My Trip To India And Australia: Part 11 – Welcome To Australia
So, after 16 hours on two different aircraft (a Boeing 777 and a Airbus A380) I am in Melbourne Australia. Now I have to admit that I was dead tired when I stepped off the plane. However two things made up for it. First was Australia customs who had an automated system. Though I did fill out paperwork on the plane (one a customs and immigration declaration and another one relating to Ebola), here’s all I had to do to clear customs at the Melbourne International Airport:
Because I am on a list of pre-approved countries, I walked up to one of these self serve machines, inserted the photo page of my passport and answered a few questions. It then printed out a card with a magnetic strip and my name on it.
I then walked up to these machines making sure to stand on the foot prints, inserted the card with the magnetic stripe, looked at the camera in front of me and waited for the gates to open. After that I picked up my bags, handed over all my paperwork and I had cleared customs. If India’s visa and customs process was needlessly byzantine, Australia’s is the exact opposite. Kudos to them for making life easier for travelers.
Now from there, I went and got a SIM card from Optus because as I’ve said many times before, if you pay for roaming with a “big three” Canadian carrier, you’re paying way too much money. In my case, I am going to be here for five days so I got this deal:
- Local phone number with voice mail
- Unlimited text messages
- Unlimited calling
- 500 MB of data a day
- 4G coverage
Total price is $2 Australian a day which is slightly less than $2 Canadian a day. Since I’m here for 5 days, that’s $10. You’re never going to get anything close to that level of pricing with a “big three” Canadian carrier. That is why you should always travel with an unlocked phone. It will save you money and lots of it.
Now I took a cab to my hotel which is 45 minutes away from the airport and I managed to get this picture of the Melbourne Central Business District:
Accommodations are being provided by the company I am working for this week at the Novotel Glen Waverly which is south and west of Melbourne. I have only been here for a few hours and already I am not impressed by something. The Internet access. It is expensive and slow. So I am using the data plan from my iPhone to get around that even though I did buy $20 AUD of Internet access from the hotel which gives me 300MB or 3 hours whichever comes first as a backup. Needless to say, that’s a rip off. I’ll have more to say about that and a few other things about this hotel in my next report.
Seeing as Monday is a holiday in Australia, I will be exploring the city which is something that I didn’t have a chance to do in New Delhi. Some people from the company that I am working for this week are going to take me out on Sunday to explore the city for starters. But starting on Tuesday I will have two solid days of work before I leave for Canada on Thursday morning. Expect a write up about that as soon as I get over the jet lag.