Sunday at 4:00 AM and I can't sleep due to a combination of time changes and probably a short circuit in my brain from getting up at this time for the past several years, too. It's a typical Saturday night/Sunday morning as drunk Aussies are coming back to their rooms now, making lots of noise. The parking lot behind me had someone wandering around apparently lost in the dark and alcohol. The smell of something burning has been in the air for a couple hours and I checked to make sure it isn't the place I'm staying.
While shopping at Woolworth's (believe it not, the largest grocery chain in Oz) I realized that in spite of being in an (presumably) English speaking country, everyday things are more difficult as you learn the ways of the locals. At the grocery store, I have to really concentrate on all the labels as most of them are very different. It's the same at work, everything I do takes a great amount of concentration to do what usually is the simplest task. I do get tired quickly because of the combination of lack of sleep and greater effort for most things.
But the good news maybe that I've found an apartment! I have less than a week to go in the company paid, extended stay hotel and at $125/day at company rates, I can't stay here after this Friday. The apartment is an old, very nice building with hardwod floors, 9' or 10' (or whatever the metric equivilent) ceilings and a kitchen that is up-to-date...if it was 1940. While waiting for the real estate agent to show up, a very stately, classy woman came out of the building and started talking to me. She lives in one of the 'penthouses' on the top floor and was very nice. I'd say older, but anymore...not THAT much older. After she'd left, I began to wonder if she owned the building and if renters who misbehaved were called into her darkened top floor apartment where she'd put on her best Betty Davis impression, having trouble lighting a cigarette at the end of her 1/2 metre holder. Obviously I was bored waiting for the RE agent who wasn't much older than Carly and came roaring in with a car that has a red "P" tag on it.
That's another oddity of Oz is that new drivers must display a red "P" for the first 2 years of having their driver's license, then graduate to a green "P" for the third year. After that, they're "P"less. This is similar to Japan as Craig Sweet can attest, where new drivers have what looks like the feathers of an arrow on their cars. It's green and yellow and actually is supposed to represent a delicate rice or bamboo shoot. Americans put those on their cars as if in an accident, regardless of details, the driver with the little sprout usually is blameless as the police attitude is the 'experienced' driver should've been able to avoid the beginner.
Please email me with questions and comments. I'll still hoping I don't bore too many of my family and friends. Holly and the kids are supposed to be here for Christmas and certainly want them to show up and not be afraid of boring old Dad.