Hope you all are enjoying your weekend! Mine was very fun! I forgot to mention that on Wednesday I drove a manual car. I had driven an automatic around campus but it wasn't too difficult since there weren't any cars on the road. In order to remember to drive on the left side of the road I just always think of what we do and then do the opposite. I was nervous for driving the manual because I had to shift with my left hand. It went really well though! After a while I didn't even have to think about which side to drive on, it just came natural. I did keep messing up by turning on the windshield wipers because I kept hitting them thinking it was the blinker! On Friday I started the morning out with classes: Marketing tutorial and Engaging Media lecture. That afternoon Kerryn, Daniel, Tom and I went to Fremantle. Daniel and Kerryn are from UMD and Tom is Daniel's friend. Tom drove us there and went to a pub called Little Creatures. They have really good food and brew some of their own beer. It is a big place right on the ocean. We got food there and then headed to an abandoned power house. It was around 15 minutes or so from the city and in a deserted area. The power house is now a heritage site and all that is left is the building. The windows were all broken and there was graffiti everywhere. It was really cool cause the walls were just covered in really sweet graffiti. We went all the way to the bottom and down a tunnel that apparently leads to the Fremantle prison. It was blocked off so we couldn't go any further. Without our flashlights it was completely pitch black. A bit freaky! On Saturday, Kerryn, Daniel and I headed south to Rockingham and Penguin Island. The train to Rockingham took only about 35 minutes and then we took a bus to get near the island. There is a sand bar that runs across to the island and when the tide is low you can walk to the island but when we went it was too high. We took a ferry over and walked around. There were birds everywhere! The seagulls were soo annoying! I hate all the birds here! The island is the largest colony of little penguins in Western Australia and is said to have as many as 600 breeding pairs. The penguins spend at least 70% of their lives in the water and are nocturnal so we didn't get to see many when walking around. We spotted a few in tiny holes in the caves. After, we got to go into a little area where they have a few penguins. We watched them get their lunch and swim around in a pool. We headed back into Rockingham to walk along the beach and get kebabs. Kebabs are similar to gyros because they are a pita with meat, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and sauce. It is similar to Subway in which the customer gets to choose which meat and which sauce they want. They're amazing and everywhere here! Saturday evening it poured all night so we decided to stay in. It was my flatmate Yong's birthday so we celebrated in our flat. After, I went to another friend's house to hang out. It has been raining a lot more often than the first two months. Winter is coming but we'll see how cold it actually gets. Today I am catching up on everything I didn't do over the weekend! Hope you all are enjoying the posts :)
April 2012 Archives
I was planning on posting yesterday but got caught up with other work. Monday after I posted we went to the Perth Mint for my Australian Studies class. We took the train into the city and walked around beforehand. There was a cute little alley area that had heaps of shops and was built and designed to be like you were walking through London. The Perth Mint is the oldest continually-operating mint in Australia. We took a short tour to learn about the building and the stories of how gold was first found in Western Australia. They had the largest, heaviest and most valuable bullion coin in the world. It weighed one tonne of 99.99% pure gold and was 80 cms wide and more than 12cms deep! It was crazy! After we saw that we got to watch them pour gold. They started out by pouring it into a container that looked like a bread tin. As he poured it there were flames because it was so hot. It only took about 15 seconds to cool and then he flipped over the tin and it was already solid. After that he dipped it in water and then when he took it back out it was a gold bar. It was really amazing to see. He said the bar that he just made in front of us would be worth $300,000! Tuesday is my busy day at school so I had classes all day and then at night Kerryn and I went to Lyn's for dinner. Lyn used to work with all the study abroad students from UMD. I knew her pretty well through my sisters and when I got here we met up. She wanted Kerryn and I to have a home cooked meal so we went there for a lamb roast. Wednesday was a public holiday: ANZAC Day. It stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and is a day to honour the members. Lyn took us to King's Park for the dawn service that started at 6 am. They had a couple of speeches which were really nice. After we walked into the city for the parade. It consisted of a lot of men and women who served/serve in the army, navy etc and then some marching bands. Almost all of the shops in the city were closed so we headed back to campus and hung out there. Today I am trying to catch up on homework so I can enjoy my weekend. I have a lot of papers to write.. As I have said before, the classes are structured so differently. All of my assignments have been writing papers, whereas at UMD most of my classes involved number problems. Weather has been a bit cooler because winter is just around the corner. It's averaging around 75-80 lately but the sun is still pretty hot. The wind is just what makes it feel colder.
So I had a slight change of plans this past weekend.. I was originally going to go to Penguin Island in Rockingham with Kerryn but she ended up getting sick. So Friday I went to class and visited Lyn to figure out our plans to get to Penguin Island. I spent most of the day with my flatmates hanging out at our flat. That night we went to another flat and hung out with some people there. We had people from America, Australia, Canada, England, Papua-New Guinea and Norway. It was pretty fun comparing our cultures. On Saturday I went to Hillary's Boat Harbour with Daniel (from UMD) and his friend. There are shops and restaurants there so we walked around and then went to a diving shop to check out where to go scuba diving. That evening my Aussie flatmate Emma invited me to go with her to her friends house to celebrate her birthday. Emma, her friend Devon and I went to her friend's house in Canningvale and ate dinner and then went into the city. Sunday was a relaxing/catch-up day. Got caught up on homework and rested to get ready for the week. School will slowly be picking up again. Today we are heading to the Perth Mint for Australian Studies so I will post about that after!
I feel like my posts won't be as exciting as my recent posts about Easter break but I hope you still enjoy them. This week has been back to classes and homework :( On Monday, we watched the movie Muriel's Wedding in Australian Studies. The topic of the day was to learn about the Australian daily life. We had Vegemite, Tim Tams, Cordial and Lemingtons. Vegemite is a yeast spread that you usually put on bread with butter. We were told to put on a lot of butter and just a little Vegemite and it was actually really good! I brought some home for myself! Tim Tams are like a chocolate biscuit and they are amazing! Cordial is like Kool-Aid except it is in a liquid. You just pour a little in a cup and then add water. Lemingtons are like a brownie with coconut on it. These are very broad descriptions though! On Tuesday, I was very busy with 4.5 hours of classes and then working on a paper. I don't have much due too soon but I know the end of the semester will be very busy. Wednesday is my day off so I tried to get school work done at home. Sometimes it is hard to when my other flatmates are home. We have such a diverse group that sometimes it is really funny how we interact and make fun of each other. Today I have been continuing doing school work.. or attempting to. It rained a little yesterday but is nicer today. It is definitely cooling down since how it has been when I arrived. Still beautiful weather though! I am over halfway done with my semester and I can't believe how fast time is going by. It seems like just yesterday I was moving in. I have gotten to used to the accents and the lingo that it doesn't seem different anymore though. Well sorry my week has consisted of heaps of schoolwork but I will have a more exciting post after the weekend!
Hi all! So I just posted about my trip to the east coast! A few posts down there is a post also titled with 'Sunday, April 15' so I would recommend you go down to that post and then read up toward the top. That way the posts will be in order!
Last day of the trip :( We woke up and toured The Rocks ourselves and went into a couple of galleries. We went into the oldest building in Sydney, which is located right on the harbour and used to house the superintendent of the ships. We headed into the city to find some meat pies to eat for brekky and then walked around for just a little to see the views for the last time. Mary Kate and Pat were heading back to the states and their flight left in the afternoon so we headed to the airport and I said my good byes to them. I had about a 5 hour wait in the airport but eventually made it back to Perth. Lyn picked me up and I came home and went straight to bed. It was a long, very busy trip but definitely worth it! I enjoyed every moment of it and hope you all enjoyed reading about it! This past weekend I had just been relaxing and trying to make good use of my break before classes start again.
We had a more relaxed day today because it was kind of rainy. We walked through the Botanical Garden that goes right along the water. We walked through the Art Gallery of New South Wales and then made our way to the old government buildings. We saw some barracks that used to house the convicts that built most of the government buildings. We walked through The Mint which was where they used to make their currency. We saw the town hall and the old hospital. Then, we made our way into the city. We took a tour around the main part of the city but it included most of the things we had already seen. We went to Sydney Tower, which is the highest building in Sydney but we did not go to the top. In the heart of Sydney there are many shops so we walked around and browsed in those. We also got to see a lot of street performers. We headed back to the hotel and got ready for the evening. We ate at a restaurant that was right by the water in Circular Quay and then went to the Sydney Opera House to see a ballet. The ballet was called 'Infinity" and was held in the Opera Theatre. It wasn't one long ballet but three separate ones that were split up by intermissions. They were amazing! The inside was beautiful and so big. The performers were so talented and the music was just amazing. This was definitely one of my favourite things we did in Sydney.
Today we started out by walking the Harbour Bridge. There are options to walk up to the top and walk over it but we decided to just walk across it on the level where the cars drive. It offered great views of the city and of the harbour. We walked through Luna Park, which is a theme park right on the water. From there we took a ferry into Darling Harbour. There we walked through the fish markets and got fish and chips for lunch. The fish markets were very busy and had heaps of options of fish. Fish was just lied out everywhere.. It smelled terrible! Anyway, we walked along the waterfront and made our way toward the city. We saw the Chinese Gardens and then walked through Chinatown. Near Chinatown they have some markets that we walked around. We walked back to our hotel through the city and got to see all the shops and restaurants. It was very busy and people were everywhere! When we got back to our hotel we changed and then met right down the street for a tour of 'The Rocks.' They showed us some of the buildings where people used to live and some of the streets where the gangs hanged around. We learned about how people lived and the history of the area. We learned about the three pubs that all claimed they are in the oldest pub in Sydney. This tour was very interesting because it included a lot of information about how the city of Sydney started out. After, we decided to check out the pubs we had learned about. We went to one called the Waterloo, which had a pretty interesting history. They used to get men really drunk and drop them through a trap door. The men would fall into a pit in the basement and get knocked out. There was an underground tunnel that went from the basement to the water so the workers would carry the men through the tunnel and put them on ships. The next morning they would wake up on the ships and be put to work. This was how a lot of ships got men for their crew. The bartender took us down there and showed up the pit and the entrance to the tunnel. It was really creepy! While we were sitting at the pub we met three guys, one from Wisconsin, one from South Carolina and the other from Colorado. They were UPS delivery pilots and were staying in Sydney for a couple of days on work. We ended up talking with them for a while and then walked with them to another pub that had a rooftop view of the harbour. After that we went and checked out the other two pubs that claimed they were the oldest in Sydney. The area down by The Rocks is really cool because it has old buildings and information about what the area was like when Sydney started out. Today we learned a lot about the city of Sydney and got to see some amazing views!
We woke up early and headed to the train station to head to the Blue Mountains. We had to go to the Central train station and then get on a different train that took us straight there. The ride was about two hours long and I sat next to a girl who was studying in Melbourne and visiting Sydney. She was from Singapore so we talked about our experiences in Australia and trips we have taken. We arrived in a small city called Katoomba and walked through the city to the look outs. We have great weather and the views were amazing! We walked around the edge looking down at the valleys and then made our way into the valleys. They have many hiking routes that go down into the valleys and let you see all the waterfalls. They used to mine coal and shale there so they had a small area that showed parts of the mines in the cliffs. We walked around and then made our way to the Three Sisters which is a rock formation of three huge rocks that stand alone. We spent almost all day walking and taking in the views. The Blue Mountains aren't actually blue but look blue when looked at from a distance. This is because the eucalyptus causes mie scattering, which scatters ultraviolent radiation and makes a blue haze. A lot of beautiful sites! We took the train back into the city and ate at a restaurant called The Argyle. Had a wonderful day with wonderful weather and wonderful views!
Today was our last day in Cairns so we decided to walk around the city. Our hotel was right on the ocean but the beach was kind of weedy in that area so they have a huge pool for people to swim in. Anyone is allowed to swim there and there are plenty of restaurants nearby. We relaxed by the pool with the view of the ocean in the background. It was a very nice day so we were lucky we had such nice weather. We ate a restaurant that overlooked the ocean and then walked around a couple of the shops. We didn't have much time because our flight left in the late afternoon. We headed to the airport and traveled to Sydney. It was about a three hour flight but went by pretty quickly. When we arrived in Sydney we took the train into Circular Quay and went to our hotel which was located in 'The Rocks.' Circular Quay is right by where the Sydney Opera House is and The Rocks is a historical part of the city, which was where they first landed when they started Sydney. Our hotel had a roof top hotel so we went up there and got a view of the city at night. It was very pretty and made me excited for the rest of our trip. We planned out our week and went to bed early so we would have plenty of energy for tomorrow.
Today was a wonderful day. We spent it on the Great Barrier Reef! We woke up early and took a two hour long bus ride north to Douglas Port. From there we got on a cruise ship to travel out to the platform. The trip was about an hour and a half long. During the trip we learned all the rules for scuba diving and got familiar with how to do it. The platform had two levels and a lot of space for seating. Here is the link that shows the cruise ship and the platform. http://www.quicksilver-cruises.com/wavepiercer.htm We were scheduled to scuba dive right away so once we arrived we got our gear and met our leader. We started out by practicing how to switch mouth pieces and get water out of our goggles underwater. Once we all learned that we slowly went down by holding onto ropes. Once we got to the bottom we started to swim around. It was amazing seeing all the cool plants and animals. We got to touch the inside of a giant clam and anemone. There was actually a Nemo fish in the anemone too! When you touch the anemone it sticks to your finger and doesn't let go until you pull your hand away. We swam around the bottom and saw heaps of plants and animals close up. This experience was definitely amazing and I would highly recommend it! After that we ate lunch and then went in a boat where you could walk to the bottom and sit on benches that had windows on both sides. That area was underwater so you could see everything underwater without getting wet. After that we went snorkeling. Some parts of the reef where we were at were so high that they were above water. That made it nice so we could see a lot of it close up while snorkeling. We made our way home on the cruise ship and then on the bus. When we arrived in Cairns we walked through the night markets and I got Red Bull flavoured ice cream! It was delicious! Today was one of my favourite parts of the trip and I absolutely loved it! Saw such amazing views and got to scuba dive for the first time!
Mary Kate, Pat and I flew from Perth to Brisbane, then Brisbane to Cairns over the night. I slept for most of the flight which made it go by very fast. We arrived at our hotel and got all of our plans figured out. We planned to visit the Kurunda which is a village set back in the rain forest. For our journey there we took a skyrail over the rain forest. This is the link that shows how we traveled. http://www.skyrail.com.au/ It was very beautiful and cool to see everything from so high up. We had great views in every direction and got to stop a couple of times to walk to look outs. When we arrived in the Kurunda we went on a walk through some of the trails they had in the rain forest. The village is pretty small but has a lot of options for tourists. We went to the markets and ate lunch. For our journey back we took the scenic railway. This route took us through the rain forest so we could see it from ground level. Here is the site for that. http://www.ksr.com.au/Pages/Default.aspx As we traveled they played a recording that went over how they built the railroad. It took many years because it was such a far distance and they had to blow up parts of the mountains in order to make tunnels for the railway to get through. It was originally made for the miners. That evening we walked around the city and got dinner. Wonderful day to start out the trip.
I am finally home from my trip to the east coast and all settled in! It has been a very busy past week! I decided that instead of making it one long post I am going to go back and do each day of my trip separately..
Hello everyone! It is a gloomy day in Perth today. It has been rainy the past few days but it has been nice to have some days to relax. I had a big project due today for Marketing. I started the first week of school and have had six weeks to work on.. It was pretty time consuming. It is such a relief being done with it. I also have a project due the Monday after break but finished and turned it in so I wouldn't have to worry about it over break. I used Tuesday and Wednesday to finish those projects and get caught up. My Easter break starts today! It is like the "spring break" of Australia. My sister, her boyfriend and I are leaving tonight to head over to Cairns on the east coast. It is located right on the Great Barrier Reef. After that we will head down to Sydney. I am very excited! It's so nice to have a week long break to travel. I won't be able to blog over my trip because I probably won't have internet so I will be sure to keep you all updated when I get back! Happy Easter :)
Hello all! Just finished a very fun-filled, 3-day weekend! On Friday I went with Lyn to pick up Mary Kate (my sister) and her boyfriend Pat from the airport. We made plans to spend the night on Rottnest Island and needed to get on the ferry early so we went straight from the airport, picked up Kerryn and then to Fremantle where the ferry takes off from. Mary Kate, Pat, Kerryn and I arrived at Rottnest Island and got everything settled in. Rottnest "Rotto" is an island just west of Perth. It used to have a jail on it that housed Aboriginal men and boys but the jail was closed down and the island was turned into a vacation area. We rented bikes friday evening and biked around one of the small loops. The sun was setting so it was a really pretty view to watch the sunset over the ocean. Saturday morning we got up early and started biking. We biked from one end of the island to the other, which took about an hour and a half. Not much is on the island other than a few restaurants and housing areas. The rest of the island is pretty much left untouched and is filled with plant life. They don't want it to be commercialised and want to keep it how it naturally is. We sat on the beach for a while and swam a little bit. That afternoon we took the ferry back to Freo, got ready and headed to the Freo Dockers vs Geelong footy game. Footy is Australian Rules Football and is very different than American Football. They run with the ball, bounce the ball and can only pass the ball by either kicking it or "punching" the ball like one would underhand serve in volleyball (hold the ball in one hand and with the other hand in a fist punch it to another player). If they kick it between the two poles (like a field goal) they get 6 points. There are two outside poles and if they make it in either of those they get 1 point. The game was very exciting! We were really lucky we saw an intense game that was exciting right up until the end. I had a blast and really enjoyed footy. Sunday, I caught up on school work and then went to King's Park with Mary Kate, Pat and Lyn. They went there in the afternoon but wanted to have a look at the city at night. That evening we had dinner at Lyns. We had steak, lambchops, salad and watermelon. It was delicious!! Today (Monday) I showed MK and Pat around campus and then brought them with on my field trip for Australian Studies. For my class we met in Freo and had a tour about how Fremantle started and it's history. After, MK, Pat, Kerryn and I went to the Fremantle Prison and took a tour. We got to see the prison cells, the gun towers, the kitchen and eating area, the solidarity cells and even where they hanged the cellmates. It was very interesting but a little bit creepy. I am sorry if I have rushed through this but it is hard packing such an eventful weekend into a short post!