19 May 2008

Mupersan's Trip to Milton

28 April - 1 May 2008

A call for help was received, and Mupersan fired up his trusty Betsy, donned his mighty fine adventure hat and headed off into the forests of the south coast.There were green forests, and rolling hills, and lots of small seaside villages, a city, and a few towns, all on route to the destination of Milton.

A lookout point near Wollongong

The view is so vast, you can see the curve of the earth! My colleague, Chris, putting that theory to the test.

Wow, what a beautiful countryside. Milton forms part of a number of small towns all a few kms apart. About 250 kms from the outskirts of Sydney, almost in line with Canberra. Thats about as close to Canberra as it gets. Its lovely. Very much like the Garden route, stunning views, lush forests, quaint towns ,fresh off a canvas. Beautiful old buildings. All this and completely self reliant with all the amenities of a big city (Bunnings, electrical shops, furniture shops etc) yet it has a small town feel about it. All around there were people out and about doing what they do. We ( another Chris And I) stayed in Milton for 2 days doing an AMX and video conference system.

The first views are as we left Sydney and entered the south coast at Wollongong The roads were winding mountain passes very similar to the passes above Pietermaritzburg. We traveled along the coast for a few kms then headed a bit inland. Along this inland route there were turnoffs to the coastal towns. The pictures could never do the area justice. Its lovely.

From here we passed through Warrilla, Shellharbour,Minnamurra, Kiama, Gerringong Cambaworra, Nowra, Tomerong, and Yabbadabbadoo (I made this up, can you tell?). Hmm, I am also looking at a map getting the names correct and guess what, no Milton.. So where did Mupersan go? Canberra exists in the twilight zone, so I won't find Milton there. Help! Ah, Google maps. I have named some of the towns, but wait, there are more, so check Google maps if you want to see.

I intend to take Mrs Mupersan (Mupersan's even more trusty sidekick) on a further adventure to explore the area. If we departed early on a Saturday morning, We would probably get to Milton by early evening, after a day spent driving through the villages, then head back on the Sunday morning or so.

After an enjoyable trip, and a job well done, and the day saved, Mupersan headed off into the late afternoon sun. He would be back, as an adventure of this calibre needs to be shared with the even more trusty Mrs Mupersan.

The following pics were taken on the trip to Milton:

And we arrived in Milton:

Milton's "High Street"

The Rainbow Pie Shop - Yummy!!!

View from our apartment balcony

Arty-farty picture - dig my funky shades!

Sunset from our balcony

Betsy parked outside the Milton Village Motel

We installed the two projectors on the ceiling, both screens (one an interactive whiteboard) and a full video conferencing sytem - Chris sitting admiring our handiwork.

Mupersan steering Betsy back towards Sydney...

One of the concrete walls along the freeway - mostly used for sound proofing for the suburbs on the either side of the road. Took this one especially for Mands who's dolphin crazy.

06 May 2008

Just an arb post....

I was driving down the Pacific Highway. Sitting in bumper to bumper morning traffic on my way to the office. Sipping on my coffee. Listening to Tony, Bec & Mikey on Vega 95.3FM & having a good giggle at their antics.

The car in front of me pulled into the left lane and that's when I saw it. It's very shape stopping my heart. The lowered suspension. The extra large silver Toyota badge. The tinted windows. The aftermarket light fittings. A flash of detail and a sharp intake of breath.

I wish I could put into words the irrational fear that this vehicle brought rushing to my conciousness. My back stiffened. My hands tightened on the steering wheel and I instinctively reached over to check that my door was locked. It took me a couple of minutes to compose myself. But I was very happy that it turned off soon after my little "moment".

Scott had a similar experience a little while back. He went down to the basement parking one morning, stepped out of the lift and it was pitch black - not even a sliver of light. He said his instincts just took over and he pressed the "close door" button repeatedly and went back up to the flat. In that fleeting moment, he was convinced that some tsotsi's had cut the lights so that they could rob him when he came out of the lift. I couldn't believe his over-reaction until I saw this "taxi" in front of me in the traffic.

But what these few minutes of fear really highlighted for me was that without even realising it, I have completely embraced the safety of life here in Australia (and no, it's not percieved safety - it's actual safety!).

I suppose some psychologist would call both Scott's and my reaction a symptom of "post traumatic stress syndrome". But then neither of us were ever directly involved with the sort of violent crime/gratuitous violence that some unfortunate South Africans are. But it seems that just living with the threat of it on a daily basis can have a lasting mental/emotional effect.

Australia isn't perfect, but I feel safe here. I like that.

Scott was actually commenting the other day about how chilled out I am here. The car we bought isn't going to be ready for a few weeks - he wanted to blast the salesman. I told him to chill, it meant that we wouldn't have to pay for the car for a few extra weeks - more money for us to save in the meantime. No worries. Our container won't be here in time for my folks' visit.... Oh well, we'll just have to sleep on the blow up mattress for a week. No worries. FNB couldn't get their A into G and sort our internet banking out. Scott wanted to blow them out of the water! I handled it, got it sorted, no shouting, just being nice. No worries, mate. Oh, and no more road rage! I drive the speed limit. I stop when the traffic light is orange instead of speeding thru as it turns red. I think the most stress I have on the roads is directed at my TomTom GPS who couldn't direct a jumbo jet down a straight runway!!! (I'm going back to my trusty map book.)

So anyway, that's all. Just thought I'd share this experience.


02 May 2008

Scott's Canberra Trip

Hmmm, Canberra.

Where do I start? If the world was going to end tomorrow, where would you go? Simple, Canberra, cos its 100yrs behind everywhere else!

Not really. My first thought as I drove in was, Bloemfontein with a bit of Stellenbosch. I am not sure why, but that’s what it felt like. It’s very spread out. The roads were clearly designed and built for the growth of a large city, but at the moment, I don’t think that you could create a traffic jam if you closed all the lanes bar one. The streets are wide. The buildings are only a few stories high, and give the impression of vast space between them. The suburbs are approximately 5 to 10 km’s apart, with loads of bush between them. It is classified as a city, probably because of the area it covers, certainly not for its population of 330 000! Huh??? So where was everyone? The population size compares to GUESS, Bloemfontein. Well that explains that then.

The city is very quiet with loads of outdoor types of activities around the large manmade lakes. The people seem to go to work, then go home. We (a work colleague and I ) tried a different pub every night that we were there; that being from Monday to Friday morning. We did a control system and 2 boardroom presentation installations and finished ahead of schedule, hoping to do some site seeing, but this was not going to be, as H/O heard about this from the salesman, and gave us work for the Thursday and Friday, Bugger... We stayed in a suburb called Tuggeranong. Quite pretty as the pics might show, and very sleepy, even the birds fly slowly. The most popular place in this, and many other suburbs seems to be the local RSL club (retired serviceman leisure club). Drinks and food are cheap. We found one in our suburb on the last night, after travelling around the city for the first 3 looking for a pub with more than 5 people in it (including the staff).

It is also not uncommon to see the odd road kill kangaroo and wombat between suburbs. One of the jokes about Canberra is that if you want weed, fireworks or porn, this is the place to go. Well, the fireworks have been recently banned due to fire hazards, the weed I didn’t try to get, but with some politicians recently admitting to having smoked the stuff, I would not be surprised. And as for the porn... Well, there are a stack of porn shops - and I mean a stack. It basically goes like this: motor dealer, porn shop, motor dealer, porn shop. They also seem to keep this industrious type of industry limited to a few suburbs.

Chris and I had every intention of doing some site seeing, but with literally everything closing at 5 pm, (thanks for the heads up Bill Bryson) we planned to try for the Friday morning, and as you know were foiled. However, I insisted that we go to the monstrous fountain called The Captain Cook Memorial fountain, which shoots a jet of water 150 metres into the air, and would’ve been very impressed had the blooming thing been working. We had seen it the day before from about 12 kms away. And there’s the pic, impressive hey!!!! And that’s it for Canberra. I am due to go back to install a video wall in the near future. Yippee. However, before that is done, I will be paying the small town of Milton a visit to install a video conference system, and repair another.

Oh yes, and on my return, I was summoned to the office and informed that I would be getting a promotion to supervisor of the North of Sydney at the end of April. That said, they now want to talk to me about another position as well. We will just have to wait and see. I really don’t get excited over these things, as I am not a title person, and really enjoy doing the installation and problem solving thing. I will keep you posted.

Enjoy the pics below.

Cheers, Scott

The general type of vegetation before the turnoff to Canberra.

A few km's before Canberra, this plain is huge. Here and there are a few vehicle tracks. Thanks to Neil who pointed out that this is actually Lake George about half an hour out of Canberra. (click on the link for more info - quite interesting)

Sign welcoming to Canberra, So where is it?

Still not there, a large tower like thingy on a mountain in the distant. supposedly this is the city.

Oh, and the first suburb, in the entrance to the CBD... No this is not a sign to go live there.! It spells DICKSON!

Sprawling metropolis

Our apartment in Tuggeranong. They must have got some tired (inebriated) people to name these suburbs - about 25km from CBD

View from the balcony

7.30 am. rush hour, I think.

One of the locals. Even the wildlife seems slower. I am not joking!

Another pic of the apartment.

There were a fair amount of cars around, but hardly any people to be found.

One of the installed rooms. Integration system and LCD

Different view. Apparently this is what I do.

Strange, my colleague found his street name next to where we were staying.

Tuggeranong CBD

Our Apartment block

5.30pm Tuggeranong CBD bustling metropolis again.

On the day we departed we decided to go visit the giant fountain.. Oh and we saw a few cars with people in them.

And the blooming memorial fountain wasn't working. Well it was Friday???

Another look at the lake on the way out. This is in the city centre area.