Life in Canberra

… is very pleasant. Last night, I went out to dinner with a bunch of OzLabs guys. We went to a Thai restaurant, and had a very nice meal, for $15 dollars — Australian! — each. It was a very reasonable price in U.S. dollars, but with the exchange being 2 for 1, at $7.50 USD, it was an absolute steal.

This morning, I woke up, ate breakfast at the hotel, and then wandered over to a Newsagent, where I picked up another book by the Dalai Lama (“The Transformed Mind: Reflections on Truth, Love and Happiness”), and two chocolate croissants and two chease rolls for the princely sum of $4.00 AUD, so I’ll something to snack on later in the day. I couldn’t get just the two chocolate croissants for $4 US from Au Bon Pain….

I then headed to the IBM office in Canberra, by way of a very pleasant walk through Telopia park. Lots of verdant green plants, like you might expect in a tropical or sub-tropical climate, but yet the temperature was quite mild and moderate. As I was walking through the park, I just felt incredibly calm and contented. Life is good.

The other really nice thing about Australia is that people are in general, really warm, open, and friendly. On my first day, I got a bit confused about which way I was supposed to exit the park on my way to the office, and someone who noticed that I was looking a little lost asked me if I needed help finding my way. Compared to my the previous week in New York City, I could really tell the difference.

As near as I can tell, there are only two problems with living in Australia. (1) It’s just way too far from the rest of the world. If I could fly from Boston to Sydney in six hours or less, I’d be really tempted to move out here. (2) Bandwidth is expensive. Folks generally pay 10 to 25 cents per megabyte. This is apparently mostly the fault of the U.S. ISP’s, which are charging really high settlement fees to the Australians. Bastards.

I really wish I could spend more time in Canberra. The ideal work life would be living and socialize in Boston, and then commuting to work in Canberra and hanging out with the Ozlabs folks. So if anyone events a teleportation device, I’ll be eternally grateful…