01 July 2008

Free Wireless at the Apple Store . . . Wonder What the Rent's Like

Turns out the Sydney Apple Store has free wireless internet, and Nija is talking to the Geniuses about her iPod, which seems to have gone on the fritz somewhere above the Pacific Ocean. Now whenever she tries to use it it kind of makes a desperate clicking sound and a little frowny iPod shows up on the screen, with the URL for the Apple support people.

The Apple Store just opened in Sydney, and has nice digs a few blocks from the "Harbour", as they spell it, in the Central Business District. It's a really narrow slice of a building, three stories tall with a handsome glass facade, kind of like the one in New York. It's been utterly groaning with people both times we've come by. Today I'm happy to be able to sit down and surf the web for free, since we've had a shortage of both lately. Some time on the second day here my right foot gave out and I either pinched a nerve, pulled something, or got a hairline fracture in one of the bones. Hobbling around town has been pretty painful, even in my more supportive shoes, and right now I'm envying Jesse for that boot the podiatrists put him in a few weeks ago.

Most unfortunate of all has been the fact that we can't just take it easy right now. We were hoping we'd swoop into Sydney and find plenty of prime apartments ripe for the plucking, but the housing situation is much more grim. All our hopes of finding our own place for anything less than $1000 a month have been dashed (unless we want a 1.5-hour commute) and we very quickly dropped our standards so that now we're looking for a mere room in a shared house for a maximum of $1000/month. That seems so ridiculous when compared to our rent in Decatur that I prefer not to think about the two as comparable quantities.

We thought that the worst case scenario would be staying in our hotel for extra time: it's $600 per week. However, when we tried to rebook today, we were told there weren't any vacancies because the Pope is coming to town next week for World Youth Day, a big Catholic jamboree that's going to besiege the area around my university like a soul-savin' Freaknik or Lollapalooza. There are already horror stories circulating in the media of wild Catholic youths wantonly baptizing cars and dogs all hours of the night.

Anyway, we're in our current spot until Friday morning, when they'll chuck us out on our duffs. We've visited two places that were a little bit gross and we've got a few more appointments today and tomorrow. Cross your fingers for your remote friends and offer up a little whiskey to the gods of housing and hospitality and hopefully you'll hear good news soon from this hemisphere.

Aside from that particular struggle, things are well. The weather has been gorgeous here considering it's the first couple weeks of winter. Sydney is huge and gorgeous and the people have been nothing but helpful and friendly. Yesterday we went to lunch with my eventual adviser, Dr. Gavin Conibeer, and had a really excellent time. Like Dr. Cressler, Dr. Conibeer seems approachable and extremely humble in the face of tremendous achievement. I'm really optimistic about studying with him and his team.

We'll be sure to keep updating the blog, especially when we have finally settled down. We appreciate you all for your kind messages and we hope everyone is well. Again, we'll have pictures up soon.

All our love,

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