I have been getting questions how job hunting was going and if I already got an apartment. Well, none of that is going to happen (actually I did get two job offers) as after long long thought I have decided to change my emigrating / moving plans into a new plan: a long world trip Australia is wonderfull and I really enjoy traveling here, but I realized that I don’t want to stay here. I want to live and work in Holland and just for now enjoy a long time off, travelling around the world.
Today is the first day of my new journey; I am leaving Australia and I am flying to Christchurch (New Zealand). I have booked another campervan for three weeks and visit my mate Jasper in Wellington. After that I will leave New Zealand from Auckland and my next stop will be San Francisco where I will get a car and drive cross-country to Boston in about 6 to 8 weeks.
Tonight Barbara and me went went to the Sydney Opera House to see Mozart’s opera: Don Giovanni (actually my first opera ever). We barely made it in time to get to the Opera House due to the hundreds of thousands of happy clappers visiting Sydney for the World Youth Day. While we had circle c reserve tickets (seat P24 and P25; the cheapest tickets in the house for AU $ 100,- per person) our seats on the back row where actually not that bad. We had a good overview of the stage and the orchestra’s pit, and -as the opera was completely in Italian- we could also clearly read the english toptitles above the stage.
The story itself is actually quite simple: man is a womanizer, dad of last shag goes bezerk, man kills dad, people try to hunt man down while in the meantime he cheats on more women, dad comes back from the afterlife to take man, everybody lives happily everafter. Or as how the opera is advertised:
Meet the ultimate Love Rat. Charming and unscrupulous, Don Giovanni has stolen kisses and broken hearts across the continent. And wouldn’t you fall for a man who looks into your eyes and sings a melting Mozart serenade?
Caught in flagrante, on the run from an ex, and wanted for murder, life is getting complicated, but the Don cannot resist another quick affair. Has opera’s great Casanova gone a step too far? Find out as Mozart makes the simplest of melodies reveal the most profound truths.
The opera was really good, a classical opera in a modern stage setting. With a Don Giovanni in a hooded sweater, a stage that mimicks a long depth of field, moving panels and mirrors, a digital clock and lines of coke. Definately worth the money; it was a great experience
Today me and Barbara (housemate) went to the Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum was allright, but not that great. After visiting the museum we decided to go on the free ferry to Cockatoo Island. Right now the 2008 Biennale of Sydney is on, which means that throughout the city there are contemporary art exhibitions. The best spot to visit is Cockatoo Island, an old convict island which was later tranformed into a shipyard which lies a 15 minute ferry ride from Circular Quay. The island itself was excellent, so much old workshops, machinery and even a drydock that we spent the rest of the day making photographs. Here’s an impression
Sydney’s Zoo lies a 15 minute ferry ride from Circular Quay on the other side of the harbour. A skyrail brings you from the ferry harbour to the Zoo’s entrance on top of the hill so you can walk down, zig-zagging through the zoo to see all animals. The cages were smaller than those of Steve Irwin’s zoo, but Taronga zoo was better than I expected (and remembered from my 2001 visit). Besides the native Australian animals (kangaroos, koala beers, crocs, echidna’s and wombats) they also had a red back spider…
After I arrived in Sydney on the 24th of June, I have been around most areas in the city. I’ve been to the oldest part (The Rocks), visited the Belgian Bar over there (yum, i missed those Leffes, Westmalles, Kriek and Duvels ), the AMP tower, -of course- Glebe, Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, etc.
Last sunday (the 29th) I went whale watching with 3 housemates (Barbara, Ben and Sam) and we spotted about 9 humpback whales. Two seemed to have some sort of argument as one kept flapping it’s tale in the water, while the other whale breached and jumped out of the water. It seemed like he said ‘Bugger Off’ to the tail flapping whale
Below is an impression of the photographs I made the last couple of days:
The last couple of days I spent walking around Sydney CBD and I have been making lots of photographs. I shot several panorama shot; combinations of 2 or more photographs merged to one. Below are a couple of -clickable- panoramas:
Last Friday and today I went to the Sydney Fishmarket which I have passed several times while walking from the Guesthouse in Glebe to Darling Harbour. As you might suspect, the market was full of sea food stands and a couple of fruit stands. Instead of buying and eating seafood I photographed them; here you go
The funny thing is, that the big sea slug I saw in Monkey Mia appears to be eadible as it was also for sale at the fishmarket, and it’s called a ‘Bailer Shell‘. I wonder what kind of people would eat that?!
When I brought my van back to Britz I took the train into the city to walk around a bit. Leaving central station I was back on familiar ground, as we (Sebastien et al) were staying at the YHA central which is next to central station. So walking past the YHA into George Street brought back some memories
I walked around, had some kebab at the food court and a coffee at the Darling Harbor starbucks, and had a look at the just recently opened Apple Store at George Street. The interior and exterior share the same concept as the 5th avenue store.
I decided to walk back to the guesthouse, which took be about 40 minutes from the beginning of Darling Harbor. Not bad That night I went to the pub with a couple of housemates.
The reason is that when someone tries to call you, he will be reverted to your voicemail box in your home country by the mobile operator in the country your are in at that time. This means you will charged for:
1. the costs for reverting calls to your voicemailbox (charges for calling abroad)
2. the costs for incoming calls abroad; even if the caller does not leave a message you will be charged the costs (charges for receiving calls abroad)
Depending on the country you are in, you will be charged per second or per minute. So, regarding the latter, if someone tries to call you and does not leave a message, you will still be charged a 1 minute call abroad + redirection.
While it looks like my mobile operator Telfort tries to obscure the actual costs (at least I cannot find a clear answer on their website) I found more information about the costs elsewhere. Apparantly Telfort charges about € 2,52 + 19% tax per call ending up in your voicemail box. This may sum up to a nice total when you get called a lot.
You have to pay double for people reaching your voicemail when abroad and you have to pay to listen to your voicemails.
So, what can we do about it? First best practise is to make sure you disable voicemail with your mobile operator when you go abroad. Secondly, there are several common mobile network codes which offer a broad range of functionality of which ##21# is the most interesting to us. This particular code will deactivate all call diverts, making sure you will not get charged unexpected costs. Just enter the code and press the send / OK / call button and all call diverts will be deactivated. Use *21# to view the current status.
To re-activate the diverts, you need to know the number of your voicemail box and use the following code: **21*phonenumber#. However, as I am moving to Australia and I actually don’t want to reachabe 24/7, I do not intend to re-enable my voicemail so I can’t help you with the proper number to re-enable diverts