Forest Ants at Home

I've only got this long left in Australia:

Oz, I called you yesterday…

…but you still haven’t called back. Damned tease.

Actually, while I did call Australia, I didn’t call an ostensibly exciting part — I called the Westin Hotel in Sydney. So what? It’s a hotel. Well, it is a nice hotel.

When colonial architect James Barnet designed the famous General Post Offiice building at No. 1 Martin Place in 1864, he intended to create a centerpiece for Sydney that would signal its coming of age. [...] Westin lovingly restored the classic building, now heritage listed, transforming it into a luxury 416 room masterpiece. The Black and White stair came back to life in black slate and white marble. The former telegraph exchange became the Heritage ballroom. The old telephone exchange hall now houses the Health Club and a crystalline indoor swimming pool. Last but not least, the magnificent Grand Stair, demolished in the 1920s, rose again in cast iron and polished Australian cedar. Known as the point from which all points in Sydney were originally measured, No.1 Martin Place has certainly earned the right to be described as the true heart of the city.

-from the Starwood Hotels and Resorts “big book”

For those unaquainted (with myself) I work at another (somewhat less eminent) Westin, in Rancho Mirage California. Needless to say calling Sydney was long distance. Fourteen full digits worth: 011 61 2 8223 1111. Try it some time. Just for fun, count how long it takes to connect. Turn the volume up to hear those portentous and plentiful little clicks that signal fiber-optic lines kicking into high gear. Marvel at the perplexingly not-American ring indicator. And be somewhat surprised (although you really shouldn’t be) at the pleasant Australian strine on the other end.

Yes, I called Australia. I was looking for a job. But I didn’t get one — my working holiday visa only allows the traveller-cum-workingman one job every three months. Westin doesn’t play that game. That’s fine with me; my journey is one of life experience, not job experience. I just needed to know if there was a job waiting there for me. Because right now, I have no idea what I am actually going to be doing in that far-flung antipodean land.

It was nice to call there, though. Now I’m pretty sure it exists.