Back from Down Under

I have just returned from an 18-day part-work, part-vacation trip to wonderful Australia.  That’s why you didn’t seen any entries in that time!  Click Read More to see more.
It’s a 14-hour non-stop plane ride to Sydney from LAX and a 12-hour ride coming back.  That’s the longest I’ve ever flown in “Coach.”  (As an Executive Platinum with American for almost 10 years, I usually get upgraded, but this was a partner airline so no deal.)  Fun, Fun.

Business Stuff

The storage industry is alive and well in Australia.  I spoke at an invitation-only dinner in Melbourne and at the first Storage Decisions Australia in Sydney.  Both events were very well attended and the Tech Target model was very well received.  (Well-vetted real end-user attendees — not consultants.)

This is about my 10th such event outside the country and I have to say I was surprised by the size of the some of the systems I talked with people about.  Usually when I’m speaking abroad, I struggle to find attendees that have crossed the multi-Terabyte threshold in the entire datacenter, let alone with a single server.  In my audience in Sydney, however, I had several companies that had individual servers that were well beyond 10 TB, and three that had servers over 20 TB.  They look like they’re ready to jump on the whole dedupe adoption wave, once again allowing us crazy Yanks to work out many of the kinks first.

Where there is storage there is money to be made, and I think there’s money to be made there for companies that are willing to fly 14-20 hours to get there.  (Or, of course, move people there.)

Totally Random Thoughts

The people were a blast, way more laid back than our “friends across the pond” or our neighbors up North.  I LOVE the fact that the response to everything is “no worries.”  You hear that a LOT.  Everyone (hotel staff, taxi drivers, vendors, waiters/waitresses, everyday people) just seemed SO friendly and full of the “no worries” attitude.

One odd observation. We started our trip in Melbourne, and used our MasterCard everywhere we went, from train tickets to ice cream cones.  Then we hit Sydney and Cairns.  Almost no one other than retail merchants and major chains (e.g. McDonalds/Subway/HungryJack) took credit cards, or they had ridiculously high minimum charges.  (The train company had a $24 minimum charge for any “EFTPOS” sale, which includes debit or charge cards.)  This often caught us by surprise and forced us to rush out and pay ridiculously high ATM fees to withdraw money.  For example, we were at a major mall, and ordered $50 worth of food at one of the “food court” places, only to find out it was cash-only — and so were all the other food court vendors — except Subway.

All taxis everywhere we went took credit cards — BUT.  They charged a 10% fee to take them!  The cabbies say they get none of this 10% and it goes to the companies supplying the service.  Although they say they’ve been taking credit cards in cabs for years, that sounds like somebody’s ripping off somebody.

The weirdest thing is to give a cabbie a $5 note for a $4.90 fare, and have him reach in to give you change — with no expectation of a tip.  I checked over and over and nobody seems to tip over there, except for “above and beyond the call” service.  SO different than what I’m used to.

I stayed in Marriots and Hiltons and they were all very nice.  One surprise is the lack of ice machines.  If you want ice, you call the front desk and they bring it to you.  (They immediately know you’re an American at that point.) ;)  That seemed odd at first, but you get used to it.

I recommend: Steam and Cuisine or Afternoon Tea on Puffing Billy in Melbourne, the Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney, the Sydney Bridge Climb, Passions of Paradise day-trips to the Great Barrier Reef, and the live-aboard diving trips on Taka Cruises.  (I did the 5-day/4-night Coral Sea Trip: 14-dives in 5 days: I am worn out.)

I loved every minute of it.  I’m glad I’m back home.

----- Signature and Disclaimer -----

Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Architect at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.

One thought on “Back from Down Under

  1. Aaron Kristoff says:

    Welcome back. I love it down there. I spent my time in Brisbane and Surfers Paradise on the beautiful gold coast. When I heard the name of the city was Surfers Paradise I thought that was just a local moniker for the city and that its actual name is North Hoppinstopberg or something like that. But it really was called Surfers Paradise and you will know why right away when you get there. The no worries attitude was all over there as well.

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