Thursday, July 05, 2007

Look Ma! No Hands!

Going to Australia was my answer to the aged-old question: "When was the last time you did something for the first time?" Not only was it my first time to visit the country, but it was also my first time to wear a full-fledged coat in June-July -- ever! It was a bit disconcerting thinking about it initially, I was almost dubious, until the biting cold hit my ears when we braved the Blue Mountains in New South Wales and when I intuitively parted with twenty bucks to purchase a beanie in the nearest tourist trap of a store.

I had this juvenile notion as a little girl that with Australia being down south, everyone was holding onto rails trying hard not to fall off the earth. "Look Ma! No hands!" Though, thankfully, that little theory of mine has been disregarded just a few minutes after its conception -- by hysterics coming from blood-related people. I still do find it amusing, however, being in a country where it gets colder as you head south and hotter heading the opposite direction. And where the water swirls down the drain in a counter clockwise motion instead (I lie, I didn't really notice, but is it only an old wives' tale?).

I did enjoy -- yes -- very much so. Getting to know new cities is likened to a blind date. I wasn't sure if I were going to like it or not. And neither was I sure if it will envelope my attempts to assimilate. I was a bit apprehensive with mixed stories about Sydney and Melbourne from cynical and forever-roseate associates who frequent the place. I decided that I had to, for once and for all, form my own opinion of the place and contribute to raves and rants. And I'm glad I did.

It was several days of getting filled up with good lager and wine, extremely scrumptious food (both from land and water, of course), and lots and lots of walking and getting lost -- which is perhaps, I daresay, the best part of any travel adventure. Sydney is just as sassy and cosmopolitan as ingrained in my imagination and Melbourne, I reckon, is her funky and hip sister with a carefree attitude.

If there is one thing that I envy about Australians, it would be their perseverance to maintain a healthy balance in life. I have long forgotten how it is to leave work at five in the afternoon and come in at nine in the morning with a steaming cup of tea and muffin on each hand -- and a smile pasted on my face. These days, everything is so rushed and everyone succumbs to it. Especially in Asia, there seems to be this unspoken race to the top where profits are seemingly generated from long hours of service and labor. I didn't enjoy having my window shopping spree getting interrupted whilst the sun is still up in Australia but I do understand and respect the reason why it has to be done. I don't blame the people for wanting to get out of work -- do you?

I have completely lost the concept of a forty-hour week. That's practically saying you have a part-time job. Seeing Australians enjoy their life and not allowing work to ruin it is quite admirable. I can't help but think: is it too late for the rest of the world to revert back to that kind of life? Or, should I say, can the rest of the world afford to do it? After all, old habits die hard, no?

Though I immensely wish to go for another holiday, I am quite happy to be back. One can only live in a suitcase for so long. And one can only be away from blogging for so long...

The bantering is back :) I have missed you all!

Can anyone guess where this picture was taken? (clue: it's in Sydney)

24 Comments:

Blogger Andrew said...

Queen Victoria building?

Glad you had nice time. Just an issue with one point, while I am in a heavily unionised industry and my hours of work are controlled, there are many people who work very long hours in Australia, often unpaid overtime to 'get the job done'. But yes, shops have very set times. Shop staff are among the worst paid jobs.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

I've only been to the North and was rather shocked by the racism and sexism I encountered there. But there are so many Australians in London that one could easily imagine being in Sydney!!

Puss

6:49 PM  
Blogger thisisme said...

Welcome back - we have missed you :) Melbourne, I reckon, is her funky and hip sister with a carefree attitude - that's my town! I'm with Andrew - lots of people doing overtime - I worked from 7.30 - 7.25 today and ate lunch at my desk today - but I'm lucky - I love my job. Lots of other people are working crappy hours for crappy pay.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Aditi said...

hmm sounds like u had a fun trip... 40 hour work weeks do sound heavenly..

7:53 PM  
Blogger Sunshine said...

I don't know, but it's cool!

10:04 PM  
Blogger enigma said...

Missed you too... :)
So nice trip huh...
Getting to know new cities is likened to a blind date- that's so true.. you dont know what you are up to and there is this tingling expectation deep down... glad you enjoyed your trip.. :)

12:23 AM  
Blogger Confessions of a Born Procrastinator said...

he he...

hope you didnt have too hard a time holding on to those rails... I hear they get real slippery this time of the year.

12:30 AM  
Blogger samrina said...

Hi Princess,

Glad to know that you enjoyed and had a great trip :)

Take care

2:35 AM  
Blogger Cuckoo said...

Heyyy I was in Australia & let me tell you it is not always 40 hours a week. I used to work for 12 hours a day !!

Glad that you enjoyed Australia. It is a great country & if I ever have to settle abroad, Sydney is my first choice... above all other countries I've been to.

IS that Queen Victoria bldg where a chariot in jade steals the show?

2:50 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

I work 40 hours. I get the job done. If I worked somewhere that paid me enough to work more than 40 hours I might. But I don't.

3:42 AM  
Blogger Anu said...

hey princess we have missed ur blogs too!!!

welcome back home! I havent actually visited australia but u have painted a pretty good pictureabout your vacation there which makes look forward for a visit...

12:41 PM  
Blogger Ab said...

hmmmm.... now 40 hr weeks are starting to feel boring... everyone on earth is working all the time, and saturday evening just make me weary :D
anyways i had a job in which if i worked 6 days for 11 hrs, and still said you can NOT come on sunday, you were considered as not dedicated... so Id rather be here and this way.... atleast i get to read the newspaper in full...

6:54 PM  
Blogger Jennifer McK said...

We're glad you're back!!!! Sounds like you had a wonderful time.
I think Americans have a unique view of work.
We work and work and work. I'm thrilled you got to experience something different.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Molly said...

When we lived in Europe we found that the Americans and Brits were the ones putting in the longest hours. Germans, Italians, French, Spaniards all got the job done but had a better balance between their work and personnal lives. Most of them just take their month off in the summer for granted. Here, you'd think you'd died and gone to heaven to have such a lot of vacation time----at least while you're still young enough to enjoy it!
Welcome back to the Land of Blog.

11:15 PM  
Blogger X. Dell said...

I've had so many friends from Oz, all of whom tell me that I should visit there someday. Good on you that you were able to make the trip, even though it was in the dead of winter.

Have fun, stay warm and try not to fall off as the Earth spins on its axis..

11:15 AM  
Blogger Astraeus said...

glad to know u had a fantastic time....

put in some more pics of aussie if u can
:)

11:41 AM  
Blogger mathew said...

oops..i donno..!!
Australia..never been there.but ur description makes it quite a temptin place.!!

3:54 PM  
Blogger caramaena said...

Glad you had a nice trip :)

I'm not in Sydney so no idea where that is. Some shopping mall I'd imagine? Pitt St Mall??

btw, not everyone works 40 hours a week - my work week is actually 38. I do work in a call centre though...

4:28 PM  
Blogger ThanKwee-Anajo said...

The French work 35 hours/week.

As to how many hours one should work per week I suppose that that is up to the individual. Although, there are of people who have to work long hours because of financial reasons.

Glad you're back PrincessB.

And where the water swirls down the drain in a counter clockwise motion instead

Yes, the Coriolis effect and how it affects drains is an urban legend. Water in a drain does not cover enough north/south distance to be affected, unlike large air masses which are affected by the Coriolis effect.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Parisian Cowboy said...

Lovely picture !

2:21 AM  
Blogger Bendtherulz said...

Appears to be a case of "Grass greener " on the other side...lol...
What I liked is your way of seeing things...you enjoyed and it shows in your post....
tk care Princess !!

PS - loved your candy conversation....so last comment wiped your smile....perhaps?? lol

10:52 PM  
Blogger fifi said...

Yes, I recognised the Queen Victoria Building.

Here was me imagining, for some insane reason, that you'd gone to Broome or Cairns for a bit of lovely weather...and you were here? Coldest winter in 20 years?

gah! If i'd known I would have insisted on at least buying you lunch on the harbour!

Nobody has mentioned this 9-5 trend to my husband. he runs a company and works from 6 till 8 or longer.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Lefty said...

Good lager and wine? That cinches it; I'm gonna go.

3:20 AM  
Blogger Lucid Darkness said...

Oh your trip sounded nice!

I'm so glad you enjoyed yourself!

And I hope to go on a world tour too (someday) :]

12:25 PM  

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