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The New Apple iPad Launch at Sydney Apple Store – 16 March 2012

The New Apple iPad (iPad 3, 2012) is due to be launched at the Sydney Apple Store in just under 5 hours… I’ve been in the queue since 4:30pm yesterday – comfortably in eighth place.

It was one thing to find out after getting here that Telstra decided to cut Apple’s grass and start selling the new iPad at midnight, but a totally new and totally shocking thing to realize that almost everyone else in the queue with me are here as part of a massive iPad buying and reselling syndicate to export Australia’s/Sydney’s stock of iPads to China.

With the help of my friend fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese translating to me secretly, we have been surrounded by people talking of their plans. Note that most groups of people here are sitting with suitcases at the ready to fill them with iPad stock. When Telstra opened their doors at midnight, many of them flocked to the store buying the iPad limit per person, returning with the new iPads to fill their suitcases and returned in different clothing in an attempt to purchase more. Yes, then finally returning to the queue at the Apple store under the false premise that they were yet to purchase one.

I have now watched about four different ringleaders, including older men and boys that look no older than 18, persuade others in the queue to purchase additional iPads for them using their credit cards over at the Telstra shop, then resume waiting in the queue across the road at Apple.

Only a moment ago one proud and commanding youth got up to announce that he had 600 orders for the new iPad from China. That was before he then delegated a group of them to split up into taxis to travel to Apple Stores, Dick Smiths, JB Hi-fi and Telstra shops across Sydney so that they could maximize their presence and ensure that they met demand.

Estimates for resell price has been discussed to be between $150-460 more than retail price, per unit. One extremely happy camper boasted he would make at least $30000 from this investment.

Now, I have no idea if this stuff is allowed, permitted or legal… But the only observation I really wanted to make is that perhaps the Apple product “shortages” we’ve become so familiar with aren’t only a result of insufficient production… Judging by tonight’s experience, stock is definitely plentiful – it’s just being channelled to a very different destination.

I’ve still got a little bit more to wait – I only want one iPad. Here’s hoping that doesn’t prove too difficult.

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Journal.

I tried to keep one once.

It didn’t work.

I think the sole reason it didn’t work, was because I could never find the right words to express myself. Seriously.

Even right this minute – I feel so much. A mix of many different emotions, hesitations, thoughts & frustrations.

Yet, I can’t even verbalise these in my own head. No vocabulary can suffice.

 

 

And so, again, I write another post not having actually revealed or expressed anything at all. Not having told you anything. Not having fulfilled anything.

R U OK?

Sometimes yes, and sometimes no.

But most times no.

Amsterdam

So, my first week in Europe has been spent exploring Holland, with most of my time spent in the great city of Amsterdam! I don’t even know where to start, there is so much that warrants discussion – great stories and observations to share – but I fear that if I were to write down absolutely everything, this post will never end and you’d not find the time to ever finish reading it.

The Bikes

I always knew that Amsterdam was a city of cyclists – everyone rides a bike, the travel guides warned. And it made perfect sense, its a beautifully flat country with bike paths along both sides of every road. But, never in my life did I imagine this many bikes. To every lamp-post, fence and railing, to every building facade, tree or bench, to pretty much every fixed object are chained scores of bicycles. Big ones, small ones, old ones, new ones. Some with three wheels, and some with two or more seats. It is incredible. And if that isn’t enough, at main train stations and transport hubs are bicycle parking buildings, providing even more bike parking spots. At Amsterdam Centraal, a newly erected four level parking building holds space for over 15,000 bikes for commuters to fill up each day. And yes, they do fill up.

The Public Transport System

Works. Trains, buses, metro, trams, river ferries, canal ferries and currently under construction more underground metro lines in and out of the city. Services are frequent and reliable (although, today there is a strike and interruption in services against the proposed privitisation of the entire network). To use any form of transport, you load up your public transport chipcard, and by scanning in at the beginning of your journey and scanning out at the end, the appropriate fare is docked from your prepaid credit on the card. It’s Sydney’s T-Card system, but actually working! I’ve even fallen in love with the automated ticket machines at the train stations for those who don’t have a chipcard – so simple, so intuitive, so versatile and in four different languages!

The Culture and Heritage

I have never been to a place that has more museums! Everything has a museum. The National Museum, the Archeology Museum, the Van Gough Museum, The Rembrandt Museum, The Sex Museum, The Erotic Museum, The Museum of Bags and Purses, The Jewish Museum, The Historic Museum, and the list continues!

The older terraces in the heart of Amsterdam are also incredibly narrow (the most narrow one being only 1 metre wide!). To get furniture into them they each have a hook at the top of the exterior facade for furniture to be pulley-ed up and slid through the windows. Needless to say, the architecture throughout the city is stunning.

The Red Light District

It’s a shame that such a brilliant city is often only considered a sleazy sex and drugs infested capital. I’d rather call it a progressive and open city that embraces these social “taboos” as social norms, and it does it very well. The red light district at first was quite confronting. Half naked girls stand in windows scattered through narrow laneways and tap at the glass, wink and blow kisses at passers by. And again, there is something for everyone – white, black, latino, fat, skinny, tall or short – whatever your preference, you’d be hard lucked not to find it.

Oh, and did I mention that the red light district doesn’t sleep – unknowingly, I walked through the red light district streets at 9am one morning to get to Rembrandt house (which sits on the other side of the district when coming from Amsterdam Centraal Train Station), only to find girls already smiling and winking at me. I wish I had that kind of stamina for 9am in the morning. But then again, to many of them it was probably the beginning of a typical working day.

That’s all I’ve got time for, for now – let’s see where the rest of this trip takes us!

Nobody likes a complainer…

So, I’m in Amsterdam. After about 24 hours worth of  flying and transits, I’m finally here.I left Sydney for Singapore at about 3:30pm Friday afternoon, and after a three hour transit in Singapore took the second (and much longer) leg to arrive in Amsterdam at approximately 7am Saturday morning.

For the first leg I was sitting next to 6 year old Bruno and his 2 year old sister, Amelia. For the second leg I sat next to an elderly couple (their names I did not ask for)….. which do you think was worse? Nobody ever wants to sit next to little kids – they can be unruly, messy, noisy and obnoxious- are more prone to travel sickness and are fairly inconsiderate when it comes to sleeping times and keeping their voices down….. right? And, well, the opposite would be the more  mature people who are probably veteran travelers or have things in perspective following years of experience….. right? Wrong.

The old folk – or more specifically, the elderly woman, was a nightmare to sit alongside. She did not cease to complain to her husband for the entire 14 hour flight. And she really didn’t make any effort to conceal her disdain, speaking at normal conversational volume in an otherwise incredibly silent cabin. “I want a window seat.” “These tv screens are far too small, the other plane had bigger ones!.” “There was a guy infront of me who was in the toilet for 20 minutes! I thought he was having a shower in there or something.” “The temperature in here is far too hot, if it was any hotter I’d cook. “They better have chicken available for dinner, otherwise I won’t be able to eat anything else.” “The estimated time of arrival is 20 minutes earlier than the time written on our itinerary. How can that be?!” Oh, and my favourite one at takeoff “Hmm… sounds like the plane is about to fall apart, doesn’t it? Doesn’t sound very safe”. I actually felt for her husband who just nodded, smiled, “okayed” and tried to calm her down for the majority of the journey. I had to find a good album on the inflight entertainment unit to drown her out and only took my headphones off when I needed to move from my seat to go to the toilet or stretch my legs.

In comparison, Bruno sat with his Nintendo DS and Pokemon game for about 7 hours with a big grin on his face, happily enjoying the trip and making the most of the experience. His little sister, watching the Wiggles. And yes, Bruno accidently spilled his food on his clothes once, and yes, he accidentlly knocked me while I tried to sleep and woke me up – but things like that are easy to shrug off.

I guess the point of this story is, the old guy should really buy his wife an NDS and introduce her to Pokemon.

Another year gone…

… and am I any more wiser?

Reflection is the key to growing. To developing. To maturing. To learning. To attaining knowledge and wisdom. It would probably be in our best interest to sit and reflect at the end of each day’s work. But, let’s face it, when you live a busy life sometimes that’s just not an option. So instead we’ve got birthdays. A pivotal day in the calendar year that is synonymous with getting older (although, I really do believe that age means nothing!) and growing more mature. Surely enough then, a birthday should at least be your once in a year opportunity to really sit down with yourself and assess your actions, achievements, mistakes and progress over the last 365 days (366 if its a leap year) and set yourself some goals for the next year ahead.

I try to follow this philosophy. How else will I learn, right?

Well this last year I’ve achieved a lot – things that I am proud of and will forever cherish and hold as crucial moments in my growth as a person. These things I know will shape me quite positively in my professional, social, spiritual and psychological development. However, in the same way, this past year is marred by some things that I am incredibly regretful and ashamed of. Things that only bring pain, hurt and disgust when I bring them to the forecourts of my mind’s inner thoughts. How could I have been so gullible? How could I have been so stupid? How could I have been so selfish? These are only a sample of the questions that bombard me. So reflection becomes a war of two worlds. A painful and confronting experience that sometimes I wish I never embarked on.

The conclusion is this, do not be blinded by your achievements and do not be blind to the underlying significance of your actions and of other’s (whether good or bad!). Do not be obsessed with success without seeing your faults and do not be obsessed with trivial or frivolous matters. And finally, do not be empty of goodness, love and peace – be filled with joy, meaning and purpose. And maybe then, in fact only then, will you reflect and see that you are indeed growing wiser.