Okay, so I got settled in finally last night, and things aren't so bad. This morning, after a hot shower and some sleep, I started feeling better about my situation. Granted, my place of residence threw a party last night for the residents -- nice and loud -- so sleeping was a bit hard (hard, like my bed).
Internet access is completely different in Australia, and I've taken for granted how we do stuff in the US. For one thing, you buy megabytes not bandwidth. In fact, the university puts a cap on how much downloading you can do per semester. This is enforced by crazy web proxy servers and logging gateways, and other things I don't understand because they're blocked. I've found that a machine with full internet access is like gold. I'm currently lucky, staged in a temp office where the IPs are given out manually, and access is not heavily restricted or authenticated. I've become more self-conscious about my web traffic though, and have installed a traffic monitor to make sure I don't eat bandwidth and draw unwanted attention. Not as much can be said about the network in my sleeping quarters (I will call them that, as that is all they are good for). I need a university network account to even USE the network. I tried tons of ports, and they are blocked by the next hop. There is a small subset of IPs not blocked, and they are all UOW.edu.au. I can't even SSH!
Ok, now with the rant done, I will blather about my trip.
I don't know if there's a beach, but I assume so since the plane spent fourteen hours over some sort of big body of water. I must set out to find it on Friday, or maybe tonight. Rumor says it is five minutes from my room.
The long-ass plane ride wasn't too bad, but due to delays my layovers were cut to zero. Sleeping is hard in econo-chairs, but doable. Noise-canceling headphones are key. I met a geologist on the plane; he monitors coastline beaches in WA. Neat guy.
Got to Sydney airport, waited for my ride, who made me wait another hour and a half for another flight (and another customer). Met a mining-equipment company executive who gave me some sights to see in Wollongong. He was from Pittsburgh.
Got to my new accomodations, and someone else was living there. Left my luggage at the office, walked to campus (35 minutes) and found people. I was in a haze all day, and kind of angry.
This morning things are better, or at least my mood is. I have a place to sleep (although a bit too far to walk to campus -- I have to buy bus tickets), I have food paid for, I have a temporary office, a tolerable financial situation, and the university is working on giving me a network account so I can have Internet in my room.