I’m writing this from the beautiful Samford Valley, Queensland, Australia, after an eventful week of traveling from Colombo to Singapore to Sydney and finally to Brisbane.
Thursday 22nd April
Leaving Sri Lanka: It’s always emotional when leaving home for a long period, but I was able to handle it without making it too dramatic. Many friends came to send-off, and even helped me in carrying my 40kilos + 10kilos.
Friday 23rd April
To Singapore: The flight to Singapore was so empty that I could sleep on 3 seats after eating the inflight dinner (the parata and chicken on Singapore Airlines is good… ).
12 Hours in Singapore: Landed in Singapore at around 7 in the morning and Praitheesh came to receive me at the airport. After messing up with the terminal, went to his place in train for breakfast. Then came to city again at around 11 and spent some time roaming around and searching for the Merlion.
The whatever coffee at BurgerKing was a mistake, but we later had fairly good lunch with another friend Bala. Spent some more time around the city and got back to his place at around 5 on bus via Little India. We took the airport bus at around 6 as I had to be at airport at 7.30. Had a light dinner at McDonald’s at airport as I had to keep some room for the flight dinner.
To Sydney: The flight to Sydney was on a Airbus A380, and I was on the main deck (which is the lower deck of the double-decker). The flight was full and the dinner was OK. It was a 7 hours long flight, but I couldn’t sleep much except for the 2 hours before breakfast. The in-flight breakfast was fairly good.
Saturday 24th April
Landed in Sydney: The flight reached Sydney at around 6 in the morning and I was received by my uncle and cousin at the airport. We went straight to his place and I feel asleep till afternoon. Went out for some shopping in the evening.
Sunday 25th April
Anzac Day: It was a long weekend and the shops were closed in the morning. So went out in the evening, to Homebush. It is known as an Asian suburb and famous for its spice shops and many Sri Lankan shops. The funny thing is they even sell the Sri Lankan soft drinks such as Cream Soda, Portello and Orange Barley here. I also bought a pre-paid SIM (Lebara Mobile Australia gives cheaper international call rates, almost same as the calling cards), so now I have a Australian mobile number.
Monday 26th April
Day out in Sydney: Went to UNSW and met Sanchayan, Went to Coogee Beach and spent nearly 3 hours and enjoyed photographing around, Went city and Opera House, Met Hesavan near Darling Harbour, Return by train.
Tuesday 27th April
Lazy Day: Got up late, Went to another suburb with many Tamil shops, Online check-in and additional baggage on Qantas, Went to airport early, Board at 8.45pm take off at 9pm from Terminal 3.
Queensland: Land in Brisbane Airport at 10.30pm, Pick up by Pathmanathan Uncle at around 10.45pm and reach his house in Samford by 11.30pm.
Wednesday 28th April
QUT: Slept a little longer, Went to QUT by 10.30am, The ID card machine was not working, Meet ISS counselor, Went to QUT Higher Research Degree office and filled up the enrollment forms, Went to Information Security Institute (ISI) and meet main supervisor and some other staff, Return by train to Ferny Grove and to Samford.
Thursday 29th April
Travel from Samford: Went to QUT on train via Strathpine to Central, Meet accommodation officer, Meeting with supervisors at ISI, Bought a Go Card ( It’s a travel card which can be used to travel seamlessly on bus, train and ferry services in Brisbane.), Got my QUT Student ID Card, Found a contact accommodation from the Accommodation Services web sire and arranged for seeing the room on Friday, Return by train to Strathpine and to Samford.
Friday 30th April
Accommodation in Brisbane: Went to Brisbane on train via Strathpine to Central, Saw two rooms in Petrie Terrace and St James Street and gave advance for the later, Got money from HSBC ATM from my Sri Lankan account (good thing is the ATM fee is much less and this seems better than bank transfers considering the fees), Meet some UoM seniors who are doing their PhD in Structures, Walk around the city in the afternoon, Return by train to Strathpine and to Samford.