Here we reached Australia. Road. Due to the impossibility of obtaining an exit Kazakh visa it was decided to fly from Moscow and to reach Moscow by train. On January 2 we took the Moscow-Karaganda train and on the fourth we were in Moscow. The Kazakhs in the train got at the visa in passport, but we said that we were going to Russia on a visit, and then somehow to Australia – such explanation suited them. On the 6-th we flew by Emirates by way of Moscow-Dubai-Melbourne and then by Qantas to Adelaide.
At Domodedovo no one cared a wit about where we were going, they looked at visas at the registration and registered our baggage right to Melbourne. They did not even look at visa at passport control, took away the migration card, and stamped the passport. We were flying to Dubai by A-340 for 5 hours and there was a security control even in the transit zone (we were forced to take off shoes, watch, and belt). Then a handy thing at once – you can take a stroller for the baby. Although we had not been using the stroller for a year already, our child was put there at once and he fell asleep almost immediately.
Dubai Airport appears to be one big flea market (duty free). We were there for 3 hours rummaging by duty free, I have exchanged some USD into AUD and then we went to look for our boarding gate. What impressed most in Dubai was a number of Negroes and Arabs sleeping right on the floor at the chairs. We found our gate, checked in and started waiting for boarding. In 20 minutes it was suddenly announced by loudspeaker that my wife had to go to the dispatcher gate. We did not understand what kind of problems we have, they took passports and boarding passes and we were waiting for 20 minutes. As it turned out, earlier doing the check-in via the Internet in Moscow, I changed my wife’s place since we had separated places. So it happened that she had one place number in the boarding pass and the other one in the computer. Everything turned out well, although we had worried. Sleeping baby was dragged into the plane and the stroller was left right in the gate before boarding gate.
We were flying with refueling in Singapore. I made one stupid thing: I drank a cup of strong coffee in Dubai so I had a twisted stomach on the plane and got better only in Singapore. We were flying to Melbourne by Boeing 777, the child has been sleeping almost to Singapore, but I did not manage to fall asleep. In Singapore we had a stop for 50 minutes for refuel and air crew change; we did not even go out of the plane. Then we headed to Melbourne. On the Emirates plane you are stuffed to the gills: the drinks are served up right after the take-off and then it was served something more essential to eat. My wife and baby got through the flight very badly, especially landing – pressure drops and so on.
We arrived in Melbourne on January 8 somewhere at the beginning of 2 o’clock at night. We passed through the immigration control, I declared medicines and the man at the Immigration Control asked what the drugs were for – I said that they were for the home use something like Panadol. He said OK and did not ask to look at them. Then we got the baggage, and passed customs. At the customs I declared a couple of wooden products, they asked what it was, I explained and they did not even look. I had also bought a bottle of martini and a package of Bounty in duty free in Moscow and I declared it as food, the Customs officer just looked and let pass.
Tullamarine was absolutely empty at night and we were even surprised. Bars, shops were closed and everything was just left at the windows. In our Sove everything would have been stolen. When we came to Domestic Terminal there were no people. The registration of domestic flights was a welcome surprise. There were about 10 stalls where you could introduce the reservation number, answer a couple of questions, get your boarding pass printed out and that’s all – you have only to drop off your baggage. The Sove still has to study and study as in Moscow we were queuing for 40 minutes for registration – our poor child went under and fell asleep (but the Muscovites forgave us 4kg of overweight). The airport began to revive at 5 o’clock in the morning. We checked in the baggage, Qantas didn’t care a wit about the overweight at all, as compared with Emirates we also checked in a backpack that was in the hand luggage and weighed about 6 kilograms together with the baggage, altogether the overweight was about 10 kilograms.
We boarded the Boeing 737 and flew. Everybody got through this last one-hour flight badly; the baby became afraid of the plane. We made a mistake that we did not order a stopover. When you fly with your child – it’s a necessity. Adelaide. We arrived on January 8 at 7 am. At the airport we were first met by Andrew (rz3wa / vk5mav) and we started waiting for a volunteer who was to meet us. We landed 10 minutes earlier. After 20 minutes waiting on the second floor, we went to the first floor of the airport to get baggage, where we were greeted by volunteers with a sign – “The Government of South Australia welcomes the family …” They took the baggage, got into cars and drove to the accommodation given by Housing Trust for 3 months according to the On Arrival Accommodation program.
We lived in a two-bedroom unity in the region called Oaklands Park – it’s about 12 kilometers to the south-west of the City. We pay 136 AUD for unit per week. The price includes all utilities; such are the conditions of the On arrival accommodation program. Although it was only for 3 months. The location is convenient, 5 minutes’ walk from the house there is a train station, get on a train and you are in the City in 15 minutes. The volunteers gave me a pile of papers and brochures – but the most important was Adelaide Street Directory – a reference book and the Bible at the same time, all the maps of Adelaide were there, and one can orient how to get somewhere at first. They gave me an invitation to the Information Session for new migrants. The session was held on January 10 at painfully familiar address – 55 Currie Street. So on the 3rd day of stay in Australia I was already in the building of ASPC, but unfortunately on the ground floor.
At the meeting, we talked about all the organizational issues I knew before coming to Australia so I was just listening and getting used to the English speech. Mostly there were the Hindus, Chinese, and Arabs by the SIR visas. I probably was the only Russian, and as I understood the 136th visa for Adelaide was one of the coolest and very few people got it here. The program of the state government is to increase the population to 2 million by 2050, now it is now about 1.5 million.
I would like to express my gratitude to Andrew (rz3wa / vk5mav) for the first help in Adelaide – meeting, accommodation, shopping tours, advice on many issues, and other assistance. When I first came to the supermarket, I couldn’t help to express my cultural shock and surprise. To say, excuse me for the expression, I f….d up – means to say nothing. For the first days the rose-colored glasses were on me tightly, now the life is not rainbows and unicorns. The main difficulties are the psychological and lingual ones as well as acclimatization and jetlag. It was difficult for the first few days when everyone around speaks English – all that was unusual. Sometimes I didn’t understand anybody, I understood men better than women as well as I understood the Australians better than the Chinese or Indians.
I came to TFN, and opened a bank account registered in Centerlink as a jobseeker. Another plus of Adelaide – I am supposed to have 1310 hours of free English tuition – 510 hours from DIMA and 800 extra hours if I go to a language school LM Training. Generally the price level here is the same as in Kazakhstan, the most important is to get a job. I haven’t done it yet.