Wednesday 2017-08-16 I’ll leave towards Oceania. First I will go for a month to Indonesia, having a little holiday and meeting my almost girlfriend. Then I will move on to Australia to do a “working holiday”, where I hope to do my profession, as a software engineer or work in AI (think either data mining or machine learning).
This is the second major journey I undertake, which in my case means being away for more than three months. This time I’m expecting to stay away for at least six months, depending on if I can get good work and a visa. Perhaps I’ll write in a later blog post about the first journey I undertook to China, where I had a great time and which motivated me to leave again. In this blog post however I’ll record my expectations for this journey, so that one day I can look back and see what a fool I was.
For Indonesia I’m expecting the population to be better at English then the local Chinese where in China. A Chinese man can say with quite some confidence he’s not going to encounter many foreigners in his life, in fact I had people tell me this when I was there, Which is in stark contrast to Dutch mentality where you expect to encounter many foreigners and thus you’d have to learn at least English and either German or French (all three also is common). I also expect Indonesians to be willing to learn more foreign tongues, because they don’t have a common tongue such as the Chinese have with Mandarin (in fact there are thousand of languages in Indonesia), which means they’re expecting to meet people that don’t know their native language, and thus English will be used as lingua franca. especially on Bali island everyone will know English because of tourism and also in Jakarta, but to a lesser extend.
My grandfather actually told me many Indonesians would be capable of speaking Dutch. I seriously doubt that, and my (almost) girlfriend has confirmed this is only true for older Indonesians. My Indonesian girlfriend has also warned me life is slower in Indonesia than in China (which was already pretty laid back). By this I think she means that people aren’t too strict with appointments and that we can expect to wait for stuff to happen.
The weather will be hot in Indonesia, at least in Jakarta and there will be lots of rain. I know this because we talk often about the weather and I’m pretty sure it rains there more. Another environmental thing is that there will be lots of traffic in Jakarta, and especially many scooters and motorbikes. Probably similarly to the amount of Guilin, actually the climate maybe also similar to Guilin summer times.
Australia is a whole other beast of course. Everyone will speak English there and I’ll probably communicate quite easily. My grandfather thought I’d have some problems with Australian English, but I doubt that. I mean perhaps I have to get used to it for a week, but that pales in comparison to the efforts I had to take for learning the heavy accents of mainland Chinese people.
I do expect Australians to be incredibly polite and somewhat more laid back than Dutch people, however still ‘faster life’ than in China and Indonesia. By politeness I mean, trying to keep a kind off distance from strangers and embezzling your words so they sound ‘better’. This politeness of course breaks down between friends.
I’m expecting Sydney to be dominated by cars. Like cars to the extreme. Whereas in the Netherlands we use bicycles, you can get anywhere by car in Sydney. I’m expecting Sydney to be about the size of Xiamen. Although much less dense (because of the cars needing their space). Sydney will probably have about the same weather as the Netherlands, laying a lot farther south than Indonesia, although with the seasons mirrored of course.
My friends also told me Australia is a very deadly place, where everything tries to kill you. I think that’s highly exaggerated, mostly because people tend to put as much distance between themselves and nature as possible, especially in cities.
It’s a little short but there is it, a quick overview of my expectations for these two countries. Probably full of stereo types, but this is why I do the journey.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. – Mark Twain