Saturday, July 31, 2010

The old man

A couple of days ago, I was walking to the bus stop located in Macquarie Centre to catch my route to work just to find out that my bus had departure aThe old man, watching people passing by. little bit earlier than I expected… So looked back to find a spot in the bench close to me and there was an old man with a yellow rain coat waiting as well for the bus. He seemed to be contemplating the weather (sunny but a little bit cold), people passing by and every now and then, a bird or two searching for food.

I started walking towards the bench when I noticed him smiling at me… At that moment I just thought that Australians (in general) are so friendly that feels nice; confirmed just 10 seconds later when the old man turned to face me with an inquisitive look.



‘Hi… Where are you from?’ he asked.

‘Me? I am from Venezuela.’

‘Venezuela? Where is it?’

‘South America… ’

‘Uhms… I thought that South America was Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and some other countries with dictators…’

‘Well... Sir… You are right in one bit… Venezuela is one of those countries that with a dictator as “president”… but I really don’t want to talk about it; came to Australia to have a nice and easy life…’

(At the time didn’t know if I was rude… but the old man stood there quite for two minutes)

‘… yeah, this country is really good for that... I don’t know why so many youngsters want to move to the US… They don’t appreciate that much the beauty of an easy life. Onya

(Taking a look at the people passing by)

‘When I was young, I tended to ride a motorbike driving to the beaches… Loved it and it was beautiful. The water was crystal clear… In fact you could see without too much hassle fishes swimming in the water at the very Bondi beach.

… Of course those were war times… No one really wanted to go to war, but you needed to defend the country and the people you love!’

(Taking a good look at me)

‘You seem to be a fine young man... you haven’t been in any war, haven’t you?’

‘No Sir... I am a computer scientists’

‘A scientist??? Like those that send rockets to the moon?’

‘No Sir. Different type of scientist... I work with computers, writing software’

‘Uh! Software... Everything uses software now… My mobile has software… My computer has software… Even my fridge! Tells me when I had the lid open or how cold I want my stubby...

And what do you do?’

‘I work at Cochlear... The company that makes the hearing implants... We help deaf people.’


‘Well... the organ that allows you to hear is called cochlea... We created something like... a bionic cochlea that once implanted in the ear reproduces the sounds...’

‘Like a bionic ear? Oh dear... HA HA HA… I bet you must be really smart!’

‘Well... I am not the only one that works there... there is plenty of smart people working to develop the implants!

… Oh... my bus is there!’

In one quick jump, I was standing in front of the bus stop to catch it when I heard the old man...

‘I don’t know if I am a lousy bloke... I don’t have anything to do... do you mind if I take the same bus as you?’

‘Not at all... Are you going to the city or something?’

‘Nope... Just enjoyed to talk to you... not many people take 5 minutes to chat with their elders... And I would like to know a bit more about those computer-cyber-ears...’

And just like that I went to work.

I must admit that I was really interesting... the old man used lots of Aussie slangs (most of them already forgotten by me) but told me bits and pieces of the neighbourhood, surrounding areas and some Lane Cove history.

Man waiting

In conclusion, I had a really nice chat which made my trip short and pleasant.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Oz’s winter

The last few days have been ‘rush-on – adrenaline tops’ with the Fifa World Cup... HAHAHA, not really... The 2010 world cup has been a great let down for me because:

1. Every single game has been played from 12 AM to 5 AM Sydney time. So... I am not going to break my sleeping schedule just to watch a bunch of games... Yeah, maybe I am a really bad fan.
2. Italy and Australia were out the entire contest... No inspiration to watch any of the other games.
3. The entire tournament has been a little bit too weird... Some people has told me that adds some emotion to the tournament... but for me, players aren’t playing at their fullest.


Given that I don’t want to talk about soccer in the next four years (with the exception of the next world cup qualification round) I would like to talk about something else... like the winter.

A decade-ish ago (way before I started thinking about moving) I was parting at a mate’s house when I overheard someone saying ‘yeah mate... it is June and freaking freezing in Australia!!! How odd is that?’
Must be honest, I didn’t know that the southern hemisphere has the opposite weather conditions than the northern hemisphere... The June I knew at that time has an extremely hot, sometimes rainy season; and I couldn’t understand that Australia was ‘freaking freezing’. Checked over the internet... Yes, I googled it for my amusement.

Last year, Kathy and I had just a taste of the winter... or being more precise, we just tasted fall and we couldn’t imagine how chill the Australian winter could be.

What do I have to say about it?
My mind defaulted to the Canadian winter... tons of ice and mud... and ice; which is not comparable at all with Australia... but I really hoped to be colder than I have experienced so far.

The winter has been a couple of showers every now and then, persistent cold at nights and warmer days... till last June 30 and July 1 when the nightly weather was really cold, getting as chill as 0 degrees in some areas around my home...


I had the chance to watch ice on the grass and cars on my way to work. Nothing that a good blanket, quilt and PJs cannot fix.

What Kathy could say?
Should note at this point, she suffers on cold weathers… (or hates it… but ssssh… don’t tell her I told you =S )

Haven’t been as horrible as she expected... And I based that comment on ‘we have not needed to turn on the heater at least one and she has been comfortable with her Pjs and blanket’ observation... maybe I should really ask her and publish that comment here :P

The abstract of this post is:
Australia is as lovely as always, even on winter :D