it feels a bit hard to imagine that week 2 is coming to an end – it hasn’t been the most eventful week, still was doing some admin and just getting some essentials for the house.
the first “major” thing we got for the apartment was a desk / bookcase combo from ikea. i have been in a ikea previously – that was in abu dhabi and dubai, but i never bought anything because i was there. but now that we’re in australia, we can actually buy stuff.
ikea actually has a really good range of stuff to buy – and they have a LOT! it’s difficult walking in there and only getting what you need – and not go crazy and forget what your actual purpose is there and buy the whole store (which would only be possible if you were filthy rich because ikea does go on and on and on and on… ). for those that haven’t been inside an ikea, the store is divided into 4 areas – the restaurant (which makes good food and its cheap), the showroom, an area where you select all the small stuff for the house and then the warehouse.
at ikea they have designed the stores that kinda force you to walk through ALL the display areas in the showroom. it’s mostly one way – and unless you know shortcuts between the different areas (such as living areas, kitchens, bedrooms etc) you have to go through the whole store. the showroom shows all the stuff they sell set up as various sets. when you start off in the display room, you take a piece of paper and pencil that ikea provides, and whichever items you’re interested in, you write the details down and also where to find them in the warehouse.
once you’re finished in the massive showrooms, you move on to the selection area where you select stuff for kitchens, bathrooms, decorations etc. that is also just as big. once you’ve got those items, you move to the warehouse which is pretty huge and then you select the items that you want to purchase. these are your big items which all come packaged. from there, you go an pay – and they have self check out terminals where you scan all your items yourself and then pay by card. no one helps you. of course we’ve seen this at other stores as well – reduces labour. and don’t think that you can just walk out without scanning everything – there are cameras watching you, plus there are 2 security guards that ensure you do scan your stuff.
the beauty of the stuff from ikea is that it all needs to be put together by you. so the bookcase / desk combo we bought came in 2 flat boxes. at home, it took me not even 30 minutes to put everything together. everything is really easy to put together – screws and wooden pegs. the result of my “handy man” phase was this:
the desk and bookcase combo
the only thing that is currently missing is the iMac that i want to buy :-)
during this past week, we also took a drive down to the gold coast – just to do a little bit of exploring. before we went, we first went to get gotags – these tags are used for the tollgates that are on some of the freeways around brisbane. so yes, we always complain about the tollgates that they’re putting up in SA – but i thought i could get away from them, but got them here as well. anyways :) driving to the gold coast is nice – as you reach the gold coast, you see turn offs from the freeway for WB Movie World, Wet ‘n Wild water world, Dream World theme park and another water world. Seaworld is also on the gold coast. so there is more than enough to do – on top of the beaches and other drives through the mountains etc.
interesting fact: Gold Coast is actually the 2nd largest city in Queensland and 6th largest in Australia – having a population of 540,000. i always thought it was just an area – but it’s actually considered a city. the border between queensland and new south wales also runs between the gold coast, but only in the extreme south of queensland.
while we drove around, we just wanted to get to the ocean – wanted to see it and put our feet in the water. we eventually stopped at broadbeach – there is approx 70km of beaches on the gold coast apparently. and it’s quite busy but really pretty – as can be seen below
A view from Broadbeach to Surfers Paradise (those high rises are all holiday apartments!)
Looking south towards Tweed Head and Coolongatta
this was my first experience in the waters of the pacific – it’s lovely and warm :) not like the waters around cape town! we didn’t spend much time there because antonio has been sick since we got here (he is doing a lot better than what he was), so we just took a drive along the beach up through surfers paradise. very pretty – does have a feeling of camps bay – very pretty. we will be going back later once antonio is 100% better – can’t wait!
other than that, we haven’t done a huge amount of sight seeing. we were still sorting out admin – we finally received our bank cards and medicare card in the post. we got our tax numbers as well. so nice how everything is posted with no problems. now at least we can use our money in the bank accounts here instead of using my SA account and have everything converted to rands. it’s awful when you still think about rands. and having a bank card and the medicare card also makes it easier to apply for stuff here – because they want 100 points of identification – and at minimum it must be passport, bank card and medicare card. without they refuse to actually help you.
and as we are south africans, we don’t have queensland drivers licences – and drivers licences seem to be one of the easiest ways to get anything done here. so yesterday we actually went to the traffic department where we started the process of getting our drivers licence. sadly it cannot just be converted, we actually have to a written and practical exam to get our drivers licence. i sommer did the written portion yesterday and scored 30/30. was happy about that because it costs $20 each time to write the test. antonio couldn’t do his because the bank messed up his bank card by leaving part of his surname off his bank card, and the lady at the traffic dept said that it needs to match his passport with his full name *sigh* so we will go back again to get that sorted. for me to do my practical, i need to go to a driving school for a lesson and using their car – because i need to do it with a manual – and the rental car is automatic, plus my car i’m getting next week is also an automatic. i have realised that i am going to have to practice the parallel parking thing, because i seem to be extremely bad at it currently :) in south africa, we usually could just drive into the parking bay – here they LOVE parallel parking. but anyways, we have another 2 and a half months that we can drive with our SA licences – so got enough time :)
speaking of cars, i have almost got my car. we ordered one last week – but we weren’t sure about the colour (the kia dealership gets batches of car and they never really know what colours are going to be on the ship) – so i was told that the colour they definitely know that is coming is “latte”. it’s a pretty colour in the brochure, but i was drawn to the colours “dark blue” and “graphite”. so i put a deposit down to book the car (they didn’t have a buyer for it yet) – but i wasn’t sure about the colour. then yesterday i was told the car had arrived and i quickly went to check it out – it’s an awesome colour – love it and then i said i’m definitely taking it. so they are doing the window tint and the paint protection and then i will be picking it up tuesday morning! cannot wait!
soon to be mine!
i am financing the car – and i got the finance very easily! i was pre-approved even without my contract. on the other hand, i cannot get a cellphone contract because i dont have a credit history! now that is super silly – you’d think that getting a cellphone contract would be the easiest way to get credit and start building up a credit history! but of course not – my life was not going to be that easy. the poor sales girl at telstra tried her best, but the credit department was useless saying that i don’t have a credit history and i’d have to build it up first before i can get a contract. now, doesn’t that sound like the chicken and egg problem.
i’ve been sounding like a broken record to antonio and the sales person, but how is a person supposed to build a credit record if i can’t apply for credit. really retarded. and you’d think i would have no problems because i could apply for car finance – but anyways <end rant> :)
i’ve also joined a medical aid (on top of medicare) – they say to join private medical aid, just so that we can also go to private hospitals and just have more cover. was simple enough and we just joined over the phone. i’ve also signed up for internet – i should get it in approx 7 business days – it might seem long, but we live in a building where the services are managed by a company called OptiComm. the whole building has already been wired for fibre, but they first need to configure all the access, and only once that is done, will a service provider start setting up the service for me. then i called a service provider which has an agreement with OptiComm to provide internet and phone to my apartment. the option i chose was fibre to the home (FTTH) which is 100Mbps and i’m starting off with 100GB per month. no contract, so i can cancel or upgrade as i see fit. gonna be awesome – seeing as my line at home in south africa was. gonna be lightning fast now – hehe :-)
i also saw kevin and anne this weekend. which meant that i finally got my work contract – which also helps getting admin done. and i also learnt the dangers of the gps when i went to meet them at toowong towers – if you don’t specify the exact suburb and the street, the gps will take you somewhere totally different. i went to a car dealership the morning i met kevin – and from the car dealership, it should’ve taken me 5 minutes to get to toowong towers, meanwhile i was driving far and when i saw the gps wanted to take me over the river i was like “wtf – this is wrong” – and google maps on my phone saved me when i saw what other options i had to get to toowong. good thing otherwise i would’ve been an hour late methinks :) but all worked out in the end – i’ve already learnt a couple roads and how to get to places such as the chermside mall, the cbd and ikea without using the gps. still got lots of new roads to learn though.
i know i’ve already posted a picture of the cruise terminal that is across the road from us, but i’m posting some more because there has now been 2 ships docked here this part week and another cruise ship just went past the one that is currently docked here this morning.
The Sun Princess
The Pacific Dawn with another ship coming down the river
The smaller cruise ship coming down the river this morning
i just love being able to look outside the apartment and have this vista in front of me. one day in the future antonio and i will also be boarding one of these cruise ships and going for a cruise for 7 or 15 days :-) think it would be a lovely holiday. also options are available to fly to sydney and catch one of the other cruise ships that are available in these areas.
other than that, nothing much of interest has happened. brisbane had it hottest day since 2004 this week. was only 37, but the humidity does make it worse… but compared to abu dhabi and it’s 45 or so, this isn’t that bad. but we do have aircon in our apartment, so it does help to keep us cool, plus we can go downstairs and swim.
this weekend is going to be lazy – i’m taking the rental car back later today, so the next 2 days we will be making use of public transport – such as the city cat to go into the city or further down the river. monday i start work – s0 my 2 weeks of holiday are actually almost finished – which is sad. would’ve loved having a holiday of like a month! but no such luck :) and then the other thing to really look forward to is that i’m getting my car next week tuesday. that will be the highlight of my week next week.
i’m leaving you with some photos of our trip down the river as well as of our apartment building
looking at the CBD from South Bank
The view from Newstead/New Farm towards Hamilton - our apartment is just behind the tallest building in the right of the picture
Our building - check the red block in the picture - that's our apartment on the 14th floor
Our apartment building (on the right) at night
Portside Wharf and Hamilton Harbour (our apartment building is the 2nd tallest building in the middle of the picture)
i hope you all have a great weekend! and for those in the eastern cape talking about the heater there, hopefully you get some respite and it rains.