Friday, January 23, 2009

Beach Criket?!

In the previous blog entry, I was mistaken. It wasn't hot then, at least compared to today. I think it's pushing 100! The wind is HOT! I sat down on the couch and it felt like it had just came out of the dryer! The poor little fan I bought recently is on high and close to me but not doing any good really.

I walked to the closer store, about 5 blocks and about died! I had thought about stopping at the pub but it' too early and I don't know if could make it home once I got there. I came back, drank several glasses of water and I'm still barely able to type this as my arms are shakey and sweat is stinging my eyes. I have about 5 or 6 various bottles filled with water in the fridge and I'll probably go through all of them. At least there's beer, too.

I thought I'd flop down on the couch (ouch, hot!) and watch TV while the fan is on me. I turned it on and you guessed it (from the title) Beach Cricket! These Aussies are crazy. It is hotter where they're at playing a rousing game as if its nothing! I was somewhat disappointed as I was thinking it might be more like Beach Volleyball and hopefully a girls team was playing but...NO! There are cheerleaders sort of, but what real manly sports fan wants to see that when a Criket match is on?! Anyway, its just more Aussie culture I'm learning about and isn't that one of the main reasons I'm here?

Write, comment, visit.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's Criket!

Thursday January 15, 2009

Today is the HOT day of the week, expected to reach 93 or so with 80% humidity. It’s one of those days where you wake up hot. I recently bought a fan and had it on me all night. It’s one of those mornings where you step out of the shower and realize you’ve been trying to towel off for quite a bit and its of no use. A cup of coffee doesn’t even sound good, just some water from the fridge.

The evenings are nice though as a cool breeze develops in the afternoon and makes the heat much more bearable. It’s the perfect weather to sit in the stands of the nearby park and enjoy a game of cricket. Like baseball, balls bowled, batters swinging, hitting and running, cold beer and the smell of sautéed onions wafting through the air, reminds me of summer games (and Vashon High School football) back home.

Recently they’ve come up with a variation in playing Cricket called 20Twenty. Typically in what they call ‘test matches’, the game is very slow like baseball, with no time limits. For example, when I first arrived here in Australis, the test match between India and Australia was being televised and every day for a MONTH this test match was on. I started calling this channel ‘The Cricket Channel, All Cricket, All The Time (the Ocho!). It got to be my personal joke as no Aussies appreciated it. The game or match, literally lasted a month!

But with 20Twenty (and another version 50Fifty), the games are relatively quick since they’re limited to 20 sets called ‘overs’ of 6 pitches or bowls. Not every bowl is successful for a variety of reasons, but the game moves quickly. One side is up, then the other and if they get more runs than the first team, the game immediately stops without finishing all 20 overs. It actually is an interesting game and going with my next door neighbour Mark, it was great as he explained the game to this dumb Yank in Oz. His son has been accepted onto the team at 17, which is about the right age to begin at the bottom of a 1st Level Men’s League team. He didn’t get to bat, but did get to field for a few bowls before his team had handily won.

Mark is my age exactly, he teaches high school science specializing in chemistry and marine biology. In true Aussie fashion, they collect sea life, watch it grow and at the end of the year, eat the tasty ones. Can you imagine the brouhaha that would erupt if that curriculum were offered in a USA high school? He’s a great guy with 3 wonderful kids about the same age as mine and we all get along great.

I told him yesterday that I caught myself pronouncing some words in Australian, I said “I’m started to lose my accent!” He just stared at me incredulously and after regaining his composure said, “There’s no danger in that, Mate.”

I have my first real Project Management assignments finally after 3 months and my review to end ‘probation’ should occur this week or next. Soon, I’ll see if I’m going to be able to stay in Australia for the entire 2 year contract or not. I hope they like me and I can stay for a bit, it is very nice here. It really is like a 1950’s TV show in many ways, although I know there are areas back home that are just like this, too.

There are 2 butcher shops, a fresh seafood shop and a fresh pasta shop along with modern grocery stores. I go to a barber Hugo, who is a 60 year old Italian and a very nice guy. He just got back from his winter break in Switzerland and Italy saying he loved visiting in the winter, his first time from the usual summer visits he’d made in the past. This was my second time and I really hadn’t been to a ‘barber’ for decades. I should get a 20 year copy of Field and Stream to add to his collection of antique magazines for that American Barbershop touch.

People here are very friendly, if you catch the eye of someone walking past they smile and “G’day” or “How ya going?” There are some very bad people in the news, but I don’t think near the extent as back home, but with the media the way it is, who knows really.

Exciting news last night as I was copied on confirmation for Holly’s Spring Break flight. Qantas had a sale and she took advantage of that! Now I’ll party like a college kid with the coed of my choice. Of course, going to bed at 9:30 as I still have to work that week.

Comment, write me, do as Holly does and come and see me. Really!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Family Christmas Vacation in Oz - Part Deux

Its Sunday morning and after 2 weeks off, it'll be back to work tomorrow. In a lot of ways it seems unreal. Unreal (as a formerly being employed in the US) in getting that much time off when only being employed for 2 months, unreal having the family here, bursting onto the scene then leaving all too soon. We had a great time doing a little exploring, being a part of the fierce lawn bowling competition between the survey and mapping departments at work. Nick and Carly loved the new experience, I think having beer available was part of the fun.

Through Carly's Sydney friends, we were invited to view the start of the Sydney-Hobart Yacht race, pictures above. That was great, seeing the start of the race and meeting such wonderful people. Several couples our age were there for their annual, family get together on Boxing Day. Big BBQ (of course, its Australia) plenty of sun and beer and really a very good time.

We also did some touristy things like the Illawarra Fly, which is a treetop walk in the rain forest. The views are incredible but I really didn't think it was a rainforest, still it was a good time and I think the kids were glad they went as well. Before we left the parking lot, I had to stop because a wombat was out in the field and of course Holly had to try and get a picture.

In the empitness of a flat without the family, I went shopping to buy those things absent and pointed out often. So, should you visit me down under, the flat has been battle tested and improved for your comfort. The invitation is open those I really care about and you know who you are. If you're unsure, just ask!

Please comment, too. I can take it...I think.