February 28, 2008

Chasing Queen Victoria

Last weekend we got an invitation to join a boat chase. Queen Victoria cruise ship (I think it is one of the biggest in the world!) was leaving Sydney Harbour after stopping here for a few days.

Hundreds of small boats set out to farewell the big ship.

We were on a "chinese junk" boat and our captain/steerer/boat owner superskillfully took us right to the front row of hundreds (or thousands?) of boats at Sydney Harbour.

The exciting part, of course, was the chase after the ship went past. The whole harbour turned into a whitewater turbulance and all the boats tried to keep up with the departing Queen Victoria.

I'm not sure on what that ship runs, but we didn't have much of a chance to continue the race, so we just saw the boat leave. Whoever would want to travel on one of those ships that are of a size of a suburb?!!?

Last week we also moved to yet another temporary apartment (we still have more than 2 weeks before we can move in to our new home at Wollstonecraft). But this time we can't really complain. We stay not far from Coogee beach (and go running along the shore) and the apartment is lovely, spacious and completely renovated. The kitchen is full of fancy gear, we even have iPod speakers, etc. Why would anyone rent a place so nice to strangers?!?!

Posted by gkligyte at 06:38 PM | Comments (126)

February 21, 2008

Coogee rocks!

We are immensely happy to be out of the Kings Cross cockroach hole. Last Monday we moved to a place on Coogee beach and it is such a relief!

Instead of a needle exchange station next door (we didn't really have a needle exchange station nowhere near our place in Kings Cross, but let me use this as a metaphor...:) we have Coogee beach. We go running along the shore and Kaj has been going for an evening dip every night.

Being so close to the beach will simplify our weekends too! We've been making trips to the beach basically every Saturday and Sunday. This weekend we can just walk down the stairs in a bikini and towel, not worrying about leaving wallets and cameras on the shore!

We still have a few more weeks of summer ahead, but on the 1st of March we will switch back to the winter time... I can't believe that we wasted the whole summer relocating and settling down... When we get our surfboards, our only option most likely will be to go for night surf (a scary thought that one of my colleagues enthusiastically advocates!) We have full moon now, so actually now could be a great time to try it (if you can't see sharks, at least you can see waves?!?! Maybe?!?!)

Posted by gkligyte at 09:01 PM | Comments (225)

February 14, 2008

"Sorry" never sounded better!

Yesterday I witnessed history in the making. For the first time in history of Australia, the prime minister asked indigenous Australians (Aborigines) for forgiveness for the terrible injustice that they were put through by previous generations of white European Australians. He apologized the "stolen generation" - aboriginal kids that were taken away from their families to be raised "properly" by "civilized" European families or orphanages.

It was a simple speech, but the whole event (I was watching the speech with hundreds of others in the lecture theatre at the University) was very emotional. I don't belong to this culture and I know very little of the background for this. I do know though that Howard, the previous conservative PM, flatly refused to make this apology for years. It seems to be a simple and small thing to do, but it carries huge symbolic meaning and signifies changing times for Australia. Coming from outside of the country it is plain clear that Aboriginals were mistreated, yet it was such a major issue for people here and a huge step to have officials to actually acknowledge that. There were people with families, lots of people crying and standing ovation after the speech. I'm happy to be here while these great changes are taking place. Go Rudd government, go!

Meanwhile our luck turned to worse, we moved to our temporary accommodation and realised almost immediately that the place is crawling with cockroaches. We spent the whole day on Tuesday spraying, cleaning and killing cockroaches, but as the night fell, there were more and more of them coming out from all sorts of gaps. We complained and the owner was forthcoming, we can actually leave this place without loosing money. So we'll be moving yet again next Monday (to a place in Coogee) and once more after a week. Until we finally move into our long term accommodation on the 17 March... Argh... This settling in Australia takes forever!!!

Posted by gkligyte at 11:02 PM | Comments (141)

February 09, 2008

Happy Birthday, Big Boy

Kaj had his birthday yesterday and this time my present to him was a link that I sent to his email. It is so 21st century!!!

It will materialise into a Big Boy 6'6'' surfboard eventually.

It will be delivered to his work and then, I guess, he'll take a train home. In Sydney you see people taking buses or trains with surfboards in tow and don't even blink.

Otherwise, it has been raining (again!) and we still don't have a home. The light at the end of the tunel is the possibility to move into an apartment owned by friends of our friends of friends that is supposed to become available on the 17 March. Fingers crossed for this to materialise! And you better do your finger crossing for us this time!

Posted by gkligyte at 06:29 PM | Comments (2228)

February 07, 2008

Gong Xi Fa Chai!

Happy New Year! Unfortunately we still don't have a home. Yep, we didn't get the only place we really wanted. We're set to live the another next 5 weeks out of our luggage and we'll be shifting from our posh room with the views at Mcmahons Point into something much dingier next Tuesday...

Did you do your share of positive thinking for us?!?!

Posted by gkligyte at 06:28 PM | Comments (529)

February 03, 2008

Where's the apartment fairy when you need her!?!

Another rainy day and another rainy week ahead according to weather forecast... A relief for Australian farmers, but we're nearly going mad here (sitting in our small apartment the whole day) waiting for the news about a beautiful apartment that we saw on Saturday...

Apartment hunt in Sydney is not easy. Places are shown for some 10 minutes (mostly on Saturdays) and then there are tens of people usually "inspecting" them. So on Saturday you carefully draw a list of flats that you want to check and try to rush from one to another. If something goes wrong (the agent is late, the bus doesn't arrive and you miss a connection), your carefully drafted plan collapses and everything melts into panic, terrible rush and great profit for taxi drivers.

The ads you see on Internet are usually photoshopped, so our Saturdays have been full of disappointment after disappointment. But yesterday we saw a place that we loved... For a change...

However... The catch is that once you see a place that you like, you have to compete with the other 20 people interested and submit an "application". The landlord or the agent looks at the applications and assesses the likelihood that you'll trash the place and either offers you to rent the place or not.

We submitted a couple of applications just to test how it goes and we would have gotten every single one (except that we didn't want them)... But currently we're hanging in this dreadful state of "the unknown" terrified by the prospect that we may not get the only place that we liked!

I couldn't sleep properly for last 3 nights, anticipating the Saturday apartment viewing, dreading the idea of someone else getting the place we liked and the whole huge "UNCERTAINTY" hanging above us... Arrrghhhh... Please please please, can we get the place we like and this whole mess would be over!!! Not much we can do right now except to dread the worst and hope for the best... All positive thoughts from everyone are appreciated!

Posted by gkligyte at 10:21 PM | Comments (0)