Sydney us very much a tourist city, I felt as though even the shop owners weren't Australian.
There are street performers everywhere, barely far enough to not have to yell over one another.
The view from the balcony of our YHA.
The opera house.
More of the view- Orion is upside down in the sky
Featherdale Wildlife Park:
This wildlife park was pretty different than the first. Few animals were in cages and most were allowed to freely wander the park. In regards to pwtting the animals I thought it was a bit worst, even though the animals were more condensed to specific areas they tended to walk away from people who didnt feed them. All the tourists were feeding the animals unhealthy things like chips, which made me a little ubcomfortable. Even if they like the special treatment, the animals clearly only cared about being fed; whereas, those at the other sanctuary were simply accustomed to people petting them without expecting food. Plus, this park was set up like a zoo with small enclosures for each animal, while the first was a sanctuary with appropriately large pens per animal.
My camera died, but I still got a picture holding a baby joey. I need my own. Apparently you can toilet train them and they will go on walks with you. Plus, a kangaroo would be such an awesome guard animal- it would box a robber.
I also held a snake, which isn't as awesome as a tiny baby kangaroo.
Blue Mountain Tours:
We went on two hikes through the blue mountains. The first was only 30 minutes and the second was about 45 through a rainforest. The second involved a 90 second ride on the steepest land train in the world. Since we werent strapped in many people screamed... Some more than others.
View from the first walk - camera died before second.
On our way to lunch in a 360 degree rotating cafe, we went on these gondolas with opaque floors. Once we were sufficiently far above the tree tops the floor turned clear.
Sydney Harbor boat tour:
This boat tour narrated important and historical landmarks along the Sydney water line. We learned about their housing and employment troubles during their depression and the islands they used to house criminals.
Federal Reserve Bank of Australia:
The walls of Australias Federal Reserve are covered in humorous and lively posters for war bonds.
Jeff Conins and Richard Finlay spoke to our group about the monetary policies and economic outlooks for the Australia Federal Reserve.
The reserve bank of Australia is responsible for:
- monetary policy
- payments system stability and efficiency
- financial system stability
- issuing Auatralia's currency
- banker to the government
- managing foreign exchange
How do they implement monetary policy?
US adjusts rates, but in Australia interbank transactions are settled by RBA accounts which in theory changes the amount of money in the system to set the interest rate. But, they really never have to make adjustments. The market is smaller here than in the US so there are fewer players to play the game, so you cant cheat without it being seen and getting hurt the next day.
How does the RBA affect inflation?
- the RBA Board sets the policy interest rate ('cash rate')
- changes in the cash rate affect other interest rates in the economy
- changes in these interest rates affect private consumption and investment
- inflation likely to be steady and low when total spending is close to output
Australia uses a floating exchange rate. Their cash rate turned out better than expected in global economic downturn. Fluctuation is dependant on the economy at that time.
Purple line is what impacts them the most.
As a result of the Queensland flooding there could be fear of countries like China looking for alternate sources of resources like coal, but they expect little long term impact. At te same time, they simultaneously expect exports to increase alongside a strengthening Auatralian dollar.
China has a great deal of influence on Auatralian economy, gives all the control to government policy. The US' concern over China's currency is not experienced here.
The prices of things Australia can buy for its exports. Past the yellow line are future estimates.
Minimum wage in Australia is a little above $10 per hour. Unemployment is undesirably high.
Overseas students are primarily from China and India
Shows Australian governments impact on economy.
Before the crisis they had an inflation problem - now the interest rate is stabalizing. Foreclosure rates have little impact on the interest rate. Also, the net debt in Australia is only 5% GDP.
Australians are very intense about being one step ahead of counterfeitors. They have 7 layers of security in each of their dollars and use polymer technology to make counterfeiting virtually impossible. For inatance, the clear window on currency flunks scanners. Their mottos seemed to be, "if people lose faith in their money it can bring an econony to its knees." Additionally, the Australian Fed always has extra precautions prepared in case they need to add more counterfeiting protection to their money.
While on the topic of currency, Australians prefer to have "colorful" people on their currency notes like an old counterfeiter and women. While these deciaiina may be somewhat controversial, they always are meant to fit the theme of that new currency. Their process decides who gets on the notes via picking a theme, and polling Australians to see who they think fits the theme... Its kinda like Family Feud.
While our fed has focused its recent efforts on the purchase and sale of treasury securities, the Australian Reserve Bank focuses its cental operations on adjutments of the cash rate.
Some of the currency money of the world.
Sydney Opera House:
The Sydney Opera House tour was very informational. The guide told us the history of the Opera House and took us of a tour including every theatre and seeing the largest organ in the world. Unfortunately, we werent allowed to take photos in any of these places, but I have a few photos of the architecture.
Essentually, Sydney wanted an Opera House on its harbor so they made a competition for architects to submit their plans before a comittee. Thousands were submitted, but eventually a late arriving judge chose and fought for a late arriving piece which the others previously disregarded. The building of the Opera House took a long time, over 10 years but I dont remember how long, because the architectural techniques used had to be invented as they went. Towards the end of its conpletion, the governmentnwas so upset with the costs they fired the head arhitect. He never saw his completed master piece before he died some 30 years after its grand opening by the Queen. The ending is not quite as sad as it seems, in the 90s they offered him a position, but he refused to return to Sydney and instead wrote up the designs for the next 50 years and appointed his son head architect.
The basic structure comes out of a semi circular mold, this allows all the tires to have the same mold and angle.
He chose the "v" shape to accentuate the curves of the building.
1 million 56,006 tiles
Quantas Airlines Airport Tour:
QUANTAS stands for Queensland And North Transic Airservices. Our tour took us through the more recent advances made by QUANTAS. The most interesting were their new RFID luggage tags which store all a persons account information so they can bypass baggage claim. These tags are the size and shape of drink coasters, yet can save a traveler a lot if time.
QUANTAS also takes great pride in their efficiency. They have recently developed self kiosks and baggage weighing/ claim services. One concern with this automation was layoffs, but they now have more employees to help customers and are almost twice as efficient during check in.
Their employee management is aomewhat unique as well. They call it "public pride and private pain." Since QUANTAS is auxh a respectable company the employees all claim to be proud to work for QUANTAS, but if asked directly they will list issues with their job. Still, as an be seen in the terminal many retired employees return as volunteers in customer service.
Also in regards to their employee policy. If employee goes on strike for 1 minute they are docked 4 hours then have to finish their 40hr work week in their time off. Rather harsh punishment, but labor unions dont exist to do anything so strikes don't happen.
Childrens play section of Business Lounge
Free computers in the Business Lounge
QUANTAS museum inside the airport - they had a tv playing priceless old commercials
Google was one of the most interesting locations we went all trip. Claire Hatton provided our presentation. She spoke mainly of her life leading up to Google, probabky to emphasize how hard it is to get a job with Google.
Although we werent allowed to take photos, I got a few in locations they were more relaxed. Things missing: bathtub tables, fish tanks, snack room, play room, a beach themed floor. water tiles with gel that moves when you step... And so much more.
Jungle themed floor
You use a barcode scanner on your phone to view the schedule for the confernce room.
Google earth - wall
This is on the ceiling...
One final reflection left out from the rest of my posts:
Floods: You may see floods on tv, in movies, and in papers there is nothing like experiencing a flood first hand. Seeing the refugees and the destroyed property first hand is something I cannot fathom being able to word. It makes you feel very sad and hollow to see the water continuously rising above peoples houses. To put it into some sort of perspective. Queensland is the region which was flooded, Queensland is the Australian version of Florida - they even call it "The Sunshine State." The majority of their produce and farming is produced in Queensland, and this has been impacted by 11 years of drought. This means they have dealt with a water shortage for 11 years - limiting themselves to 4 minute showers and charging as much for a bottle of water as a bottle of wine. The ground was completely unable to handle rain, let alone endless torrential down-pouring rain. When we left many businesses and restaurants were putting up signs saying they would not be able to perform as usual until the flood damage was past, and putting out donation boxes. I've been told the flood was as large as Texas and New Mexico combined... I don't want to think about how many lives have now been lost or destroyed due to the rain. I believe, when we left the count was at 66.
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