I thought spending 22 hours sitting on the Heathrow/Singapore/Sydney flight might be overwhelmingly boring, but it turned out OK. I didn’t get to ride an A380 – they were temporarily pulled just before my ticket was booked – but the replacement A747-400 was surprisingly comfy. Using SeatGuru helped (I booked seat 72A, and the other seat in the pair was empty until Singapore), as did Qantas’s in-flight entertainment (30+ films and dozens of hours of TV series, documentaries etc… all fully on-demand).
Passport control & customs at Sydney airport were among the most efficient I have ever been through. I thought I might be in for a long wait and intense questioning, given my long-stay visa and such ill-boding items in my suitcase as shoes (mud is a genuine contamination risk to the Australian ecosystem), a laptop and a few hard drives. In fact, my bags were scanned in minutes and I was out of the airport within half an hour of landing. I’ve waited longer than at passport control in Southampton airport.
Thanks to the Atlassian folks, a taxi and a welcome basket were waiting for me on arrival. The basket includes a city guidebook, a Jira t-shirt (because they know I have issues – the interview process was thorough) and vouchers for the Sydney Bridge Climb, which is going to be mind blowing. I’m hesitating between the Discovery Climb and the Bridge Climb. I have 2 tickets, so give me a shout if you want to come.
As well as the taxi and welcome basket, Atlassian provide 4 weeks of accommodation, so I’ll be looking to move into my own place just before xmas. It seems there’s no shortage of flatshares out there, so I’m confident I’ll find somewhere awesome within plenty of time. For the time being though, I’m in a superb apartment on the 55th floor of a sky scraper in the middle of the City. It’s lavish, to say the least. The only problem is, I feel like I’m not making the most of the master bedroom’s mirrored ceiling.
Surprisingly, jet lag hasn’t been a major problem despite the +11h time difference: I just get a bit tired in the early afternoon (middle of the night UK time). I didn’t eat for about 24h after landing, which might have helped.
First Days in Sydney
I’ve had 3 days in Sydney now, which has just about given me time to:
- Go on a few good walks within the City, thereby confirming that a change of hemisphere hasn’t improved my sense of direction.
- Locate the office.
- Have a night-time wander around Cockle Bay.
- Visit the superbly efficient Immigration Office to get a visa label in my passport. The friendly staff somehow churned through a queue of 30 people in about 15 minutes.
- Ride the Monorail, which covers quite a small area, and appears to be more of a tourist attraction than a genuinely useful form of transport… but it’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since Marge vs the Monorail (I just about managed to refrain from singing the monorail song as I whizzed around).
- Get myself a bank account.
- Buy a mobile phone.
- Realise that books are expensive in Australia and Amazon don’t have a presence here.
- Take a bus to Bondi beach and paddle in the ocean on a sunny morning.
- Get rained on on a rainy afternoon.
- Start house hunting (took a train to Redfern, visited a convenient apartment with friendly flatmates).
- Get lost in Woolworths.
- Cook a couple of meals.
- Try out the hotel’s gym.
- Sit on the apartment balcony, taking in the view.
My impression so far is that Sydney easily lives up to its reputation: it is a disarmingly beautiful city, which combines a laid back atmosphere with a sense of bustling efficiency.
I’m very excited about starting work tomorrow. I’ll be on the Jira Studio development team. Jira Studio integrates many of Atlassian’s products (Jira for issue tracking, Confluence for wiki documentation, Bamboo for CI, Crucible for code reviews, Fisheye for repository inspection…), as well as various Google apps, into a SaaS offering. The resulting product is a hosted, end-to-end solution for software development and project management.
So the city I’m living in, the company I’m working with and project I’m working on are all vastly different from anything I’ve experienced before. I predict that for a while, I’ll be on a learning curve no matter which direction I face. I can’t wait to start climbing.