Tuesday 5th February 2008
We appear to have lost a day, but we think we did the right thing by not getting too much sleep on the plane because we all woke up at a reasonable hour and are feeling good. The warm weather, the relaxed atmosphere, it feels like we are home. It is hard to describe, it is not like a holiday feeling, and we realise that there is a lot of work ahead but there is something about the place that oozes a laid back feel. It could of course be that we are recovering from having almost no sleep for 2 days followed by a really good nights sleep.
Time to start work, Sharon has put us on her car insurance so we leave her looking after the kids while we head for Joondalup to sort out our Bank Account. We had opened the account on line from England because according to their advertising Blah, Open an Account on line and although you will not be able to touch the funds in it until you go into the branch and offer positive identification, everything will be set up and ready to go, Debit/Credit Cards, Cheque Books etc. Wrong, you turn up and make an appointment to talk to a Customer Service Bod which we do for that afternoon.
So with time to kill before our afternoon appointment we decide to sign up with Medicare which apparently has reciprocal agreements with the UK, now I’m not knocking it because I haven’t tried it but it would appear that if you are an Australian in the UK and you need emergency or other treatment you will get it. If you are British, are in Australia and need emergency or other treatment you pay for it except for the Ambulance journey to the Hospital in the case of an emergency only, and I think you only get that because the chances are you will be in a public place when you need one and bodies lying around decomposing can be quite off putting when you are trying to go about your daily routine. Anyway signing up for Medicare was a piece of cake, but we are about to start paying them for providing us with nothing until we become citizens in about 10 years time, so it is in their interest to make it simple.
Having done that and with time to kill it’s off to the Shopping Mall to have a look round and try out some local delicacies in the food hall. Everything over here in the Big Shopping Malls is either part of a massive chain like Woolworths (a massive food supermarket over here) or part of a Franchise Network and it is very rare to find a One Man Band operating. Anyway after a quick look around the shops we head for the Food Court, the number of different Food Operators represented was quite impressive, Carolyn had a Sumo Salad which she thoroughly enjoyed (nice crisp salad washed down with a smoothie) and Ian tried a Bucking Bull (and will not be trying another one).
Time for our appointment at the bank, the Customer Services person that we are going to see is a nice young lady by the name of Carolyn and is as mad as a sack of monkeys, it took the first 5 minutes for her to get over the fact that Carolyn had the same name as Carolyn, apart from the Hoyle-Johnson part of course, although I think if that had been the same as well even we would have been impressed, and not only that but they both lived on the same planet, although Ian was starting to doubt this towards the end of the meeting.
The banks over here are so amazingly helpful it is incredible, they were absolutely desperate to lend us so much money that you could almost guarantee going bankrupt and being sent back on the first plane to the UK, so we pointed out to them that had enough money in their bank at the moment but we would like to be able to get at it and while we are here we would like to pick up our Debit/Credit Cards and Cheque Books etc just like it said in the advert. No was the reply, when the bank have taken copies of every possible bit of ID that you could think of then we can order your Debit/Credit Cards and Cheque Books etc and we can get them delivered to you within 10 working days, in the meantime we will sit on your money making interest and should you have an emergency and need to withdraw money or need a Cheque for something it is not a problem, just ask at the desk and we will be happy to help you and all for only $15 per transaction. Anyway by this time Carolyn from Customer services was getting so excited by all the different services that the bank could offer us that we were beginning to wonder whether her bladder would hold out much longer and after agreeing to see a Home Loan Specialist and also a Business Loan Specialist she let us go.
Having almost killed ourselves with laughter coming out of the bank we decided that we needed to get a car ASAP as it was going to be quite inconvenient to borrow Sharon’s for much longer, so we headed for Mullaloo Road where we had been assured we would find some Second-hand Car Dealers, and lo and behold we found them. The price of Second-hand Cars in this Country is outrageous, we are looking for a People Carrier type car but over here the seem to deal mainly in 4x4 off road vehicles if you want 7 seats and you could get one about 10 years old in no better than average condition for about $37k or £18,500 so we left it for the day and went home to try and work out a better plan.
We got home at about 7pm to find the kids in a state of excitement and Sharon in a state of exhaustion, in her wisdom she had decided to take them to the Zoo and was now feeling the after effects, but the kids enjoyed themselves so that was the main thing.
Once the kids had gone to bed we sat around chatting, catching up on the gossip and downing a few tinnies. An average can of Beer to take home, assuming you are buying it in Case quantities works out at the equivalent of £1.50 per can, imagine that in the UK, all the alcoholics would have to go out and get jobs to pay for it, although the Government would probably just let them have it on prescription. If you want to drink a pint of average Beer in a Pub it could set you back $7.40 = £3.70, we have decided to give up drinking almost.