Welcome to my new blog series on Australia!
After a frantic few days at home, I set off for Heathrow airport armed with a new Lonely Planet and Bill Bryson (ok, his book…) I was feeling slightly hesitant about the flights. I wasn’t quite sure about the reliability of the flight company, having bought tickets off lastminute.com from an airline I had never heard of before. Despite this worry, it turned out Air Asiana were pretty good. The food was satisfactory, they didn’t lose my luggage, and we arrived into Incheon Airport on time (where I was to make my one and only change).
I was also very impressed by Incheon airport, which was very clean, and had free showers and armchairs available to use. On arrival, I found a craft shop where traditional Korean instrumentalists were giving a live performance. Foreigners could also take part in a free workshop making little paper lanterns.
I only had 3 hours in Korea before my next flight, bound for Sydney Kingsford Smith! I had fully exhausted the movie collection by this point (of which the new Spiderman was the definite highlight, closely followed by The Other Woman), but caught tantalising glimpses of Queensland on the flight over.
On arrival in Sydney, I met my godmother Gill (fortuitously in Australia) for coffee.
The weather was surprisingly grey on arrival in Australia, and I was also pretty tired, so I can’t really tell you much about my first afternoon. (Jet lag has been surprisingly non-existent since then – the long time spent in the air seemed to reset my body clock!) However, I could hardly fail to notice the view from my window.
Aside from the view, my flat itself is great. I’m living in the school where I am working. The flat is quite small, but very well equipped, with ensuite and kitchen.
Rather like in my Jordan blog series, I probably won’t talk much about work on here lest I accidentally breach any of my confidentiality agreements. I haven’t actually done much teaching yet as I’ve mostly been doing admin stuff and paperwork (forms, security checks, healthcare etc), of which the Australians seem very keen. However, I have been shown the river on which I am to coach, and sat in on some lessons. I also sang with the junior choir this morning.
I ventured into town on my first day, and there’s clearly heaps to do in Sydney. I had a brief peek into the Botanic Gardens and the Rocks, from which there was a great view of the Opera House.
The whole city is very clean and efficient, with lots of pedestrian crossings – and these not only have a little green man, but give you an audio signal (aka beeping) when it’s time to cross the road! The city is full of palm trees and greenery, which makes it very pleasant to walk around.
The train is the easiest way into town. Not only do you get the enjoyment of riding over the famous Harbour Bridge, but it’s quite fun seeing UK names re-used in a very different context (e.g. Windsor, Epping, Richmond…) People are very relaxed in their dress, wearing flip-flops (or ‘thongs’) everywhere, although I’m still not sure that the man I saw changing his outfit on the platform was being quite socially acceptable! The train also had pretty different advertisements on the tube walls compared to home, such as the board put up by Taiwanese Tourism.
Next post is going to be on everything I’ve done since arriving…