Thursday, October 23, 2008

More Ties

So in addition to our car, I've now acquired a few more items which bind me or us to Australia even more.

On Tuesday, I went and got my Australian driver's license. Thank goodness I had a California Driver's license, so I didn't have to take any tests. All I had to do was show up at the scheduled time, have Hubby sign a piece of paper stating I live here with him, pay, take a picture and PING! I had my license in less than 10 minutes. How's that for efficiency! I got one that is valid for 10 years. Gosh, 10 years! Just thinking Boy Wonder would be 14 by the time I need to renew it got me teary eyed.

There were only 2 things I found "inconvenient" about getting my license. I went to VicRoads (which is what they call their DMV, or where you go to get anything that has to do with your license or car done) last week to say I needed a driver's license. The place was pretty much empty. I already brought everything I thought I needed but I still had to make an appointment. And while the lady was going through my application the following week, she said she needed something that had my name with a local address. Hubby explained our situation and she didn't budge and kept saying she NEEDS something that has a local address with my name. So I just asked if they had something we could sign that affirms the fact. She said oh yes we do and got Hubby to sign one! Sheesh woman, if I didn't say anything, she would have kept going and we would have had to come back some other time. So anyways, as efficient as they are here, its still the same everywhere when it comes to people who can't think outside of the standard procedures.

I also got a local SIM card. All deals here give you a cell phone when you sign up to any plan, so now I have 2 phones. But it was a bit depressing because although I have a local number now, my phone hardly beeps or rings because I don't have any friends here... yet.

The only "bad" experience with getting the SIM was that it didn't work when I put it in my phone. I thought I had to activate it, but couldn't do it on line. So when Hubby called, turned out the guy who processed our purchase forgot to click a button on his computer to activate it for us when we bought it.

One last thing is an e-Tag. An e-Tag is what you need when you drive on the freeways here. Instead of toll gates, everything is computerized. You drive underneath this huge metal bridge-like thing, and at that moment your e-Tag beeps, indicating you've just paid the toll. Its kind of like an Octopus card in HK, but more convenient. I wonder why they can't be that sophisticated in terms of all their other transportation methods. I've taken the train twice into the city and didn't have to pay because no conductor came and the ticket office was closed! So anyways, with the e-Tag you just have it linked to your bank account so it automatically gets reloaded. Oh, and if you don't have an e-Tag and you need to drive on the freeway or find yourself on a freeway, all you need to do is call a number and give your license plate number.

So there you go, more ties to this country. We'll be getting more things when the house is done. Hubby has already asked me to look into broadband, land line, electricity, gas, water, etc. Oh! We already got cable, so that's one more thing. All these channels! I just pray they'll have American Idol when the season starts!


Pam said...

so have you tried driving yet? how was it?

Bandit said...

been driving to the supermarket only. drove further a few times but always with someone with me. still really nervous about it and need to constantly remind myself which side of the road to be on!

info said...

hey i got those stuff in canada too, car, sim, license, job, bank account, credit card, atm, cable, phone, gas, water, electricity etc...but still ended up in HK. maybe you too! haha wishful thinking. what we didn't get was a house, which you have. so that ends it. hee hee. it was great chatting with you last week.- ragamuffin

christao17 said...

Well, you are getting more and more settled. Sounds like your new life is going smoothly. Email your number and I'll send some SMS messages to you to keep you from feeling lonely!