We’ve been in Brisbane for a well over a month now. It’s sometimes difficult to get used to a life in a city, where people don’t know cold, mountains or Kofola. But it’s worth the try. I am also working remotely here and that’s actually an important experience I will bring from this trip.
Arrival to Brisbane – Australia
Our arrival to Brisbane was without any surprises or mishaps. Actually the worst thing during the flight was this – there wasn’t Mamma Mia movie in the plane available to watch. On the other hand the day long stopover in Taipei was great. So it evens out nicely I guess.
We landed on December 1st 2019 and that was it. We were officially in Brisbane, Australia. The time difference between Czech Republic and Brisbane is +9 hours. One hour less difference than I had in Alaska, so not that much different. With the transfer and the stopover in Taipei we didn’t feel that tired as we probably should have been.
For the first time ever, I am working remotely from a different continent. And for the first time ever, I kept my job position, even when I left the country. I know, this isn’t anything that new for people working in IT, but I am very gratefull to the company. They allowed me to go to Brisbane for 3 months and didn’t bothered me with pretty much anything. Open positions here.
How is Working remotely from Australia? In a nutshell, it’s great. I actually enjoy going to work now. I found out the whole topic of working remotely from Brisbane more interesting than I originally thought and I share some thoughts in a separate post.
The first obvious difference is, that while it’s winter in Europe, here it’s really hot summer. Even though I always prefered cold over hot weather, I have to admit it’s nice, when you can always just wear shorts and t-shirt. The only time I felt cold here, was in the train. The air condition was super low and if I had a jacket, I would put it on without any embarrassment.
The temperatures in general aren’t that extremely high as I expected. In December it has usually been around 28-35 °C, some days we were even lucky and got a chilling 25! But there was also this 42°C day on the other side … What is the real difference for me, is that you don’t have to care about the weather outside, because you can always count on, that it will be warm. I used to check the weather forecast regularly back in Czech, but here I simply don’t have to.
I always imagined the “warm” countries to be the same way, like we have our summer. The long days, with early sunrise and late sunset. However it’s not entirely true here. 3 out of 6 Australian states doesn’t have daylight saving time (they don’t shift time +/- 1 hour every spring/autumn). So while there is plenty of light early in the morning (at 5am there is more than enough ligth to comfortable read a book), the sunset is early too. It’s a complete darkness at 7pm. It makes sense, but it was still little bit of a surprise.
Christmas in Brisbane
I have to say, I like the way how are Aussies using Christmas fashion decorations. Girls are often wearing Christmas hair accesories, like clips or headbands. It’s funny. And it definitely breaks the mould of everyday journey by public transportation. Train drivers are specialist in this. I think every other driver wore a Santa’s hat during Advent.
Even though I have to also admit, that we were a bit disappointed by the lack of any Christmas action on Gold Coast during the Christmas Day. Although it was slightly rainy and not hot at all. So I guess it had to be almost terryfying for anyone than tourists to go out. The truth is that there were only two groups on the whole beach wearing at least some sort of Christmas fashion – us and 4 Korean ladies.
New Year’s Eve in Brisbane
Chrismas in summer weren’t exactly my cup of tea. I found out I am probably more conservative then I originally thought. On the other hand, I am all in for a New Year’s Eve in summer! It’s so much more fun being outside, watching the sunset and while waiting for the midnight you can easily relax, have a picnic or watch the stars. I know, I could do all of this also back home, but it’s simply different in -5°C and +25°C.
We ended up sitting on grass in the middle of a picnic area with live music and a bunch of strangers. There were actually 2 fireworks. First started at 8:30pm and was mainly for the kids and people, who don’d feel the pressure to celebrate and who likes to go to bed early. The second one was right at the midnight and was very similar to the first one. So those people don’t have to fear they missed something out.
I was surprised how well orchestrated the whole thing was. Not only the fireworks themselves – they were spectacular. But also from the project management point of view. The firework was fired from the middle of the river, so people could stand on both banks and also on two bridges on the sides. When it was finished, everyone just calmly began their walk to the closest train station and their homes. Not only were the trains arriving pretty much every other minute, but they also were free for the night to even more speed up the process. Nice, simple and elegant solution. Overall, the city does fireworks to make people happy and I think they surely managed to do so. I think many countries/cities could learn from Australia/Brisbane.
One last thing – there were no other fireworks then the official ones. They are simply forbidden. Why should everyone blow up 10s-100s dollars when the outcome won’t be ever that spectacular like the professional firework? Plus it’s much less painfull for the nature, animals and others.
Actually, that was a big surprise arriving to Australia. It’s not as expensive as I expected. Sure, it’s also not cheap, but I would say it’s pretty similar to most countries in western Europe. If you want to eat on a budget, you can easily do so. My probably most favourite meal of all time are simple oats, with any fruit and milk/jogurt. And this meal costs pretty much nothing all around the world 🙂 Plus there are super awesome mangos here in Australia. I could eat this all the time.
More seriously though, if you go to a restaurant you can pretty much always stay in range 15-25 AUD for a main meal. The fast food is little bit cheaper, around 10-15$. Travelling by public train costs 3,5$. Haircut for a simple man (aka me) is 10$.
This is how I feel it after a month in Brisbane, it might be different in other cities or for someone who doesn’t like oats.
I also have to mention that I haven’t used cash the whole time. Everyone accepts credit cards. And the best thing is, that with Revolut I save a lot of money on great exchange rates + it gives me nice analytics about my spending.