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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Working in Australia, Pt 1

Its been a week since I left Philippines for Melbourne along with my colleague Chris, we flew via Cathay passing HongKong and Adelaide.

On board our first flight we enjoyed talking to other Filipino passengers and watching TV, then half way the flight we got our dinner served -- braised chicken with mushrooms!! Sadly, we didn't have much time to eat coz 15 minutes later were already preparing for landing.

Our stop at HongKong got us confused; we followed signs saying our transfer area is on the other end but half way there an airport official pointed us a detour through a temporary security checkpoint which saved us a lot of time.

The HongKong airport is huge and spacious; it will take time to get where your going by just walking! You either take the airport buggy or ride the conveyors, its that huge! -- and it should be since most connecting flights pass here. We waited at the transfer area where we were joined by other passengers bound to Adelaide; most of them are talking to their laptops, huh? -- because HK airport has free ultra-fast WIFI!! Too bad we didn't have laptops with us but we will surely have that chance again on our way back since we already received our company issued IBM ThinkPads.

We caught the urge to call home while looking at other passengers casually use VOIP via the WIFI so we tried to place a call but our roaming didn't work. I checked the settings -- there were too many service providers at HK, our phones couldn't just find the right one to use (note: ask your service provider what's their partner network on the country you are traveling to before leaving!). After an hour we boarded our plane for a n8-hour flight to Adelaide.

On our second flight we got another dinner! -- I have chosen the same meal and savoured it this time, another perk when flying via Cathay air. The entire flight went well for 8 hours but we could get ourselves to really sleep due to slight turbulence that occurs randomly.

We reached our 2nd stop early morning still very sleepy -- just had 2 hours sleep, we got our breakfast 30 minutes before landing so I chose egg omelet and mashed potato for a quick munch. We landed Adelaide for another transfer, the airport is a just big enough unlike HK. Security is very strict, aside from the imposed limit for carrying liquids and aerosols (gels, water, perfumes, etc) customs has forbidden us to bring any kind of food -- even chocolates! Chris was even got randomly picked for a voluntary "pat search" as added security precaution which surprised us at first.

We stayed at the transfer lounge for 2 hours before finally taking off for Melbourne. The flight lasted about 50 minutes, at arrivals section we presented our passport to the immigration which gave us an all clear. Welcome to Australia at last!

We waited a bit at the airport lounge area until David Pleasance arrived to pick us up, David gave as a ride to our new home away from home and and first thing we notice about Melbourne is.. right hand drive cars! On the way we passed the office then dropped by a local supermart to buy a few things before finally proceeding to our new place.

Our new home is a typical US type suburban house; it has 4 rooms, kitchen, sala, and appliances -- just like the Google motto '..developers will just want to work if you take care of their needs'. Anyway we got so tired that we decided to sleep thru the rest of the day.

The next day we started out on our job, there are around 190 developers on our section alone -- coming from all corners of the globe while others work from home or other country thanks to the fast VPN access.

Right now were really enjoying our work, its a lifestyle far from what were used to. Everyday we cook breakfast and dinner, im no cook but I'm starting get the hang on it. The only main difficulty is finding where to buy the food were used to like bagoong ang tuyo but the usual ones are available at the supermarket -- they even have a section dedicated to Asian food!

We haven't had the time to tour the city yet so I'll post all about the place next time as soon as we had explored enough. For now I'll post a map of our office, you can drop me an email if you're near!

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