) cheap enough b) in any of the aforementioned areas c) nice d) would do short term let. So we headed back to the hostel got changed and called in on the lads room and headed into town to watch the Rugby. New Zealand v South Africa and Australia knock out Scotland!

Sunday 9th November
We decided to take a walk around the Opera House today and see a bit of Sydney before hitting the grindstone and finding a place to stay and jobs. The Opera House is just amazing it actually feels odd seeing it because it looks so familiar yet bizarre. It is actually made up of lots of tile like pieces rather than the smooth solidness that it looks like from a distance and it looks less white the closer you are too it so much that it looks almost yellowy when you are close up. The Matrix World Premiere was held here a few nights ago and I bet it is amazing to go there to see a show or film so definately going to try and fit in a trip to the Opera House while we are here. We then went into the city to hunt for jobs and accomodation.

A magazine called British Balls comes out every SUnday which is specially designed for British travellers and has jobs and accomodation listings. We picked one up and sat in one of Sydneys thousands of pavement cafes drinking coffee and eggs benedict and blueberry pancakes whilst phoning every ad that looked likely. Still no joy. On the job front if we wanted to be one of those people who stand on the street trying to get you to talk for 30 mins and give $100 dollars a day for the plight of platypus for WWF then we were in luck but neither of us wanted to do that. On the house front if we could sign a 36 year lease then also we would be in luck. But no we don't! OK maybe I exagerate slightly but we don't want to stay in a hostel we want to 'live' in Sydney. After another knackering day made all the better because Sydney is just the nicest city to wander the streets in we headed back over the bridge to the Hostel. Simon headed out to town to watch the rugby with the boys while I (having seen more Rugby for one lifetime already!) stayed at the hostel and read Jurassic Park which is surprisingly a very good read.

Monday 10th November
Well today our effort is paying off. The agency called to say that the interview went well and the job was mine if I wanted it and they were having a meet and greet early next week to introduce me to the team. They also were confident to find me some sort of work for this week and next to keep me going. SImon had an interview to be Santas Little Helper (my job title!!) no costumes involved just Toys R Us are looking for Warehouse workers. He also had an interview with a labouring agency that had some work for this week and should be able to get him a longer term contract by the end of the week. We headed to The Travellers Centre Point which is a centre set up to help travellers get access to all they need including jobs, houses, healthcare, visas etc. I found a room on the accomodation board for a 3 bed house 100 yards from Darling Harbour with an 8 week minimum contract which is perfect for us.

We phoned up and arranged to go and see it. It was really nice an old Victorian Terrace with a gorgeous back garden and next to a cafe. We had private access to the back of the house which had our room our own porch and bathroom. Then through a side door we got into a really nice granite topped kitchen and wooden floorboards with a dining table in it. It also had a large living room with wooden floorboards, nice big sofas and a Grand Piano! (turns out the landlord has a passion for them but his wife thinks one in their house is enough so he keeps it here!) Its a really good size and upstairs are 2 bedrooms which have a couple in one room and a single guy in the other, we didn't meet them as it was in the day and they all worked. We took it straight away I went to the bank and cashed the last of our travellers cheques to cover the bond and first 2 weeks rent. The room is free in 2 weeks but the landlord had a double room in his house next door (he owned half the street) that he said we could move into now and just shift next door when the other couple moved out!

We moved in to the house next door by 3.30 to a nice double room with a wrought iron balcony overlooking the CBD with table and chairs and a hammock. This isn't as nice a house as it is his student house and has 5 bedrooms but everyone is really nice and it is loads better than a hostel. It isn't exactly 100 yards from Darling Harbour but it is only a couple of minutes walk and only 5 mins to the cinema, shopping centre and Chinatownand 10 mins to Central Station and the CBD so we were really pleased. But we know have $100 left and need to get working fast! We went to open a bank account now we have an address which was extremely easy and phoned the Tax Office to get our Tax File Number which is like a National Insurance Number but without it you pay 52% tax! Although the standard rate is a ridiculous 31% and you don't get a tax free threshold anymore either so you pay that 31% on the first and every dollar you make. They have even stopped non residents claiming back tax. You also have to pay Superannuation which is an additional 9% towards your pension but you can claim 'some' of that back! I will never complain about my tax code at home again!

We headed to Scruffys for a steak and chips and headed 'home' to meet our housemates for the next couple of weeks. There is Tamlyn a guy from Shrewsbury, Andrea an Italian guy over here studying, Carsten, a german guy studying and 2 german girls Yola and Dorothy who are travelling. They all seem very nice and after an extremely productive day we had an early night.

Tuesday 11th November
Early morning I got a call from the agency offering me a telesales job (booo) for this afternoon (yeeeey). I start at 2.00 so we headed to the agency to collect a time sheet and I asked if she needed anyone else and she did so I volunteered Simon. He had a quick interview and she gave him the same job! We both headed out to get a smarter change of clothes and get some lunch before heading to work. We were working for The Daily Telegraph and got there on time. We had 2 hours induction which basilcally involved familiarising ourselves with the product which translated to sitting with a cup of coffee reading the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and Saturday Telegraph. Simons perfect job! It was the easiest cash we have ever made. The job was pretty easy basically phoning Telegraph readers offering them free home delivery and half price papers so it was a good deal and we both hit our target of 6 sales a night! Also the Aussies are pretty laid back they actually chat to you on the phone rather than telling you to get lost as you would expect at home. Its only for this week and the hours after today are 4-8 so we can still go out job hunting in the day and go out at night.

We finished at 8 and headed out to Darling Harbour to meet up with Greg a guy we bumped into and knew from The Cook Islands. We caught up and had a few beers and a kangaroo pizza in a nice bar called Cargo Bar overlooking the harbour.

Wednesday 12th November
Today we headed into town and had a wander around the shops for a few hours. We headed to the supermarket and did some food shopping. We then made our way to The Daily Telegraph for our 4 hour shift. After work we just headed home. Simon got a call from his labouring agency offering him a 7-3 job tomorrow paint stripping and permanent work on a building site starting Monday!

Thursday 13th November
Simon got up and left very early for work arranging to meet up outside the Daily Telegraph building around 4pm. My boss from home Mark flies into Sydney today for The World Cup so I arranged to meet up with him at lunch. I had a sort out at home and phoned a few agencies to remind them I existed. I then met Mark and went for a few drinks to catch up on all that has gone on since I left in July. We then went to check out the Yacht he had chartered for the week! It was stunning, a 6 berth good sized boat and even better Mark was looking for crew for a few days which of course I volunteered Simon and I for! We met up with Simon after the DT work and all headed to Cargo Bar and had a few more drinks and then headed to Chinatown for dinner. We had a final drink before leaving Mark to go back to his boat and we went home.

Friday 14th November - Happy Birthday Rebecca
We got up early and met up with Greg who was going to come crewing with us. We walked up to Rushcutters Bay where the boat was moored and got some beers and wine en-route. We stocked up the fridge and set sail into Sydney Harbour. It was perfect weather at 33 degrees C and a nice sailing breeze. It is just amazing sailing with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge behind you as we headed out to one of many bays. We were out for a few hours with some good sailing and stopped off at Doyles Fish Restaurant in Watsons Bay. We were getting into this little orange rowing boat to row onto the beach (after a few beers mind!) It was really only built for 2 but we figured we could make it with 4! We got completely soaked and Simon jumped in with both feet causing the mobile (which we had for those urgent agency calls!!) catapulted into the air and splash! Never to work again! We rowed precariously to the shore and had lunch and a couple of bottles of vino before heading back to the boat. We had a gentle run back to The Yacht Club to park up for the day and headed to the clubhouse where we settled for a few more drinks waiting for Marks mate Steve who was flying in from Brisbane and then Simon and I headed home to get changed and we all met up in Cargo Bar where we had a good night if not a little hazy!

Saturday 15th November
We were having another day on the Yacht today - its a hard life - we stocked the fridge with water and cans of coke as we were all feeling a little dehydrated after yesterday! We headed over toward Manly Bay (home of the England Rugby team while they are in Oz) where Steve had a game of touch Rugby to play on the beach. We moored up in a really pretty cove where Simon and Mark braved the water which is still pretty cold. We then rowed over to the rocks where there were loads of these huge lizards. Not sure what they are called but I will find out and let you know if they are poisonous! We walked through Manly to Manly beach which was rammed. You couldn't see any sand for beach towels. There were loads of surfers in the water. we decided to get some lunch and head back to the nice quiet cove on the other side. We found a cafe and had lunch overlooking the bay and sat on the table across from Keiron Bracken (had no idea who he was) he plays for the England Rugby team. We had lunch and then headed back to the cove. Simon swam out to get the little orange boat and then we made our way back to the Yacht Club in the afternoon sun and got back in time to have a clean the boat down and be in the Clubhouse for the Australia, New Zealand kick off. It was a really good game and its great that the Aussies got through for a final in their home country. It will be rammed next week if England make it tomorrow! People are getting very tense about the England France game but fortunately the Aussies hate the French more than the English so we have some support over here! Simon and I walked home through crowds of very happy Wallaby Supporters!

Well guys that was our first week in Sydney! Its tough but someones got to do it! Drop us some emails and the odd text - or even a postcard as we now have an address!

97 William Henry Street
Ultimo
Sydney
NSW 2007
Australia

Take care all xxxxxxxxxxxx
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