My First Week in Australia: in Three Cities
On Saturday 06, August 2011; we left Phnom Penh at 5pm to Kular Lumpur. From KL, we took the flight to Sydney. We left KL at 10:20pm local time and arrived in Sydney in the morning, at 7:30 am, on 07.08.11. We were picked up by the organizer of Chisholm institute. From there, we took the connection flight to Canberra. It is sad, that we could see Sydney only from the airport and from the plane window. There is no program for our group here. After two hours in transit and changing the plane, we went to Canberra.
Arrival at Canberra around noon time, we checked-in in Novotel, a nice hotel not far from the city center. I shared a room with a younger participant from CENTDOR. He used to be a staff of CEDAC. We had a briefing meeting after putting our belongings into the room. The necessary information for our stay, the program of the short course and some hints on
getting around in Canberra were shared. All in all we are twenty. The next day, in the morning; we had welcome remarks, introductory meetings, short presentations of trainers/facilitator and participants and our expectation. We went to visit the National Water Commission Office and the Office of the Murray Darling River Basin Authority. In the evening, we took the flight and arrived in Melbourne around 10:30pm. During the first week we spent time to listen to many presentations by Australian Water Management Agencies and visited the concerned offices. We had little time left for city exploration. However, I have some observation as the following:
- Australia is one of the driest continents on earth. There is water scarcity in the east and the south and plenty of water availability in the north or the west
- The country has about 22 million inhabitants consisting of many nationalities from all over the world. It is a multi-racial country
- The price of goods is very high, probably among the highest in the world. One 350 ml beer costs in a German restaurant 3 Euro (4.2 U$). Here it costs 6.90 A$ (about 7 U$). An electric adaptor costs in
Phnom Penh around 50 cents U$. It costs here about 6 U$.
- Birds, trees, fauna and flora are really unique species of the continent. Mostly, I have never seen them before
- Since it is a large country, climate and weather conditions vary dramatically from one place to another
- Working hours start at 9:00am till 5:00pm with 30 minutes lunch break or from 8:00am to 4:00pm
- July and August are the cold months. Temperature varied from 4 to 15 degree Celsius with rain is common
- Australians like to live in flat houses with garden due to availability of land. However, high-rise building could be seen in large cities such as Sydney and Melbourne
Still four weeks to go and other places to visit, I hope that it will be my joyful trip and I will gain new, interesting and memorable experiences/knowledge for my life. it is my first trip to this country. Everything is new for me.