It’s Saturday afternoon, around 5pm. Mandy is having a nap after yet another busy day of running around. I am sitting on our new brown leather couch with one of those built on foot rest thingies. Clearly I am not sure what it is called, but it is a couch seat with a fair bit of leg space. (M's note: chaise) I am enjoying a Carlton Cold Filtered lager. Yummy and refreshing after another stunning day down under. We did a bit of shopping this morning, and bought a gas Weber barbecue called a Q200 with a trolley, so I guess its pretty obvious what we’re gonna be doing when her loveliness awakes from some beauty sleep. A bit of jack Johnson playing in the backround.
Geez, what a busy time we have had. While Mands has been sorting furniture, receiving some boxes that were sent over unaccompanied, and generally organizing our lives, I have spent the past 2 weeks working. Things are definitely done differently, and although I cannot for the life of me understand why some people must do things the hard way when there is clearly an easier and more efficient way. But, I did decide to move under the radar for a bit... This can be very frustrating, as the South Africans seem to have a reputation for taking over when others cannot see the light. Be warned, these boys and girls are not so keen on a take charge kind of person. Well, not until they have some confidence in your ability, and even then they still doubt.
Central Station: The escalators are unbelievably long 'cos there are 3 levels of trains - this goes down from the ground to the 3rd level below ground.
Oh, and because the society tries to work on an equal basis, they do not like to rev someone for not pulling their weight. They tend to try and coax and persuade the person to speed things up, or give a bit more effort, and if that doesn’t work, then they do the job themselves. They seem to be a non confrontational type of society (M's note: nothing like a broad sweeping statement to get the locals worked up! LOL!), but, are very direct in their talking mannerisms, hence their so called brazen/arrogant impression. It sound s a bit confusing, know that I have re-read this piece, so lets put it this way. The class bully will always pick on the new guy, until the new guy confronts them, and then they back down. Too much yabbering!
I thought that I would get bored doing this work, as it is pretty simple, and very repetitive. As I have said before, a person has a job to do and that's what they are required to do, nothing more, nothing less. I am used to mixing it up, and having loads of fun doing it. But here, I do what I must as there are other people employed to do the other stuff I used to do. So far I am having a blast! I was paired up with an existing team to observe how they do things before I go off with my own crew. And what a great couple of Aussie blokes! Kieren is the senior - he's about 45 and an electrician by trade. He has been with the company for about 3 years. The company only started doing installations about 3 years ago, even though it's 20yrs old and is the largest privately owned AV company in Oz.
Only electricians may terminate plug points. Something that most of us would do ourselves. On installations, I did all the terminations of points. We are also not allowed to extend a power lead. For example, if a lead for your bedside lamp was too short, you would not be allowed to cut off the plug and extend it!! The electrician would move the wall plug closer. Huh, go figure!!!! This is how we have to work and does not necessarily apply to the home. (M's note: if your house burns down & it is found that a plug point changed by you was the reason, they will not pay out - all domestic plugs need to be changed by an electrician - it's insane!)
Next is Jay, actually, I think his name is John, but everyone calls him “J”. His parents are Mauritian, but he is a born Australian. He looks like a typical islander, is a very good looking young 25 year old and is a personal trainer in his spare time (so well built as well). But very shy. Ha! Ha!
Both are superb blokes and made the past week and a bit loads of fun. Oh, and they are both very good singers, and generally very jovial. “J’” is the "black oke", and the two of them constantly joke about this. It was a bit unusual at first, naturally.
I Started working with them last Thursday, and had to get up at between 5am and 5.30am to catch a train to the nearest station where they would pick me up. From Thursday to Tuesday we worked in Cremorne - a relatively modest suburb near St Leonards. The school is private and well-to-do. The little "snots" (M's note: this is what the techies call the school kids!) have bugger all respect for elders, let alone guests. While carrying pipes and other equipment we had to avoid them, which was really annoying. I nearly knocked one snot's head off - accidentally - as he insisted on stepping in front of me. And you can't say or do anything to them, cos you will get sued.
The boys were late fetching me every day due to traffic, as they were driving through from Parramatta, which is effectively 25km’s away, and about 1.5 to 2 hours' drive. I also think that they left a bit late... All of the people that I have had dealings with have a “no worry, no hurry" attitude, which can get annoying if you have to wait for an hour to be picked up. Once again, I had prepared for this, and sat & read or had a cuppa or 2 of Java. However the uncertainty was not so cool, and not having cell phone did not help. So on Monday morning I bought a sim card and this relieved all the anxiety, as I could contact them, and have an idea of how late they would be. On Monday afternoon however, HO called to let me know that my company cell was ready for collection. Hrmmmm, now I have 2 phones. I decided to keep one for personal and the other for work (under the radar thing - nobody can point fingers at me about private calls).
After Cremorne, we moved to the south, an area called Rockdale. Very old & under the Jumbo flight path. The area looks like an improved version of Obs/Salt River. There are a lot of Turban heads (I used this as they were wearing turbans on there heads, and I am not sure of their nationality - probably Pakistani or something along those lines) and Asians here. The school is a government type and closely resembles the normal schools in South Africa - just without the you-know-who’s.
The above are of Rockdale Station
The kids need a haircut - all of them. And a bit of discipline won’t do any harm.
Being a bit of a drum basher in my time, I took a look at the setup in their music rooms - quite impressive, loads of guitars, a drum set, and a few other odds and sods. This must be a technical school as their woodwork and metalwork rooms were very enticing to this “drill Shit” kinda guy!
The above of of Rockdale shopping/business village
We spent Wednesday and Thursday doing Smartboard and projector installations. What I have really enjoyed thus far with these two (Kieren & J), is their no buggering around attitude, get in and get the job done & go home. We averaged 2 installations a day and finished work around 3pm. Start early and end early. Also, we are supposed to take an hour's lunch break, but the time when to take it is not determined, so in effect we took lunch at 3. On Thursday this time suited me down to the ground, as I needed to catch a train back to Wahroonga (home!), because Mandy & I were going through to Bondi Junction to meet family for dinner.
Moving into the suburbs of Rockdale now...
Rockdale suburbs quite near the school
On Friday we went to a suburb called Woolloomoolloo. I caught the train into Central station (the centre of town). The boys were on time and we drove through Kings Cross to a small kindergarten type of school. I didn’t look around too much, but did notice loads of certificates for school of the year and high school. We did 2 basic projector and screen installations starting at 8.30 am, and completed them by 12pm - being Friday, we wanted to move early. We also had a little repair to do on a VGA point, used for pc monitors. This is where my knowledge kicked in, the boys were either testing me, or they really weren’t sure on finding the solution. Anyway, I took one look at the system and diagnosed the problem, the boys then counteracted my suggestion, and went the route of painstakingly starting at one side to get to the problem. This was all good, except that I was the sucker to go crawling around under floor boards. They seemed a little embarrassed after an hour of fiddling about to finally check the point that I suggested and lo & behold, there was the problem, as clear as daylight. I then stripped the damaged cable, repaired it, (I think that this is when they kinda realized that I knew what I was doing, No harm done) and off we went to drop me at the station again. We bid our farewells, as I would not be seeing them for a while again, as I was due to get my vehicle and start with my new team on Monday.
On the way home, I received a call letting me know that I would not be getting my vehicle just yet, as it was not ready, and that I would need to meet my team on site on Monday at 7.30. Woohoo!! More train rides. I have had loads of fun riding the trains. On Monday I will be in a suburb called Waverton, a leafy suburb on the North shore side of Sydney.
Well, that’s it for now. Mandy will fill you in on the adventures.
Cheers for now, mates!