So I finally took the time to sort out this whole primary/secondary blog business with tumblr. Apparently updatesfromdownunder is my primary blog which, until I return to Oz in the distant future, I plan to keep retired. Unfortunately I can’t convert my primary blog to my new blog, ezbgz.tumblr.com (that’s easy beejeezy).
So if you follow me on UPDATES, start following me on EZ instead! And stop by www.bjklophaus.com too!
What I didn’t count on was how much would be closed during Easter Weekend. Good Friday is a public holiday, Sunday is Easter, and Monday is Anzac Day (Memorial Day type deal). So when I showed up on Friday afternoon it literally felt like a ghost city. Everything was closed, there were no cars or people, and it was eerily quiet in the capital city of Western Australia. But most of my weekend’s activities took place outside of the city, so I didn’t mind it so much.
Friday afternoon I went to Cottesloe Beach. The water is clear and gorgeous, and long enough for me to find a spot all to myself. So I got the novelty of swimming in the Indian Ocean, which means I’ve hit up 3 out of 4 of the world’s oceans…and I don’t see myself swimming in the Arctic so I’m content with where I stand.
Friday evening I walked up to King’s Park which is a memorial park to those who served in the armed forces. It overlooks the city, so I got one of my essential nighttime skyline photos.
Saturday I decided to do some homework. I took a tour of the Swan Valley wine region, which I consider ‘studying’ for my Wine Industry exam. We went to 5 wineries and a brewery. All great fun, although by the end I wasn’t tasting wine so much as I was drinking it. I met some friendly people on the tour (everyone was friendlier as the day progressed) including a German couple who lived in Melbourne, an electrician and his two Scottish friends, and a couple who were visiting for Anzac Day but lived in Kansas for years and took a road trip around the States.
Sunday I spent the day at Rottnest Island, located just off the coast of Perth and accessible by ferry. There are no cars on the island except for tour buses, so the main form of transportation is by bike. I almost wasn’t going to hire one but I’m glad I did, because it made transportation throughout the whole island much more enjoyable than walking or riding the tour shuttle. I saw Quokkas, a native rodent-like animal that hops around like a wallaby. I was going to poke one that I saw sitting on the side of the road, but I have a personal policy against poking wild animals. Although these guys are rather people-friendly because they get fed by the tourists. The day was relaxing and I had good weather for most of it, although it did cloud up at the end. But I enjoyed taking a dip in a few of the empty beaches that I came across.
When I got back I ate dinner at a place called Fast Eddy’s which the electrician and his friends raved about. It’s a 24-hour diner, but not so similar to Jersey diners. It had a nice atmosphere though, with old posters and pictures and antique signs and objects hanging from the ceiling. And the food was amazing, although a bit pricey.
My last day was a tour of the Pinnacles Desert. The itinerary included a stop at a wildlife reserve, a rock lobstering town on the coast (where we didn’t eat lobster for lunch) the Pinnacles Desert, and sand boarding. It was a large 48-person coach tour, with our guide giving us a half hour lecture about green energy and reverse osmosis while we passed a wind farm and an hour long lecture about nuclear physics on the drive home. Literally it was a nonstop spew of information which was impressive, but I would have preferred to just listen to music. But the tour itself was pretty cool. The Pinnacles Desert is a desert which is actually within site of the ocean, with limestone rock formations jutting out of the ground. It was pretty neat, although not as impressive as I expected it to be. But hey, I still enjoyed it.
But the sand-boarding was a bigger highlight for me. It’s basically sledding down a sand dune. I got a ton of sand in my eyes and my jeans, but fortunately my camera remained safe…I hope. I think I enjoyed it so much because the landscape was unlike anything I’ve experienced before. And we had great lighting for photography, just as the sun was setting. We actually ended up seeing the sunset from the dunes because the 4WD bus that was supposed to pick us up got a flat tire so they had to send another one.
So in the end, a lot of what I did in Perth I could’ve done for a lot cheaper on the east coast of Australia: swimming, drinking, biking, and touring. But it wouldn’t have been the same. I wouldn’t have been able to say I swam in the Indian Ocean or say I’ve been to Western Australia. It completed my coverage of the continent, as I’ve been up and down the east, to Uluru in the center, and now Perth on the west.
So I’m pretty much done packing now, and just have a little more studying to do for my exam (actually studying, not more wine tasting). I can’t believe my time in Australia is almost up, but I’m just about ready to come home. I leave the continent pretty satisfied that I’ve made the most of my experience and did everything I could to make lasting memories. More reflections to come after I get home and have more time to look back at it all.
Well folks, the semester is winding down. A week from today I will be in New Zealand. It’s so hard to believe really. On my train ride to work over Sydney Harbor today, I saw the Opera House for the last time, and it started to hit me that I’m leaving, that I’ll be back in New Jersey in 3 weeks. It’s pretty exciting, but I’m also sad to leave. But I reckon as with all good things, eventually they must come to an end.
So this evening I went to Sydney Tower. My friends and I had pre-purchased tickets at the beginning of the semester in a tourist package, but never got around to using them. But I’m glad we didn’t go until tonight. As I looked down over Sydney, I saw all the places I had been this semester and had flashbacks to my experiences there. It occurred to me that people who were in the Tower at those times probably stared down at me, just as I was doing now, and to them I was just an insignificant speck. All of the people below me seemed lifeless, just little dots bustling about, but when I thought about it, I realized that each of those dots is a person with a story, experiencing the world. And when looking from above, you see the big picture: that all of the daily troubles and triumphs of our lives are meaningless to the greater whole and for most of us, our daily decisions don’t make more than a ripple in the world.
So if I had to compare the Sydney Tower to the Eureka Skydeck in Melbourne, I think I would say I prefer Sydney more, just for the nostalgia I got from looking out over what has been my home for the past 4 months.
So tomorrow morning I leave for Perth. I’m so excited for it, but at the same time kind of nervous, as I haven’t planned a trip alone for this long before. But be on the lookout for pics when I get back— it might be my last post until I get back to the States, as I won’t be carrying my laptop in New Zealand.
Well, no pun intended, but the rain kind of put a ‘damper’ on my weekend. I stayed in Friday and Saturday and pretty much just worked on final papers and projects. Boring.
Today I was supposed to go to Palm Beach with some friends, but one of my friends’ toe injury put those plans on hold. So that left me with nothing to do for yet another day. And that is simply unacceptable.
So I planned a day hike in Royal National Park, walking the Coastal Walk from Otford. When I got there I spent an hour trying to find where the walk began. I asked a shop owner how to get to the walking trail to Governor Game Lookout and he replied,
"Oh you have to drive there. It’s 20k’s that way."
Thanks for the information Mr., but don’t tell me it’s unwalkable, because I do as I please.
So I committed myself to do everything within reason to make it to Governor Game Lookout. The first issue was actually finding where the trail started, which ended up taking an hour. Then throw in a torrential downpour that lasted about 10 minutes and I was about ready to give up. But I’m way too stubborn to quit that easily and I eventually found the trail and the sky cleared up.
It turned out to be quite a pleasant hike, but the trail was muddy and easy to lose. And then I saw a sign that said the track was closed to let the environment rehabilitate (‘penalties apply’). So I decided to veer off course and walk along an unnamed beach where the waves were huge and dumped sapphire blue waves along the shore. On the side, there was a rocky cliff where the massive waves crashed, creating a splash of water that rose as a wall into the air and came splattering down to earth in a puddle of foam. It was mesmerizing, and I spent an hour there eating my lunch and taking photos.
So it was a nice walk, except that I had to retrace the trail back home. I prefer to walk in a loop to keep things new and exciting rather than walking back from the way I came, but it was okay. I was tired and not really in the mood for stopping along the way anyway, so I was able to zip back to the train pretty quickly (which arrived perfectly on time when I got there).
So in the end, I ended up having a pretty decent hike from a day that looked like it might be a bust. I do regret that I never made it to Governor Game Lookout, but I came pretty close. I don’t reckon I’ll lose sleep over it tonight. Judging by the soreness in my legs from the hike, I should sleep just fine.
If you go to the Lonely Planet website and look for Things to Do in Sydney, the Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House are #2 and 3 respectively. Number one is the Thai restaurant Spice I Am.
So I decided I’d check it out to see if it really does deserve to be ranked higher than Sydney’s icons on the guidebook’s list. That being said, I had quite high expectations for it, and I probably didn’t get the best experience, as I grabbed takeaway Beef Pad Thai as the kitchen was closing for the evening.
But it was still delicious. Served with a lime wedge, the noodles went perfectly with a few glasses of the Sauvignon Blanc I’ve been drinking for my wine class. I didn’t have high expectations for the pairing, but I think the lime really accentuated the fruity citrus of the Sav Blanc, especially on the tip of my tongue. I guess at this point I’ll stop pretending like I know what I’m talking about and get to the point: by itself the pad thai was inferior to the legendary Nud Pob Crispy Chicken Pad Thai. But with half a bottle of Deakin Estate 2009 Sav Blanc, I think I’ll give Spice I Am the edge.
So with that little review aside, let me describe my day.
It was quite a Manly day. Yes, I went back to Manly Beach to tie up some loose ends and do some things before I leave. First on my checklist was to look for ‘Manly’ shirts for souvenirs. But I couldn’t find any that I thought were worthy so I ended up passing on the purchase.
Second on the list was to lay out on the beach. A cloud cover rolled in right as I was settling in, but I did enjoy watching the surfers and listening to Jack Johnson. Can you say ‘Bi-winning’?
Third up was a visit to 4 Pines Brewery. I tried the sample rack, which included 5 tastings which were all quite good. The Heffeweizen was good, although not my typical style. But oddly enough, I liked it more than the Pale Ale, which is the type of beer I’ve generally come to like most.
And then to wrap up my day I walked along the Manly Scenic Walkway to The Spit in Mosman. This walk, the ‘Manly Spit’ walk as I refer to it, was charted as a 10k, 4.5 hour excursion. I saw the sign at 4:40 pm, about an hour before sunset, and I chuckled. Ha! Since when has darkness ever deterred me? I figured if worst came to worst, I could always abandon my trek and catch a bus back to Sydney along the way.
I figured wrong!
While there were a few opportunities to leave the track near the beginning and the end, there was little I could do to bailout after about 3km when it started getting dark and civilization began vanishing and I found myself hiking through wilderness…alone….with a dying phone battery.
Why do I always do this to myself? My first week in Sydney I got lost in the streets alone with a dead phone at night. My first night in Melbourne I got lost in the streets alone with a dead phone at night. And now at the end of my semester it’s all come full circle, as I found myself lost in Sydney Harbor National Park alone with a dying phone at night.
The battery ended up holding up for the duration of the walk. I think my constant use of the flashlight feature is what drained the battery. One thing’s for sure though: the next time I get a cell phone upgrade I’m making sure it has a flashlight built in. It’s been surprisingly useful.
So even though I was on edge during my whole stroll to the Spit and I didn’t get to see much of the scenery on the scenic walk, I wouldn’t take back the experience at all. I actually think it was quite beautiful seeing the lights of civilization dot the horizon across the black abyss of the harbor.
I would have to say the most stunning lookout was a rocky ledge a little off the trail that looked out over the harbor to the distant Sydney skyline. I had to climb down a rock, and peered down at tree tops and endless darkness below me, but being the confidant youth I am, I proceeded slowly and surely.
The view was fabulous, and the only thing that would make that memory better would be a few beers and a few friends (in that order, jk). I’ll upload the picture I took of myself on the ledge. I really like the image, because for me it gives my whole Sydney experience some closure, just as my photos of the New York skyline gave my High School experience closure 3 years ago.
So this has been quite a long post, and if you’re still reading at this point, give yourself a pat on the back. I will be doing likewise on the other side of the planet, because that means my superior writing has kept you enthralled. :)
Keep checking in for updates. Hopefully I’ll keep you all fascinated, and you can live vicariously through me.
To close out an already eventful weekend I have a few more memories to add.
Yesterday I went on a tour of the Sydney Opera House. I guess it was just a way for me to say that I was inside without actually paying to see a show. I would have liked to see something, but I just couldn’t get around to it, so this was the next best thing. The best part is, it only cost $20 and BU refunds up to $30 for tickets to Opera House related events. So the tour was basically free. Yay!
I wasn’t able to take pictures inside of the actual theaters, but I got some sweet shots of the lobby areas. The other awesome part was that we got to sit in on an orchestra rehearsing in one the concert hall and a ballet class in another hall. So it was just as if I were seeing a show. Except that I didn’t.
Today I went to Kiama, a 2 1/2 hour train ride south of Sydney. It was a quaint little town with gorgeous blue ocean to the east and rolling green hills to the west. We had perfect weather for it, with only an occasional cloud in the sky.
The town’s main tourist attraction is a blowhole, which is basically a cave carved out by the ocean where waves build up and create pressure that forces a plume of water through a hole at the top of the rock. It wasn’t incredibly spectacular, but it was entertaining for a while.
The best part was a small sea pool, a pool of water surrounded by rocks, protected from the sea but with waves that crash against the rocks on the side facing the ocean. I went for a short swim, and stood on the ocean-facing rocks, hoping to be splashed by the waves, like Ariel in the Little Mermaid (I actually don’t remember that scene, but someone made that reference earlier on the trip so I’m assuming Ariel got splashed by waves while sitting on a rock).
But when I turned around with my back to the ocean I heard a loud rumble and a huge surge of water crashed onto me, nearly knocking me over. It was surprising, but refreshing, and also pretty scary feeling a gigantic wall of water trying to force me into a faceplant on jagged rocks. I think the coolest part was that at one point it felt like I was in a tunnel, with white water above and around me on all sides rushing forward. It’s hard to describe, but it was awesome. I highly recommend getting pounded by a gigantic wave while standing on pointy rocks (assuming you don’t actually fall over).
A little further along the coast we saw pelicans. These birds are huge. And crazy looking. There was a guy feeding them fish, so I got to see them with their droopy chins. Crazy.
So tomorrow begins my last full week of internship. And then I have an awesome weekend lined up. So keep checking back for updates because I promise there will be some craziness up in here as I scramble to do all of these last-minute Australia things.
I took the train up to Mount Ku-ring-gai and did and 8km, 4 hour hike through the forest and along a river to Berowra. It was so nice, and the weather was beautiful. It ended up being a lot more strenuous than I anticipated, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. I saw tons of lizards scurrying around, and some crazy fish jumping out of the water. I don’t actually know if it was one fish, a school of fish, or a sea monster, but whatever it was it was splashing around a lot. I’m going to just assume it was a sea monster.
Overall, it was a tiring hike, but as I’ve mentioned, such excursions into nature, away from the city, appeal to me. I’ve realized how lucky I am to have such diverse landscapes all within an hour train ride from the city. I can go east towards the beach, west towards the mountains, or north and south to a dozen national parks. I really don’t know much about the surrounding area in Boston, but I reckon it would be worth checking out.
Upon my return, I headed over with some friends to the Absinthe Salon in Surrey Hills. It was pretty cool. I really just wanted to go for the novelty of the experience, and I wasn’t disappointed in that respect. But absinthe really doesn’t taste that great and doesn’t seem to be different from any other type of alcohol. But it was still neat to try it.
At night I went to the Lowenbrau bar which has several German-style beers on tap, my favorite of which was the Dunkel Bier.
And to cap off the night in style, we went to Pancakes on the Rocks. Great life decision.
So my second-to-last weekend in Sydney is looking as awesome as I hoped it would. It’s weird to think that my time here is almost over. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I was just starting. But that’s how life is. It really hasn’t hit me that this chapter in my life will be coming to a close rather soon. I’ve tried so hard to live with no regrets on this trip, but there’s just so much to do and so much left undone that I think everyone will examine how they spent their time here and question whether they truly lived each day to its greatest potential. I know for a fact that I didn’t, but I’m still happy and grateful for all that I’ve done and all of the last friendships and memories that I’ve made.
But before I get to wrapped up in my reflections, let me live out the last two and a half weeks.
As I walked down King St. in Newtown this evening, I stumbled upon an awesome bookstore.
"Awesome bookstore?" you may be thinking. "But BJ doesn’t read."
While this is partially true, let me describe this place to help you understand why I make such a claim.
As you walk into this store, you immediately get the sense that it holds relics from another era. Stacks of CDs greet you as you enter and they have these strange black discs known as vinyl records.
Now, imagine a library filled with shelves of books sorted by author and category. Now imagine even more books, so many that you have to stack them on the shelves in front of the books that are already there. Now imagine even more books, to the point where they sit in a pile from floor to waist or even shoulder height. At this point, the sorting system has long been abandoned.
But there is one shelf on the first floor underneath a window that remains clear. This is a reserved ‘cat path’ so that Shop Cat Oscar can come and go as he pleases. But don’t get him confused with ‘Intruder Cat’, a Shop-Cat-Oscar-Lookalike but smaller.
I found this place immensely amusing. And the cherry on top was the “World’s Worst Decisions and the People Who Made Them” book. I would have bought it if I didn’t have to worry about bringing it home at the end of the semester.
Australia checklist: pet a koala, check; eat kangaroo, check; surf…check!
This weekend I learned how to surf with Surf Camp Australia at the beautiful and quiet Seven Mile Beach. With great reviews from my friends who already went and a sweet discount, I decided to go for it. And it turned out to be a great life decision.
I spent 2 nights there and had 3 2-hour surf sessions and 1 lesson about etiquette, equipment, safety, etc. for surfing on my own. The surf coaches were laid back and friendly. And once again, it was nice to get out of Sydney and get into nature. I’m starting to see a recurring theme over the past 2 weekends.
So how’d I do? Well I’ll post some pics and vids soon and you can decide for yourself. The staff had a photographer and HD waterproof video cameras to get some awesome footage of us tearing up the waves. I figured I’d buy the photo/vid package considering I got a discount on the weekend anyway, plus they throw in a complementary surf magazine and dvd. I’ll get some photos up when I can, but my cd drive isn’t functioning so I need to borrow a computer.
So with only 2 weekends left in Sydney, I need to budget my time wisely. I’ve done parkour, surfing, wine tasting, hip-hop dance, and scuba diving since coming to Australia. Bungee jumping is for New Zealand. I’m starting to run out of things to try!
I just got back from a field trip for school that was dedicated to drinking wine. For 2 days, I got the pleasure of imbibing the clean crisp air and magical juices of the Hunter Valley wine region. But amidst it all, I did learn a lot about wine, and I got to try a lot of samples that I never would have tried before and develop my wine-tasting abilities. And it was great getting away from my internship, schoolwork, and the busy city life. I went for a couple walks down the road from our hotel and just soaked in the quietness and beautiful landscape. It was just what I’ve been missing ever since session two of the semester started.
If any of you are planning a trip to the Hunter Valley, I’ll give you a brief rundown of the wineries we visited:
This evening Josh invited a group of us to dinner with his parents who are visiting for a few weeks. We went to Fish at the Rocks, a very nice place with excellent food and service. It was a fine evening, and it was a pleasure meeting Mr. Jick’s parents.
After dinner we walked over to Circular Quay and watched as images and designs were projected onto the Sydney Opera House. I never would have thought to use the city’s icon as a projection screen, but it was really neat. It was part of the show for Youtube’s Orchestra finale (for more information I’m sure you can look it up on youtube…I honestly don’t know much about it myself). There was a grassy area with a live feed of the orchestra inside and we sat on the grass and watched the second act of the concert.
It was a great evening, one that would have been perfect had it not started raining during the last song. But I had a great evening nonetheless, and with just over a month left in Sydney, I’m trying to take it all in.
As a wise man once told me (Jacob) “You’ll have all life to regret, but only one moment to live.”
The rain this weekend put a damper on my plans. Yesterday I was going to go to a hip-hop showcase to watch some dance battles, but as I was about to leave a torrential downpour started. It cleared up later but I decided not to go. Instead I got to see fireworks at Darling Harbour…for the 4th time since coming to Sydney. But hey, fireworks never get old.
Today looked like another rainy day early on, but I decided to stick with my plans to go to a parkour class anyway. And it was definitely worth it. It was a great workout and loads of fun and now I think I’m going to start parkour-ing everything. We did wall climbs, wall runs, turn vaults, and rolls. For those of you who don’t know what any of this means, check out youtube or google for the basics of parkour.
So no pics from the weekend, just memories. And possibly a new hobby.
Not much really. My internship is in full swing, so I haven’t had the opportunity to travel outside the city. I visited the aquarium and did the Coogee to Bondi walk over the weekend, but I don’t have any pictures to post from them.
Hopefully this weekend will be a little more exciting and I’ll have some pretty photos to share with ya’ll.
I started the week in Cairns where it rained for pretty much the whole time. On Sunday I went on a day trip to the Daintree River and Cape Tribulation which would have been nicer if it weren’t rainy and I didn’t get bus-sick. Monday was scuba diving and snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef (after getting sea-sick…motion sickness really put a damper on the Cairns experience). Diving was a cool, surreal sensation, but I think snorkeling was much prettier. The next day, not wanting to crawl into the back of another moving vehicle and get sick for a third day, I decided to explore Cairns rather than take another bus tour. I started with a run/workout along the Esplanade, ending with a swim in the Lagoon, a public outdoor swimming pool. The rest of the day I spent wandering around town on a 2 pub pub-crawl. Wednesday was also a quiet day in town, although it was nicer because the sun finally peaked out from behind the clouds.
After Cairns came a 3 day tour of the Outback. The first day we saw Kata Tjuta, the second day Uluru, and the last day King’s Canyon. We spent two nights sleeping out under the stars and traveled hundreds of kilometers starting in Uluru and ending in Alice Springs. We got hot, hungry, and dirty, and it was just like a big camping trip. The weather was great for us, and we had a great group and tour guide. I think this tour was the highlight of spring break for me.
But it’s nice being back in Sydney. I just can’t wait for all of my mosquito bites to go away. Pics to come soon!
Sorry, my faithful followers, I tried to upload some Melbourne pics but it didn’t work for some strange reason. And I don’t have the time to figure out why because I’m flying out to Cairns for spring break today. I’ll try again some time in March when I get back and I’ll have even more photos to update you with!
It is 12:22 AM Australia time, and I’m about to recap my weekend.
My parents got in on Wednesday, the same day I got back from Melbourne. We got in pretty late so I wasn’t able to meet up with them, and then Thursday I had to do some shooting for my film class.
Friday I met with them and we did part of the Bondi to Coogee walk. Three times I have attempted this walk. Twice I have stopped at Bronte and taken the bus back. One of these days I will make it to Coogee.
I spent Saturday with my parents in the Blue Mountains doing the cliff walk. It was really nice, but kind of an intense hike. Pics to come…eventually.
Sunday was TROPFEST! This is a festival of short films open to the public. The films are displayed on 3 big screens in the middle of a park and thousands of people gather on the grass to watch it under the stars (and a full moon).
I signed up to volunteer for it so I got a free hat, free t-shirt, and free life-long memories. My work wasn’t particularly spectacular. I wiped off chairs, stacked them, handed out programs, distributed lunch meals, moved stuff. Nothing you couldn’t do around the house. But it was great being in the festival atmosphere and feeling important with my ‘volunteer’ pass strapped around my neck. It was a worthwhile experience, and I’d love to volunteer for future festivals, although I’m sure they’d be a lot different from free, outdoor affairs such as this.
After my shift ended I met my parents for dinner. I’m glad I got to spend as much time with them as I did, and they were too. I feel like I don’t see them all that often, so it was nice to do some site-seeing with them.
After dinner I went back to Tropfest and watched the second half of the film screenings. Some of them were quite artsy, some were really flashy and cool, while others were just ridiculous. I did come away inspired and motivated to do some film making of my own.
So it’s just one more week of class for session one and then on to spring break! One final push and then it’s on to freedom!
Melbourne…Love, love, love it! The city has a great, laid-back vibe, and so many places to explore. There just wasn’t enough time for it all.
Sunday I got in and checked out the Queen Victoria Markets. So much at these outdoor markets: food, clothes, souvenirs, toys, pretty much everything. Later that evening I went to the St. Kilda Festival by the beach. It was an exciting atmosphere, with live music, food, and lots of vendors. And I watched the sun set over the ocean. For those of you who don’t know, I love sunsets and long walks on the beach, so this was pretty much perfect.
Monday I went to the Australian Center for Moving Images which was cooool. Check out the link of me in the Matrix! It was a room with 36 cameras all around that captured a quick movement in slow-motion. And then you got to email it to yourself. It had tons of interactive exhibits and was just a cool experience in general. Afterwards I got Italian food for lunch and ate so much that I had to take a nap on a park bench in order to digest and walk back to our hotel.
At night we went to the Eureka Sky Tower which is the highest public viewpoint in the southern hemisphere. It offered an amazing 360 degree view. We also went to ‘The Edge’, a glass box that protrudes from the side of the building with a glass floor that you can look down through. It was kind of intense. I don’t know how I’ll be able to handle bungee jumping in New Zealand, but I suspect I’ll just try to not think about the fact that I’m jumping off an elevated platform, plummeting towards the city beneath me.
Tuesday the 15th: Great Ocean Road tour with Go West Tours. BEST. DAY. EVER. We stopped at the most beautiful places imaginable, and it was a group of the coolest and funnest people, with a great guide and perfect weather. Here’s a quick run down of the day:
- Bells Beach: beautiful beach in the countryside
- Great Ocean Road Sign: photo-op in front of the sign for the Great Ocean Road
- Great Ocean Road: road alongside beautiful scenery of towering cliffs and gorgeous blue ocean
- Lorne: quaint town next to the beach where we stopped for coffee, tea, and cookies
- Kennett River: We saw wild koalas and fed wild birds out of our hands!
- Rainforest: we were in a rainforest
- 12 Apostles rock formation: large rock formations set off the shore, rising above the treacherous sea beneath them. Only 7 apostles remain, so go check it out before any more of them collapse into the ocean!
- Loch Ard Gorge: beautiful view of towering cliffs surrounding the sea, and a neat little cave down in the gorge
- London Bridge: yes, London Bridge has fallen down, but it was still nice looking out over the ocean where it used to be.
- Colac: we stopped here for dinner. There’s pretty much nothing here, but there was a beautiful sunset behind it as we left. I didn’t take any pictures of it though because my hands were greasy from KFC.
I think the day was amazing not only because of all that I did but also because of the people I was with. This was a group that sang along to “My Heart Will Go On” and “Go West” by the Village People. Credit to our tour guide Dave for some excellent DJing as well.
And then today I had a great-day-hangover. I took a tour of Melbourne’s graffiti alleys which was interesting, but I had just given a presentation on graffiti so I didn’t pay complete attention to the tour. But it was still pretty cool.
So at the end of this long post, as I recall the amazing trip I just returned from, which included the BEST. DAY. EVER., all I have to say is this: it’s good to be alive!
P.S.: I should mention that this was an academic field trip. Yes, this was a week of class for me. Haha, but don’t get too jealous, I still have a paper about Melbourne to write for next week. Back to reality, then on to Cairns!
My hip hop paper turned out to be quite easy to write. I drafted it Thursday night, typed and expanded on points on Friday, and handed it in this morning, exactly 2,000 words ;).
But everyone else was staying up late trying to push through their papers, so we decided we would stay up all night and then watch the sunrise over Sydney Harbor and the Opera House and then go to Pancakes on the Rocks for brekkie (breakfast in Aussie lingo).
I took a refreshing hour-long nap from 3:30-4:30 am before we walked up to the harbor. It was kind of cloudy, but I enjoyed the sunrise nonetheless. And I enjoyed my 4 buttermilk pancakes with ice cream and maple syrup even more. I don’t know why I don’t eat that for breakfast more often, but I suppose I might get sick of it after some time.
I’m trying to stay awake for another 5 hours so I can fall asleep early tonight and in turn, wake up on time for our class trip departure to Melbourne at 6 am. I won’t have my laptop for the next few days, so I’ll update when I get back.
Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve updated. But to be honest, there hasn’t been a whole lot going on since my last post.
The past week I’ve been working on a presentation and paper for my Australian culture class. The presentation is about graffiti and the paper is a comparison of Australian hip hop culture, past and present. So my self-assigned research has consisted of taking pictures of graffiti and listening to Australian hip-hop.
I did some more homework tonight: I took a hip-hop dance class! It was fun but difficult for me, as I have no prior dance experience. But I talked to the instructor about hip hop music, dance, and culture and got a lot of great material for my paper. Tomorrow I’m meeting with a professor from University of Technology in Sydney to talk about Australian hip hop.
I’ve also been placed in an internship at SBS. Tomorrow morning I’m meeting with them to introduce myself, find out what I’ll be doing, all that jazz.
So yeah, I’ve been busy lately, but if I don’t do anything amazing this weekend (like surf maybe?), I’ll definitely have some new material to post after our class trip to Melbourne next week. FUN!!!
Yesterday I had an awesome burger at Plan B, a small hole-in-the-wall type place next to it’s sister restaurant, the upscale Becasse. It was $10, which is cheap in a country where Subway footlong sandwiches are $7 instead of 5.
I also hit up the Chinese New Year celebration which had dancing, singing, and stalls in a market place.
Today I went to Manly Beach. Yes, that’s really it’s name, where you can assert your masculinity at places such as the Manly Italian Restaurant and the Old Manly Boathouse. The only thing that could make it manlier would be a bacon stand.
I took the ferry over and visited the aquarium Oceanworld Manly before heading over to the beach. The water was warm and clear and broke in strong, towering waves. As much as I love the Jersey Shore, this place was a lot more enjoyable. And cleaner. And freer. What’s up with those beach passes anyway?
In an hour I’m going to a light and sound show at the Chinese Friendship Garden. It seems like it’ll be pretty sweet. I’ll post pics some pics when I get back.
I went to Paddy’s Market where there’s tons of cheap stuff to buy. It’s just like Chinatown, but indoors. All of the vendors are Chinese and if they think you’re interested in buying something they’ll come over and be your best friend. And once you tell them you’re not interested, that you’re just looking, they hate you.
I spent the rest of the day exploring the city, walking to Sydney Harbor Bridge, around The Rocks, past Sydney Observatory, back along Darling Harbor and eventually into North Sydney for the evening.
I didn’t climb Sydney Harbor Bridge, but I did walk across it on the pedestrian path and it was just as nice. And $200 less. And I got to take pictures, which they don’t let you do on the bridge climb. Good deal, huh?
I also walked through Luna Park before walking along the harbor and taking some sweet nighttime pics.
So ultimately I spent around 12 hours wandering the streets of Sydney today and my legs and feet are hating me for it.
On another note, my Aussie-Interaction Meter peaked today. I talked with dancers by Darling Harbor, a couple at the base of the bridge in North Sydney, and took a picture for a couple on the bridge, who returned the favor for me. I love Aussies!
Today I tried playing some cricket in the park with some other BU-ers. It was fun for about 15 minutes, but I don’t know how people can tolerate playing/watching the game for hours/days on end.
In other news, the building still doesn’t have laundry facilities installed, so I’m trying to hold out until next week to avoid trekking down the street to the laundromat. All of you BU kids in Boston should be grateful for the price of laundry there: it’s $3 for washing and drying each!
The purpose of this blog is to keep you all up to date on my semester abroad in Sydney. With such ambitious ventures as this, I tend to start out with frequent updates and trail off after about two weeks before altogether forgetting about it after two months. But I’ll try to stay fairly consistent this time. Thanks for taking the time to check in and I hope I can bring the excitement of Sydney to you all at home!