Friday, February 13, 2004

Welcome to the Monkey House

Greetings from Canberra. I arrived here last Wednesday, with 40kgs of luggage in tow (incredibly, the woman who checked me in at Perth airport didn't even comment on my luggage being 18kg over the limit), and was whisked by taxi to my serviced apartment in Manuka, a tres trendy (well, for Canberra, anyway) area south of Lake Burley-Griffin populated by yuppie public servants and cool cafes and restaurants. Fortunately there's a 24-hr Coles (I don't think Perth has any of these - that's one up for Canberra!) at Manuka Plaza, which is about 5 mins walk from my apartment, so I was able to pick up a few essential groceries (read: chocolate biscuits!) on my first night without too much hassle.

Then it was on to surfing the channels on the TV in my apartment - which has been a regular theme for my evenings so far! I get Showtime and Encore, so I've spent a good few evenings flicking between movies, and also taking in some reality TV (Average Joe - how could Melana have kept Zach on - he is such a tosser! and My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance - pretty funny stuff). Asides from TV watching, I've spent a bit of time meeting friends of friends - I've been really impressed at how many people have gone out of their way to ring me/email me to organise dinner, drinks or to show me around Canberra. It has somewhat restored my faith that there really are nice people out there! (Thanks, too, to friends and fam from Perth who've rung or emailed me (and my sister who stayed with me for 2 days) and made my first week much less lonely than it otherwise would've been!!)

The job is going fairly well so far - although my workstation is *RIGHT* outside the CEO's office door, and in the small area we work in, everyone can hear every word of any telephone conversation - which means all the time I would've ordinarily wasted on personal calls has actually been spent productively! Looks like I'll be doing some interesting work - for example, I've been looking at some new legislation (the Spam Act) which is set to take effect from April, to work out how the organisation will need to change its procedures to make sure its emails comply with the Act. Sounds fascinating, huh :)

The search for somewhere to live has been an experience - work is putting me up in the serviced apartment for 3 weeks only (damn! I am getting so used to fresh towels every day and chocolates on my pillow...) so I've been looking for a room in a share house or apartment. All the places I've seen so far have their good points - but none have been ideal. The first apartment I looked at was nice and new, with my own bathroom, but approx 20 min drive from work (ridiculously far in Canberra terms!). Second one was much closer to work, but the guy I'd be sharing with was a complete tosser - an unsociable, egotistical, anal, money-hungry loser, so I've pretty much written that apartment off! The last place is the best contender at the moment - a 3 bed, 1 bath house that I'd be sharing with 2 sisters who seemed really lovely. Only problem is the 1 bathroom - not ideal when you like to indulge in long, hot showers as much as I do...

So that's a wrap on my first week and a half in Canberra, on the whole it's made a fairly good impression on me - especially now that I have my car, it's so easy to get around (and the roads are just fantastic - no traffic and in great condition - good to see taxpayers' money being put to good use!;), the weather has been pleasant so far (nice and hot!) and the city is quite pretty. There are big, shady deciduous green trees planted along most of the streets, and lots of recreational park land and reserves, which add to the relaxed atmosphere. The few times I've been in to Civic (the "city centre", if you can call it that) it's been full of people - mainly due to the (sure to be short-lived) warm weather, and to a multicultural festival that was held last weekend.

Heading off "home" now - bring on the weekend!!


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