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Waz05

Brisbane Advice

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Hi,

My first post, we are family of four with two boys (7 & 8). We are visiting Australia this summer and will be Brisbane mid-August. We are staying around the corner from Queensland Museum.

We would grateful for any advice.

1. Family friendly inner suburbs to visit and schools. We want to get a feel of the place before starting our visa process.

2. Should we consider rental car or use public transport to get around?

3. Anyone know where I can find out list of all hospitals in Brisbane. My wife qualifies as a nurse and I have I.T background. We want get idea around commute.

So far we have looked in Paddington, St Lucia and Toowong. They seem centrally located but any advice on these and other suburbs would be great.

Thanks in advance,

Waz

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Welcome Waz. There's some forum  information on suburbs here: https://www.pomsinoz.com/forum/12-queensland/

here: https://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/about-council/council-information-rates/brisbane-suburbs

 

Reviews by people who actually live in the suburbs: https://www.homely.com.au/search/suburbs-in-brisbane-queensland

 

Public transport is good but will take you a while to get round suburbs if you want to take a look. Best to hire so that you can take more in.

Hospitals : https://www.myhospitals.gov.au/browse-hospitals/qld/brisbane/brisbane

The suburns that you mention are centrally located yes, but you will pay the price for living there.

Don't hesitate to contact me vi pm (you will have to get your post count up) for specifics, or when you come over and feel you need guidance on anything.

 

 


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There are lots of hospitals outside of inner city so if you don't have to be in the city you may find cheaper rentals etc . Realestate.com will give you a good idea of rental and purchase costs on property and you can search by suburb.

The question about a car versus public transport would boil down to yourselves and what you like to do in 'free time' without a car you would be quite restricted and there are some fantastic areas out there to explore that aren't really accessible with public transport, so it would be a shame to miss out. A day at Australia zoo, exploring the rain forest at Mt Tamborine, visiting the massive variety of beaches, parks and water parks are all things we enjoyed doing as a family on weekends and holidays when we first arrived but none would really be do-able on a bus or train.

 Lots of luck with everything, Brisbane is a fantastic place.

  Cal x

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Bulimba is a great place for families but also quite expensive. 

Check out Wynnum, Wellington Point & Cleveland - all are popular with families too.

Springfield Lakes is a very modern and young area (southside) with great facilities.

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Hi Waz,

We are in a similar situation to you, we have family of 4, with 2 boys aged 7 & 5.  My wife is a nurse and I have an IT background.  We're heading out to Australia in May, looking to visit Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.  I'm hoping that my wife has employment options in all 3 areas, but I think I might find it harder to find work, I have a background in database development but I have more recently been focusing on web development, as there seems to be more jobs in this area.  I'm willing to take a step back to a junior level, if it means we can live in the area we want.  Ideally, my wife would find employment prior to going out there, or at least having made some initial contacts with a view to having some interviews shortly after arrival.  My wife will probably have to take a step back also, as I doubt she'll be able to move into an equivalent position straight away. 

We're going to try and arrange a visit to a couple of hospitals, hopefully we can arrange a meeting with someone from HR, who can then give some info regarding potential job prospects and what it's like working at the hospital.  Though I've no idea how easy this would be to organise.

We're renting a car while we're out there, definitely think this will be useful for visiting suburbs.  Also, thinking of arranging a few viewings.  When we finally move out, I had considered using public transport, along with a car share service such as Go Get where necessary.  We're going to be on a pretty tight budget initially, no savings to speak of, so if we can do without a car for a short period this might help.  It will be interesting to see how the work situation develops, my expectation was higher cost of living but also higher wages, but it looks like we'll have comparable wages initially (as in less senior positions).  On which basis, we can either expect to rack up some debt in the short term or try and live within our means.  Given that the first couple of years are fairly crucial in determining whether to stick it out or not, I think we'll probably opt for the former, which is not ideal but so be it.

Good luck!

Regards

BFB

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, bigfishybob said:

Hi Waz,

We are in a similar situation to you, we have family of 4, with 2 boys aged 7 & 5.  We're going to be on a pretty tight budget initially, no savings to speak of,

That statement concerns me, especially with family to consider.  Migrating is expensive.  Do you mean you'll have no savings once you've paid for the migration, or are you proposing to go into debt to finance your move and initial setup?   Have you done a budget to work out how much the move will cost?  Most people find it's at least $40,000.  I'm wondering whether you can really afford to migrate at this point.   

In your shoes, I'd be thinking twice about even bothering with the recce visit in May, because you're going to need every penny for the actual move.  

Edited by Marisawright

Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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17 hours ago, bigfishybob said:

Hi Waz,

My wife will probably have to take a step back also, as I doubt she'll be able to move into an equivalent position straight away. 

 

That will rely mainly on how quickly she wants to get into the workforce. I've known nurses who have jumped at the first offer of a job and others who have been lucky and found situations vacant relevant to their UK Level. Qld Health used to, and to the best of my current knowledge, still does, afford recognition of UK nurses' levels. So if you're clinical nurse, they will recognise that. I'm not familiar with UK nursing levels as they are now, but equivalent positions are afforded to new migrants with recognition of the UK levels.


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Marisawright,

Thanks for your message.

We have decent equity (~50%) in our property, but we are looking to rent this out in case it all goes horribly wrong and we have to come back.  We have the option of re-mortgaging our property to release some equity, but are currently tied in to a long term mortgage and we're about 4 years through the initial 10 year fixed period.  So, if we re-mortgage now it will cost £10k in penalties, or if we wait a year it will cost £5k in penalties.  There's also the issue with it not being a buy-to-let mortgage, so we might have to re-mortgage anyway, or see if we can get consent-to-let for a couple of years.  

Assuming we go down the consent-to-let option, which seems to be the preferred option at the moment.  We would then probably look to use whatever money we've managed to save in the run up to the move plus some sort of loan in the region of £10k-£20k, which would get us towards the $40k figure you mention.  If we then have to go back, we can revert to our original mortgage.  Alternatively, if a year or so in, we need additional funds we can re-mortgage as a buy-to-let and take some equity out of the property, or sell up completely.

In terms of budgeting, it's hard to do that with any degree of accuracy at this stage, as we don't know exactly where we want to move and we don't have any job offers so we don't know how much we would be earning.  I am aware of pay rates for developer and nursing roles and have had a look at the cost various rental properties etc, so I have an approximation and I am aware of the costs quoted by other people who have gone through the process. 

Whilst I agree that the recce to Aus does seem like an unnecessary expense at this stage, it will be helpful in terms of finalising our plans and building a more accurate budget, and more importantly we’ve never been to Australia before so this trip is essential for determining that this is the right decision.

Irrespective, it seems to be the experience of many that regardless of what planning you do, the only way to find out whether it’s right for you and the family is to do it.  I’m aware of the risks/costs and we have contingency plans in the event that it doesn’t work out or in the event of needing more funds.  Whatever we do though, successful or not, we are going to end up spending a lot of money, some of which we are not going to get back.  I’m of the opinion that if we going to give this a go, then let’s crack on and do it. 

Regards

BFB

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Posted (edited)

Johndoe,

Thanks for this.  My wife is a Matron at the moment.  I’ve spoken to a few other people on this forum about this, some of the feedback I had was that she may have to go back to a nursing role initially (though reflective of her experience), but within a year or 2 she would be able to apply for managerial type roles.  Things will work differently out in Aus, so she will no doubt have to learn the ropes first, though if the options are there to apply for these sorts of roles straightaway then she would definitely look at this.  This is one of the things she hopes to discuss if we can arrange a meeting with an HR representative.

I created a separate thread regarding nursing roles UK vs Aus and had some helpful responses regarding this, as I wasn’t sure how this would work:

Regards 

BFB

Edited by bigfishybob

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Johndoe – Thank you very much for the links, they have been very useful. I will certainly get in touch closer to time, any advice is always useful.

Cal – Thank you we are going to hire a car but I wanted to check. We are starting in Sydney, then headed up to Sunshine coast first, back to Brisbane for few days before going up to Gold coast for our final week.

Goofy2018 – We looked into those suburbs you mentioned. Springfield Lakes looks amazing but I worry about the commute.  Our original thoughts were Gold coast we looked at Southport, Pacific Pine but again based on our research the commute back into Brisbane CBD kind of put us off.  

Part of our holiday for me is to get an idea of daily commute and if it’s do able.  It's a difficult one, where we are trying to find the right balance between commuting and cost of living, childcare and etc. If my wife can find a job up at Gold coast, I will probably live with one hour commute to Brisbane. 

Bigfishybob – Very interesting to hear from you, as you said we are in exact same situation as you, I would love to keep in touch and hear how things progress for you.  

I spoke to a gentleman at Hays today and he has given me lots of food for thought.

·         The chances of finding an I.T job before arriving are pretty slim.

·         Look at contract work to start with.

·         Most of my experience is in public sector which may limit my options initially.  

·         Busy time for I.T job market is June- September.

·         Salary expectation would be anything from $70-90k initially (BA or Project positions I have come across are above $100k but I am not expecting that on day one).

Most of this confirms my own research.

Finance is a big worry for me as we will be renting certainly for at least 3 years before we are in a position to buy. We have our savings, with a plan to have enough funds to support us for at least 6-12 months if we can’t find jobs.  Downside is due number of reasons we can’t take any equity out of our current home or sell it. So we restricted with our savings and what we earn in Oz.

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6 hours ago, Waz05 said:

Goofy2018 – We looked into those suburbs you mentioned. Springfield Lakes looks amazing but I worry about the commute.  Our original thoughts were Gold coast we looked at Southport, Pacific Pine but again based on our research the commute back into Brisbane CBD kind of put us off.  

Part of our holiday for me is to get an idea of daily commute and if it’s do able.  It's a difficult one, where we are trying to find the right balance between commuting and cost of living, childcare and etc. If my wife can find a job up at Gold coast, I will probably live with one hour commute to Brisbane. 

Springfield Lakes might still be ok e.g. if you end up working in the CBD you could go to work by train. There is also a big hospital in Ipswich so your wife could look at job opportunities there. Ipswich is in the opposite direction, away from the CBD, so traffic wouldn't be as bad. It would only be a 15-20 min. drive for her. I know Springfield Lakes is popular with families because it's new and modern and has all the facilities you need right there.

I've worked with several people who live on the Gold Coast over the years and the commute is a lot longer than 1 hour. A lot of people commute so traffic is horrendous. Driving to Brisbane CBD is more likely to take at least 1.5 hours or even longer. 

There are also a few train stations on the GC so you could drive to one of those and catch a train to the CBD. I believe the train from Nerang takes about 1.5 hours (not sure whether this is still the case).

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I will definitely let you know how things progress and pass along any info from my upcoming trip.

Interesting feedback from Hays, that’s pretty much what I’ve come to expect.  Though at the start of the whole process I had hoped that as these were in demand occupations and that there would be active efforts to recruit from the UK.  It actually sounds pretty competitive.  On the plus side, it’s one less thing that I have to do before coming out.  I will still try and make  contact and see if there’s any interest.  I’m not against finding any employment initially to provide some income, ideally somewhere that has potential IT opportunities, if not current job openings.  Seems to be a lot easier to find and apply for a job internally.  Building contacts and networking appear to be helpful in finding work also.

Hope it all comes together for you and your family.

Regards

BFB

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, bigfishybob said:

We have decent equity (~50%) in our property, but we are looking to rent this out in case it all goes horribly wrong and we have to come back. ...Whilst I agree that the recce to Aus does seem like an unnecessary expense at this stage...we’ve never been to Australia before so this trip is essential for determining that this is the right decision.

OK, in that case the recce sounds like a good idea.  You sound like you've got your head screwed on, so I"m sure you'll try to strike a balance between having a holiday and discovering what it's really like to live in Australia - e.g.. don't book a nice hotel by the beach, book an AirBnB in the suburbs because that's the reality of where you'll be living.  

Going back to your original post - I'd say Brisbane is your best bet, to be sure of getting work.  There's not much work on the Gold Coast itself, a lot of the population commute from the Gold Coast to Brisbane.   The Sunshine Coast is too far from Brisbane to commute, and a lot of it is rural. The towns are mainly tourist towns, not business centres.  I'm always surprised how many migrants want to move to the Sunshine Coast, I guess because it offers the classic sun-and-sand Australian Dream, but work is hard to find.

I'm not the right person to offer much other info on Queensland because I can't live there - the summers are way too hot and humid for me. It would be fine if I could sit in a shady spot by the beach all day, but commuting on the train with sweat dripping off my nose is not my idea of fun!   Everyone's different, my sister relishes the Queensland heat but I feel like I'm about to explode.

It's a pity you're coming in the middle of winter, because the weather will be absolutely gorgeous and you'll get no idea of how you'll react to the heat.  It's easy for Brits to assume that hot weather can't be bad, but it's very likely hotter and more humid than you've ever experienced.  This map is a good guide to comparisons with other cities, you'll see that Brisbane is similar to Alexandria:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3511935/Map-shows-countries-world-match-Australian-climates.html

... which is interesting, because of you use the "compare opposite hemispheres" function on the map below, you'll see that Brisbane is somewhere in the middle of Africa:

http://www.bytemuse.com/post/interactive-equivalent-latitude-map/

It just goes to show it's more than just latitude that determines climate.

Edited by Marisawright

Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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Marisawright,

Many thanks for your post, some excellent advice.

I agree Brisbane seems like the main place for jobs, so I’m pretty resigned to having to go there for work and to live.  Though there do seem to be a few web developer type roles in GC and SC, presumably tied to tourism, so we’ll definitely take a look.  SC does look like it will be quiet, though this may be appealing (?), GC looks like it would be fun for the kids, but Brisbane looks the most practical for a number of reasons.

I started a web development company last year, with a view to developing some more transferable skills and potentially then having some ongoing work while making the transition to Aus.  If I could grow this business it would give us some flexibility, but this is hard to achieve whilst still working a full time job.

I think we’re arriving very late autumn, the temperature looks comparable to a British summer. Which I agree will give a false impression.  I think we’ll find the summer humidity challenging, but then I find the seemingly ceaseless wet, cold and dark of a British winter challenging.  I was surprised to hear that suits in offices appears to be the norm, we seem to have moved away from that a bit in the UK.  Commuting in a suit in the heat does sound horrendous, changing facilities at work would be welcome!  Air conditioned garage to air conditioned car park would be preferable.

Thanks again.

BFB

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Posted (edited)

I'm surprised to hear suits are the norm, too, but then I worked in Sydney.   Queensland has the reputation of being more conservative, so maybe they do still wear suits there.  

I'd say the same people wear suits in Sydney or Melbourne as the ones who wear suits in the UK - bankers, real estate agents, hipster executives.   IT workers are more likely to be wearing a shirt without a tie, though long sleeves are still the norm - even though all men wear short sleeves or T-shirts off-duty.  

Oops, got you confused with Waz who's travelling in August, which is definitely winter.   May is the end of Autumn, as you say, pretty much like a British summer.  

Edited by Marisawright

Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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I could well be wrong about the suits, think I read that on here somewhere, but no idea to be honest.

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2 hours ago, bigfishybob said:

Marisawright,

  I was surprised to hear that suits in offices appears to be the norm, we seem to have moved away from that a bit in the UK.

BFB

Not to my knowledge Shirt and tie maybe but not suits. I have quite a few acquaintances in Accountancy and IT and they only wear a suit in winter because of the colder temps, not because it's compulsory

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Waz,

Not particularly useful regarding car rental, but if you are looking to get a car when you move out there...

I was just reading an article that said small economy cars are very competitively priced in Aus.  It was from 2016, so a little out of date, but it quoted a Toyota Corolla as being 65% cheaper than the UK.  So, I thought I'd check out what the prices were now for a Kia Piccanto (budget but 7 year warranty) and it looks to be around £8k/$14k.  I think the same car is over £1k more in the UK, so more like 15% cheaper.  It does provide some decent options though if you were looking to lease/contract-hire/finance, for a relatively low.  Salary packaging seems like quite an interesting option too.  I thought cars in general were a lot more expensive in Australia, though it does appear to naturally vary from range-to-range and manufacturer-to-manufacturer, presumably cheaper from South Korea, Japan etc as less far to ship. 

Regards

BFB

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I have been looking at Gumtree to get an idea of cost of car. We currently have Hyundai SUV which we love and ideally we would love to get SUV if we were to make the move. But I am very realistic about expectation and what we can afford in the first few years. Its about compromise,  hard work and we could have a great life in the long run. 

We felt it was important to visit the place before jumping in and starting the visa process. In terms of coming over in August this was down to fact schools around here are very strict on school holidays and plus my wife doesn't finish her degree until July. We were in Dubai few years back for a holiday, it hit 45 degrees and last year we were in Rome when it was 35. We are aware it going to be very hot. 

Thank you, you have all been very helpful.

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17 hours ago, Waz05 said:

We were in Dubai few years back for a holiday, it hit 45 degrees and last year we were in Rome when it was 35. We are aware it going to be very hot. 

Completely different climate though...dry heat vs humid heat here. I liked the heat in the UAE too but struggle to get through summer here in Brisbane.

A lot of people like the heat but struggle with the humidity.

A holiday is also different from living somewhere and having to dress up and go to work and function all day. No naps.

Imagine you've just gotten out of the shower and you're trying to dry yourself off but you just can't get completely dry. And trying to get dressed for a corporate job and get to work without your clothes being soaked with sweat. 

Some modern office buildings in the CBD have shower facilities, but most don't. Not sure about workplaces on the coast. Even if you work somewhere that has these facilities, imagine having to carry a suit/trousers/shirt/toiletries/towel to and from work every day. And carry your wet clothes home.

When you finally make it to work the aircon is so cold it's about 19 degrees and you sit at your desk shivering and end up with a headache from the cold. Then back into the humidity at lunchtime or after work. 

If you travel to/from Brisbane Central train station you'll be waiting for the train on a mostly closed in platform which traps the heat together with hundreds of other commuters.

Imagine your wet bathroom towels hanging on a rail in your bathroom for 3 days and still not being dry. 

Imagine your hair almost permanently damp for months on end. 

Some people are fine living in a humid climate but it's a definitely a daily struggle for a lot of others. 

Be prepared 😁.

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45 minutes ago, Goofy2018 said:

Completely different climate though...dry heat vs humid heat here. I liked the heat in the UAE too but struggle to get through summer here in Brisbane.

A lot of people like the heat but struggle with the humidity.

A holiday is also different from living somewhere and having to dress up and go to work and function all day. No naps.

Imagine you've just gotten out of the shower and you're trying to dry yourself off but you just can't get completely dry. And trying to get dressed for a corporate job and get to work without your clothes being soaked with sweat. 

Some modern office buildings in the CBD have shower facilities, but most don't. Not sure about workplaces on the coast. Even if you work somewhere that has these facilities, imagine having to carry a suit/trousers/shirt/toiletries/towel to and from work every day. And carry your wet clothes home.

When you finally make it to work the aircon is so cold it's about 19 degrees and you sit at your desk shivering and end up with a headache from the cold. Then back into the humidity at lunchtime or after work. 

If you travel to/from Brisbane Central train station you'll be waiting for the train on a mostly closed in platform which traps the heat together with hundreds of other commuters.

Imagine your wet bathroom towels hanging on a rail in your bathroom for 3 days and still not being dry. 

Imagine your hair almost permanently damp for months on end. 

Some people are fine living in a humid climate but it's a definitely a daily struggle for a lot of others. 

Be prepared 😁.

@Goofy2018

Have you actually lived or are living in Brisbane? My towels dry out within the hour. My hair has never been damp for months on end. Aircon is mostly set at 24d. The only problem I have is my glasses steaming up when I step out of the air con car. I find that the humidity is quite tolerable for  around 42 weeks of the year and the other 10 are nowhere near as bad as you are making out.

 

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22 minutes ago, Johndoe said:

@Goofy2018

Have you actually lived or are living in Brisbane? My towels dry out within the hour. My hair has never been damp for months on end. Aircon is mostly set at 24d. The only problem I have is my glasses steaming up when I step out of the air con car. I find that the humidity is quite tolerable for  around 42 weeks of the year and the other 10 are nowhere near as bad as you are making out.

 

Yes I've been living here for years and still struggle with the humidity which is why I'm getting out of here.

I sweat pretty much constantly from October to April/May. My aircon & fan are on for 8 months every year.

I live in a small apartment and my towels don't dry in the bathroom. I don't have an outdoor area to dry washing in the sun.

My hair is always a mess and usually tied back because of the humidity (long hair). I experience all of the above every day.

The aircon in most shopping centres, offices I've worked in and cinemas I go to is way too cold for me to the point where I take a jumper with me. It's definitely a lot colder than 24 degrees in the places I go to.

In my opinion the weather in Brisbane is intolerable from October to May (8 months) and ideal the other 4 months. 

Everyone is different though, some people tolerate humidity a lot better but the weather is probably the thing I hate the most here. I've had overseas friends who 'love the heat' visit and they hated the weather here as well. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Johndoe said:

@Goofy2018

Have you actually lived or are living in Brisbane? My towels dry out within the hour. My hair has never been damp for months on end. Aircon is mostly set at 24d. The only problem I have is my glasses steaming up when I step out of the air con car. I find that the humidity is quite tolerable for  around 42 weeks of the year and the other 10 are nowhere near as bad as you are making out.

 

It's such a personal thing, though.   

I haven't lived in Brisbane full-time but I had good friends in  Southport whom I stayed with a lot, and also spent a lot of time in Brisbane for work.  The worst thing was going to meetings - because in modern offices, everyone goes out to coffee shops for meetings, and you often end up in a trendy hole-in-the-wall, or  at an outdoor table.  I well remember a really important meeting, where I was sitting there with sweat literally dripping off the end of my nose.  I was mortified.

As Goofy pointed out, it's the humidity that's the problem, NOT the heat - so having visited Rome or Dubai gives the OP no idea of what it's like, unfortunately.  I can happily walk down Rundle Mall in Adelaide in 40 degrees and not bat an eyelid, but when it's humid, I can't cope.   My fingers swell up and I'm so hot, I feel like I'm going to explode. I even went to see the doctor about it once, and she said there was nothing wrong - I've just got Scottish genes better suited to cold weather!  There was another poster recently who had exactly the same problem, so it's not that unusual really.

Google "wet bulb" temperature and you'll see that when it's humid, the body has to work a lot harder to cope with the heat.  My body obviously doesn't cope with it as well as some other people's.

That's why I said it was a pity our OP can't visit in midsummer, because there's no predicting how they might feel about the temperature. Having lived in Africa for three years, I'd never have guessed I would find the heat in Queensland so intolerable.

As for the air con - I worked in facilities management for several companies, and believe me, a lot of offices set their air con at 19 degrees!  It's ridiculous and costs a fortune in electricity, so i was forever nagging the maintenance guys to reset the system to 23/24 degrees (only to find it back at 19 again on my next visit, grrr).  

Edited by Marisawright
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"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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Yeah I guess you're both right. Everyone reacts differently. Strangely enough, my body must be in some kind of "reverse mode' because I do alright outside and then when I step into an air conditioned shopping mal or home, if the kids have turned it, on that's when I start to sweat. It settles down after a while but the first 15 minutes after stepping into air con, the sweat drips off me? I mentioned it to the GP because it only started to happen after I had the quad bypass but he had no answers


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