Apologizing for the long delay between posts, here we are in Tasmania at our first ever work exchange. So far it’s been very enriching, enjoyable and delicious. Briefly put, our hosts Anne and Bill are perhaps the most generous people anywhere on the entire Workaway.org program and that says a lot since there’s over 30,000 different hosts worldwide. But more on that later. Time flies by and the hours slip away so I’m sneaking in a quick post on our first week in Australia and I’ll post much more about the work exchange after we get back to Penang. Lucky enough to have an old friend of Diane’s living in the southeastern Melbourne suburbs, we landed at Melbourne for a week of exploring the big city before heading to Tasmania. Not the best Air Asia experience, for some reason they use the oldest and crappiest looking planes in the fleet to fly the longest haul routes. Cramped seats and an annoying staff that seemed irritated made the seven hour flight overnight flight acceptable but nothing like a transcontinental flight on Cathay Pacific where everyone sleeps and the crew doesn’t make announcements every hour telling you how much longer the flight will last. But since the other options like Quanta or Singapore Air fall outside our budget, we settled in and slept as much as possible before arriving in the strange and fascinating continent known as Australia.
The first ting we noticed about Australia jumped right out at us upon arriving at the amazingly modern but very busy airport in Melbourne. Australians are friendly. Very very friendly. And polite. Thrown by this strange attitude that conflicts drastically with much of the large British expat population in Penang, I’d say they’re so friendly they make Canadians look rude. And that’s saying a lot. Going out of their way to help you, everyone volunteers to help in any way they can, they strike up conversations on the long line to get out of the airport and the only way to annoy an Aussie is doing something rude like jumping the queue which elicits a firm but non threatening reminder that this isn’t America and everyone should obey the rules. Politely of course. Oh yes, don’t even attempt to bring anything that even resembles food into Australia from a simple bag of chips to fresh fruit and that includes packaged and processed goods from your home country unless you enjoy heading to a separate line where they train food sniffing dogs to catch violators. Do what we did and bring your friends a Malaysian cookbook or some other local souvenir.