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LSD trip to Sydney and Canberra


Toitjie
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I have arrived in Sydney yesterday, the flight was just awfull. it was a 747, but with soooo little legroom!!! Food was good though.

my dad filled in his card incorrectly so he had to redo it. I dont know if that was the reason for it, but EVERYONE had to go through customs except us, they were all standing in a line, their gladwrapped bags being cut open, and the customs official told us to go to line 8, which went directly outside! so no checks, nothing!

It is hot here, I brough ALL my winter clothing, and had 2 thick eskimo jackets as hand luggage, no shortsleeved shirts! :ilikeit: , but the weather is so nice, it feels like Durbs, somewhere in the lower twenties....

When we arrived at our hostel in Surry Hills, I thought to myself, what the hell have I gotten us into, the area is dilapidated and dingy, the buildings were all painted when Captain Morgan was still a corporal. But when we got inside, pleasant surpise! Its clean and nice, floor are these wood veneer stuff, new, and our rooms are clean, tidy and everything is just nice. Its not tourist season so we are the only tourists, the rest of the occupants are young people who stays here permanently it seems, they are quite friendly but keep their distance.

When we explored a little, it seems that this area is almost like Hillbrow in the 70's. there are some beautiful old buildings that, with a little TLC will look fabulous. there are hunderds of little cafes to eat, mostly asian, some a big rif-off, but there is good food to find.

Today we decided to try the public transport. I am always afraid that I will take the wrong bus, so I never use it. but what an absolute pleasure. there is a bus every 15 minutes for wherever you want to go. every route has a number. so now know if we want to go to the circular quay or something, from here, we take the 301. 302 or 303.

this daypass ticket we bought was $17 and gives you access for the whole day on buses, trains and ferries! I think its a good deal.

so off to the circular thingy. from there hop onto the ferry to Manly Island. There are the nicest shops, and cheaper curios and gifts, and lots of fantastic eating places. Food is expensive, you have to shop around a little, and forget about rands!!!

we went on another bus to Darling Harbour, to the Maritime museum, which was nice....

In general, in my opinion based on the little contact I had so far with people, the ozzies are very friendly, they are always ready to help, I asked a lot of questions and no-one refused to help me. there are a lot of Asians, and they are pretty unfriendly, they do not really want to help, maybe its the language barrier, I dont know, but we asked a lady for directions and she just shrugged us off, bent her head and walked faster!

Most people are curious when they hear our accent, and asks where we are from. Most know we are from SA! ha...ha...my accent gave me away!! :blink:

Sydney is big, I knew it was, but hell, its HUGE!! I dont think its a city where I will want to settle and live in, I am excited to see Canberra, I am looking for the quiet of a smaller town.

will keep you posted.

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Thanks for sharing your Sydney experience with us.

Sounds like you're having a wonderful time!

Hope you enjoy Canberra, let us know what you think of it.

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Ha don't pack away those woolies yet, its freezing here in Canberra!!!

Yes Manly is good, my aunt stays there so we visit often, and there are lots of good eateries. Have you tried the chocolate place at the ferry (manly side) I think its called Max something ...good hot chocolate!!!

If you have some spare time in canberra, would love to meet up, I think I have PM'ed you my contact details...

Have a great trip

Candice

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Thanx Candice - I will phone you when I get there!

When I browsed the Maritime museum, I saw something I never knew. Apparently, our Dutch ancestors came here even before they came to South Africa. A ship named Duyfken sailed to the West Coast of Cape York in 1606, this was the first recorded European visit to Australia.

They were attacked after landing by the indigenous people, and being short-supplied, backed-off.

I marvel sometimes and the turns fate takes in our lives. How easily it could have happened that we originated here instead of South Africa, if things worked out differently.

now us wanting to come here in any case, almost seems like destiny....

Edited by Toitjie
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now us wanting to come here in any case, almost seems like destiny....

Awesome isn't it!

Thanks for taking the time to update us Toitjie! I love hearing of others experiences!

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Welcome to Australia - glad you are enjoying your LSD !

As Candice says - hold onto those jumpers - you may need them in Canberra. I have never worn so many layers in my life !!

Look forward to your next post -

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Welcome to Sydney!

You can save a lot on public transport in Sydney by buying a weekly or fortnightly travel pass, depending on how long you plan to stay.

The Green pass is probably the best deal as it covers all the Sydney Transit buses and ferries. To go further on the trains you just pay the difference.

http://www.131500.com.au/faresandpasses/travelpass.asp

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We just got back from our excursions today. There is a nice big kitchen where everyone sits and talks, eats and watches television. we have seen some of the other tenants now for a day or two, but not really talked.

tonight, we got to know them a little better, the guy is from Canada, and when we said we are from SA, his exact words were "holy :thumbdown:". I have no idea what he meant, but it was very funny :thumbdown:

we went to Turonga zoo today, very big, and made a slight mistake of going while its school holidays. It was an absolute madhouse. very interesting animals, very beautiful scenery, but the Pretoria zoo does not have to stand back one inch (except there is no sea anywhere near)

we also went to Darling harbour, and heard some afrikaans, so of course we started talking to them. they were an older couple who just visited their children and grandchildren in Melbourne for 6 weeks. They were only talking in negatives, so I didnt really listen, my dad warmed up to the conversation.

They said both their daughter and son-in-law were directors in KPMG and being here, he could not find work for 1 year. This is the kind of thing that really throws me. I could see my dad was working on his next speech

fortunately, a friend of mine from Perth phoned my, coincidentally only a few hours later, and she put that conversation into perspective for me. There ARE a lot of saffers finding difficulty in finding work, but mostly because they are not willing to let go. He earned R 200 000 per month, so maybe he was looking for the same type of salary/level here? I dont know the details, but my friend says that if you are willing to do anything, and not necessarily something bad, just different to what you are used to, you will find work. some people, and I dont mean to generalise, are snobs.

anyway, that gave me a little hope. at the zoo, there were others who spoke DIE TAAL, and they are a whole family coming over. the mom, dad, adult children and their children! the whole kaboodle! bringing their Maxidor business over here or something....

I am still finding Sydney very intimidating, although I am getting a pro on the busroute, we just hop on and hop off at leisure.

the zoo was a bit of a rip-off price-wise = $ 41!!! geez thats expensive. they are really cashing in on tourists, everything is for sale. we wanted to go up the radio tower, thought that would be free, but alas no, its $ 49!!! so skipped that.

My feet hurts, I have not walked this much in years! I am getting used to the accent, I catch myself when I am thinking, that my thoughts are in English and with that accent, and although I have not had the guts to say "no worries mate" to someone, I think it a lot, it sounds nice.

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Hi Toitjie,

thanks for your journal and thoughts. Your hostel sounds great and it is so central. Maybe you should give us the price and details so we can pass on the info to others LSD trippers.

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Hi Toitjie,

thanks for your journal and thoughts. Your hostel sounds great and it is so central. Maybe you should give us the price and details so we can pass on the info to others LSD trip.pers.

Its sinclairs city hostel, 510 cleveland str surry hills. $55 per person per night for a single room. Tv and barfridge and table in room, very nice facilities. A continental breakfast is included in the price.

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Thanx for the update Y,

I too find Sydney a little intimidating :ilikeit: - its huge, its rushed etc - wait till you get to Canberra - its the exact opposite ! So maybe you are destined to live in the ACT !

How is your dad finding the place ? He seems to need convincing ?

Your friend in Perth is right - there are some people who just wont take the few steps back and the lower pay - after months of being unemployed they eventually get it !!

Look forward to hearing about your Canberra experience.

L

Edited by Lyn
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Sounds like you're really enjoying exploring Sydney.

Don't stress too much about the jobs. I think some Saffers have unrealistic expectations when it comes to salaries.

Keep us updated!

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Last day in Sydney was Thursday - visited the Jewish Museum. I wasnt to keen at first, but I was amazed at what is in there. Just to read what happened made me so sad, its really bad. of the million people who were killed, 1.5 million were children, and every time I see a photo of a child, thin and weak and hungry, I think of my babies and wonder how they would have been able to fend for themselves if this happened to us.

there is a part of the museum dedicated to these children, with a lot of pictures on a memorial wall, with a huge glassbowl filled with water, and from above, water drips in every now and then. there is apparently 1.5 million drops of water in there, one for each child.

I was glad to be leaving Sydney, however beautiful it is there, its so big, and I felt so strange there. I guess part of the problem is I have never before this been oversees, so this is a huge shock on my system.

The drive to Canberra was beautiful, lots of farms everywhere, which was a surprise. nearer to Sydney it looked like the Natal midlands, and nearer to Canberra it looked like farms near Standerton in Mpumalanga (only reference I could think of) but really beautiful.

When i went over the last hill and see the Telstra tower (I think) with the city beneath me, I felt quite teary, I get so angry with myself for being so emotional, damn!! ;)

Victor lodge is nice, so I booked in and then drove around a little. I soon realised that Canberra is huge, not what I expected!! I think its larger than Pretoria, even though is has only a third of PRetoria's population!

In between the hundreds and hundreds of suburbs, there are national parks everywhere, so the suburbs are distributed over a very large area, and its not flat either! I thought it would be flat like Pretoria, but its hill country, and the suburbs go over hills and through valleys all the way, it is quite spectacular.

I bought a map of Canberra, and with that and my garmin, today I set out to investigate every suburb (I think I have done 5% so far) :ilikeit:

I every suburb there are nice houses, beautiful houses and cr@ppy houses. they are mixed, so it not really a question of good or bad suburbs, just houses.

I have seen an equestrian farm, whihc excited me, and in a suburb I like, and I drove by a lot of primary schools, just to get the feel of them, and I liked some..I will try to make an appointment on Monday to see a few of them.

I have seen one person so far at a robot trying to wash people's windscreens :blush: , but no beggars, no-one wanting to w

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sorry, I am at in internet cafe and my time ran out...

anyway - no-one wanting to watch your car or asks for money or anything! I feel safer here, although I definitely still have a distrust in people, I found that when I am driving around, I sometimes get to remote areas on top of a hills, with no-one near, and when another car pulls up, I get in my car and drive away. I think that will take some time to go away.

This is only a LSD, but I have never felt so emotional. I cant really place my feelings, I dont feel excited, I feel distressed. I am trying to see if I will fit in here, and I am acutely aware of the fact that I am alone, no-one knows me, no-one really understands me, everything is different. I feel like crying all the time, its so silly!

I knew that this process was going to be hard, but I never realised the ACTUAL impact because I have never been here! I would really recommend that people come here first, but thats just my opinion.

I also know what our reasons are, but being here, its a different ballgame, suddenly I doubt everything I have said, doubts my reasons, oh boy, I dont know what is going to happen with our future, I just hope we make the right decision and survive it.

my one and only reason for doing this is my children. and now, being here, my biggest fear is that coming here will hurt them. I know this sounds silly, but I am worried about the schools, will they fit in, will they be understood??? will they be happy or miserable?

I think if I can sort out my emotional mess, this is definitely a city which I can live in and come to love. there are malls everywhere, and they are all busy!! there is a small shopping centre near where I live, and when I walked around it last night at around pm, there were hairsalons, each with about 7 hairdressers, and all busy with clients!

so it seems that people get out, live life, have enough money to enjoy themselves, for the most part

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my one and only reason for doing this is my children. and now, being here, my biggest fear is that coming here will hurt them. I know this sounds silly, but I am worried about the schools, will they fit in, will they be understood??? will they be happy or miserable?

Toitjie I can see you are really struggling with this and I know it is extremely difficult - especially as you now can see what it would really be like.

When we moved to the UK 2,5 yrs ago in January, we immediately had to find a school for my daughter who turned 5 in October as she already missed 3 months of school as schools start in September here. You can't imagine my distress at dressing her in her little grey uniform and taking her to school in freezing January weather a few days after we arrived from sunny South Africa. She could not understand her class mates or her teacher. Its not that she could not understand English - she did attend an English nursery in South Africa. It was that they spoke English differently. Everything was different and strange. But the moment she entered the class a little girl named Sophie took her hand and showed her around. Within a week she started reading. And she did not complain one day.

With me it was a different story - it took me a very long time to adapt and I'm still not totally happy (mostly in winter) which is why we are planning to go to Oz. But my daughter now wants to stay here as she loves her school and her friends and gets really upset whenever I mention us maybe moving to Australia. And last week as we said goodbye to her Year 2 teacher who retired, handed out the school yearbooks that I helped to publish and read my daughter's excellent report and SATS results I felt really happy to be here and scared that I won't find anything like this in Australia.

But my point is that it may be different but in every place in the world you can find happiness, and excellence and your children will adapt much easier than you do. But it won't be easy.

Good luck with everything - if all goes to plan maybe one day we can get together for a picnic in the park in Canberra watching our kids play and thinking how lucky we are. :ilikeit:

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Y, :ilikeit::ilikeit:

I would say you are finding it all very overwhelming ! Just too much to take in - in such a short time. Those emotions will race up and down every few days - but eventually they will slow down - and you start adapting. Give yourself a break - this cant be easy for you with the family back in SA !!!

IMHO your little ones are young - I moved countries when I was 7 and my home language is French - being so young they adapt very quickly. I find its the teens - and especially teen girls - who find it the hardest. Remember too that you are giving up everything you know and love to give your kids a better future. Im sure your little ones will thrive here and after a few years this will become home.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in the ACT - its a wonderful city to start living the Australian way !

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thanx lyn and sibella, your words of encouragement meant a lot to me. I feel better today though. I have seen a lot of the northern suburbs, and especially gunghahlin was a nice surprise. I have spent some time with candice and her family, thanx candice! :ilikeit: and peppered them with questions. I have taken almost 300 photos already and have a lot to take back home to discuss with hubby. I am now extremely glad for my thermal undies, today is freezing!

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thanx lyn and sibella, your words of encouragement meant a lot to me. I feel better today though. I have seen a lot of the northern suburbs, and especially gunghahlin was a nice surprise. I have spent some time with candice and her family, thanx candice! :blink: and peppered them with questions. I have taken almost 300 photos already and have a lot to take back home to discuss with hubby. I am now extremely glad for my thermal undies, today is freezing!

It was a pleasure! It was really great meeting you and taking you on a very quick tour of the North! We hope to see you guys again soon, ALL of you!

Candice

PS we got the bigger house in Harrison and have decided to go with that one. So excited!!

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Glad to hear you're feeling a little happier now - Im sure meeting up with Candice really helps to get things into perspective and you get a Canberrans take on the place.

Keep the thermals close by - dont think the temps are going to rise anytime soon. And would love to see some of your hundreds of pix.

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Hi Toitjie,

Sounds like quite an emotional LSD, and I can completely understand why. It's difficult to try and find a new home without really knowing the place. I once received a fridge magnet from a high school teacher as a graduation present (I was living in the US at the time and missing home something terrible). It read: Home is where the heart is. And it's right. Once hubby and the kids are there with you, and you're getting settled and doing school runs and shopping for affordable Lindt chocolate slabs ( :) ) things will become much less overwhelming, and before you know it, it'll begin to feel like home.

You will be emotional, and probably when you return to SA, I think it's all part of the process, so don't feel bad when you get a but teary. Hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Canberra! It sounds beautiful.

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well, I am back, at last, we flew back Wednesday last week, I needed a few days to get over my jetlag and spend some time with the kids. this morning *sigh*, back to work I am afraid.... :blink:

There are so many things about Canberra that I will simply not be able to put into words. It is a beautiful city.

My hubby teased me about my driving and said i will never be able to adapt in Oz with their following rules so explicitly. But I had a nice revelation. Its very easy. In South Africa, its stressfull to drive the way we do. I mean, I seldom keep to the speed limit, if it says 60, everone goes 80, so I do too. And no-one ever is willing to give you a gap, you have to take it! This morning i felt like road rage when no-one gave me a chance to get onto the highway!!!

In Canberra, absolutely everyone drives 80 when it says 80 and 60 when it says 60 and so on. So when I kept to those speed limits, firstly out of fear for a ticket, I realised that there is no stress when driving!! No-one comes from behind driving 160 with lights flashing and pushing me off the road, everyone is so tolerant. there were times where i drove less than the limit, looking for streets or whatever, and soon enough a few cars were behind me, but no-one ever hooted, shouted, showed some fingers or passed me in a fury, they all patiently waited for me to turn or speed up.

Its different there, you cant describe that peace until you have experienced it. These people have no idea what fear means. They are relaxed, easy going and trusting.

It still didnt make the language barrier any easier, its frustrating when they say "What?" and you have to repeat slowly what you said, but I guess one will get used to that.

Houses are VERY expensive, whihc is a pity, we will have to save before we go, otherwise we will never be able to afford a house, I think you have to put down a 5% deposit with the banks for a loan.

One thing that I saw a lot of times is their clothing habits. It seems that south africans, for the most part, follow the american fashion trends, and from the little I have experienced, I think South Africans dress better, but this is just my observation. I have seen A LOT of women wearing those tight cottong stretch pants that I will only wear to a gym with a long t-shirt. they wear it with heals and a belt and short shirt. Did not look good. I also saw a few females in sydney during the day with satin dresses, the type we will wear to a formal dinner, I assume they were on their way to work - dont know. and a lot of black pants or pantyhose, with white shoes. It seems that they dont really care for fashion all that much, but remember I was walking around, maybe the workplace dresscode differs. I would like to know.

I also saw some strange young people, with weird hairdo's and even stranger clothing, I guess thats the trend? I dont have teenagers - yet - so I am not really that knowledgeable about teenage behaviour. when in a mall, I found them very loud.

there were so many birdlife to see, it was strange to see flocks of cockatoos's!!

this trip has made me realise that if you can at all, do a LSD, its worth it. At least it will lessen the shock a little. I think if I never went and emmigrated, I would have been very unhappy, and it might have taken longer to adapt. I am wondering if those who came back, did a LSD first? would be interesting, because I have read about a few who emmigrated, came back, and after a year emmigrated again, this time with the right focus.

there are some who say this is not so difficult, but I beg to differ. I knew from the start that it would be difficult, but I never imagined the stress and shock and degree of difficult this involves. and we are all different, I am one of those who does not adapt easily. For me this was very necessary.

Our plans have also changed a little, we have decided to validate when our visas are approved, but then come back and try to save as much as possible for a few months, for a deposit on a house. This will also give us more time so sell our house, its been on the market for a year now, with very little interest.

Are there any aviation experts around? I am curious - when we flew to Sydney, it took 11 hours, and on the monitor in front of every seat, you can follow the flight plan, on a map of the world with a little aeroplane. The flight path made a slight downwards curve, which might be attributed to the curve of the planet.

but when we flew back, it was 14 hours, and the flight path turned downwards sharply, we flew over ANTARCTICA!!!, and then upwards again. It was absolutely magnificently beautiful, I have never seen the south pole, and the icebergs were huge, but why did we fly over the south pole? No-one could answer me, one flight attendant said he thinks it has something to do with the winds, but surely to fly 5000 km's south of the normal route is too far????

anway, thats only for curiosity...

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Hi Y,

Glad to hear you got back home in one piece.

Yes, Canberra is a lovely small place to start out in Australia. We are very happy here and count our blessings everyday. Pleased you found it great, relaxed, laid back and stress free. What more can one ask for ?

Dont stress too much about house prices, yes they are high, and I sometimes feel Canberra because of its major housing shortage is very very expensive, but you will get there.

Life here is different, I understand what you say about the fashions :blink: sometimes I have to pick my jaw off the sidewalk ! But then there are some super feminine styles too. Unfortunately the hairstyle that you mention the kids have, well after 8 months mine look the same. I save on haircuts !!

Take care,

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Welcome back - please let us see some photos? Also which suburbs did you like, and did you look at any schools?

Was it very cold in Canberra?

Sorry for all the questions, but I'm sure you understand...

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I tried to see all the suburbs, but there were too many. Overall, I like the south better because there are more trees, and the houses generally look better. I know people says that everything is the same, nice and bad houses in all areas, but there are one or 2 areas that I did not like at all. they were in the north. but towards the far north, gunghahlin is very new and very nice, also more expensive

so - my favourites - Chapman, Duffy, Calwell. I have driven to the primary schools, they look very nice, I could not get an appointment before we left, but thats ok, if the time is nearer, I will phone and talk to the principal there.

It was cold in Canberra, a maximum of 12 I think, but more or less the same as Pretoria. Never used my thick jackets :blink:

I will post some pics later, just need to sort through them, later today?

Oh, one thing that was the most obvious from Canberra vs Pretoria - the air. Its so clean, it ACTUALLY REALLY smells sweet and fresh and clean!! I didnt realise just how filthy our air is until I smelled that air

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