Also See A trip to New Zealand - Part 1
Airport was little far off from the City Center where our college and our Temporary accommodation is located. We were getting the drop in a Airport Shuttle and ours was the last stop, By the time we were dropped and got to the room, it was almost 4pm, We dropped our bags immediately set out to the University Campus to see if we can meet someone, But we could not anyone since it was a Friday and by 4pm most places are off by then. We did manage to speak to a very sweet lady who gave us some nice advice and tips and the required info for the time being.
We then set out to find a Vodafone store to get ourselves a Sim card, Unlike India, Vodafone guys did not ask for any documents or photo, All they wanted was money and lots of it, Guess how much did it cost us for the sim card???? $30 and it came with a talk time of....... just Zero $. Minimum recharge was for $20 and we had to pay $50 for the sim card and $20 talk time valid for a month, and do you want to know the call rates, $0.89 for local and ISD calls, strange hun? yeah, it is, we were cursing Vodafone so much, but then later we realized, ppl hardly use there cell phones here, they often text (they don’t call it smsing here, rather called texting), for $10 a month, we get 2000 Texts, which is considered as a Awesome offer, When I told the locals here that back home in India we had unlimited smsing (texting) and for $2(just 2 bucks) we could get 600 calls, He was shocked.
The next few days was just roaming around the city center and we did roam quite a lot, The whole of City centre is hilly with ups and downs, this place reminds me of San Diego and Walking was not easy, but in last few days we got used to walking that we don’t mind it any more, But first day, we almost thought of investing in a car, only to realize later that owning a car was costly mainly for parking as it costs easily $10 a day. But Good thing is we are walking quite a lot and kind of enjoying also :)
We met couple of Indians (seniors) and got some inputs on courses to choose, Job market etc. We also checked out some India eat-outs and also Indian grocery store, where all the Indian stuff is available. I have been spending quite a lot for food here, almost 90% of the places I have been, I have been ordering something that is not there on the Menu and it was specially made for me, for Example, We went to a Mexican eat out and there was some plain rice with Chicken Combo, But they also had Burritos(In Indian terms, Chapathi Rolls), They had Black Beans Burritos and Guess what I asked him, I asked for a Plain rice with Black bean, though he said that is not there on the menu, he was more than happy to serve me my combo :). Seriously speaking, the people are real nice here and surprised to see the same.
We went apartment hunting from the day we arrived till now; we are going to every apartment around this area. This may sound weird, that we went to each apartment and asking if there are any vacancies, something that I am an expert in, because this is what I used to do in India. Strangely this is how people here find an apartment. There are real estate agents here as well, but they charge just like in India, very costly and they don’t deserve it. In India they at least take you door to door, here they just sit in office and tell you where to go. The charges here are 1 weeks rent + $80 + tax. Man, things are real costly here and 90% of the apartments are sold thru agents here
But fortunately, we found an apartment in which there was no letting in fee (They call it letting in fee here for the non-refundable stuff that we pay the agent). Though the weekly rent is high, we are saving a $500 on letting in fee for this apartment, and the apartment in two blocks and 2 min walk away from the University. So it is almost like we are staying within the Uni Campus. Will upload the pics of the apartment and University shortly. By the way, the apartment is a Studio flat with Kitchen cum Living, a balcony and a small bedroom with attached bath.
We still have not got our Student ID cards, once we get it, we will get lot of discounts, Like 40% off for the Public transport buses, and otherwise they are very costly, with a minimum fare of $1.5. I saw some Indian Police here and also saw an Indian Police in a Hot Pursuit, that was pretty cool.