This has been the longest break in the last two years without posting in this blog: one month. Life has been busy, looking for a place to live, childcare, a car, and a few other things necessary to settle in.
People were extraordinarily nice on arrival; wishing us well on immigration and customs officers helping us to carry our over hundred kilograms of luggage. The good thing is that they only took our bags through the X-ray machine, without the need for opening any bag. Considering the amount of luggage, it saved us a lot of pain.
Orlando behaved really well during the trip, falling asleep just before landing, and going through customs without waking up. He is happy now at childcare.
We are still staying at a temporary university house (only until next week I hope). The condition of the house is… dodgy but survivable. The university facilities manager will certainly receive a letter describing things that need to be fixed or change.
Christchurch’s climate seems to be similar—at least during summer—to Hobart’s. Some days hot and sunny (but under 30C), some days cold and cloudy (around 15C), some days overcast but not that cold (around 19C).
We received the first part of our unaccompanied luggage on the 9th of January. We sent around 100kg of luggage using the services of Jetta Express. They promised to have the luggage in 7 business days and it took them 8. However, they screwed up and lost all my paperwork so I neded to contact them a couple of times to arrange payment and delivery. Score from 1 to 10: 6.
We are also sending a container full of household items using Allied-Pickfords. They were supposed to have organised the packing, transportation, customs, quarantine and delivery of the container. We should get our container by next week, but I can say that service is pretty average. Packing took forever and was quite undiscriminate, processing of the paperwork in New Zealand has been extremely slow and it would have taken even longer if I have not been calling all the time. The customs processed is already approved and now customs wants to have a look at the vaccuum cleaner, bicycles, hiking boots (which were fumigated before packing) and other items. Next week I will put a final score on the service.
This is in lieu of a proper post. We are spending the last four days in Australia before moving to New Zealand. The house is full of boxes and there are only the last minute jobs:
I think that the next post will most likely be published on early January 2006 from Christchurch, New Zealand.
A few quickies before the weekend:
I am an old man and have a great many troubles, but most of them never happened—Mark Twain.
Last week I had my fourth trip to New Zealand in less than a year. Apart from almost being fined NZD200 for forgetting to declare a pair of boots in my luggage (I got away with a warning about the dangers of soil attached to boots) and missing my domestic connection the trip was OK. Air New Zealand is upgrading its planes in the Melbourne-Auckland route, and this time I flew in a Boeing 777-200 with an ‘on-demand’ entertainment system. It is nice to be able to pause the movie (any of the 40 ones available) if one wants to go to the loo.
Every time one goes to meetings PowerPoint makes its appearance, and one gets endless bullet points, people reading slides (the teleprompter approach), chart junk and obvious recycling of old presentations. It really annoys me when someone is going over dozens of slides skipping the ones that are not useful for the current presentation.
I do enjoy presenting and most of the time spent quite a bit of time thinking and preparing:
A good resource for presentations—not necessarily PowerPoint— is Presentation Zen.
In a previous post I complained about Taronga Zoo. I thought that the ticket (AUD30) was quite expensive—as anything that you could buy inside the zoo—and that the place was not that great. After arriving back in Hobart we went to Zoodoo, a wildlife park located in a farm near Richmond.
The contrast could not be bigger: the ticket was AUD12, the variety of animals much smaller but it was so much more fun. The place could be defined as a ‘red neck zoo’; there is no attempt at mimicking natural conditions for most species but its main intention is to make easy the interaction between people and zoo animals and Orlando loved it.
If you have children they will really enjoy a visit to Zoodoo. There is no serious attempt at animal conservation (compared to a normal zoo) but it certainly reinforces the love for animals.