Thursday, January 31, 2013

A post that is long overdue

Last time I posted I was heading out early in the morning for my dive trip.  The trip started out great, it was a beautiful blue sky day.  We met at the office and filled out some paperwork, basically signed my life away in case of an emergency.  Then, they informed us that a storm was brewing out at sea and offered us seasickness medication.  Once everybody was at the office (there were only 8 of us) we got into a shuttle and headed to the airport.  Then we got on a private plane for a low flight out to Lizard Island where we'd be meeting the boat.  The flight was awesome, we could see lots of the reef, our pilot also pointed out some interesting highlights including a shipwreck and a section of reef that Captain Cook (I think) had hit and had to go get his ship repaired.  Since it was a low altitude flight, we had to wear our life vests the entire time, that was a new experience.
Once we landed we had a short walk from the airstrip on Lizard Island (which is a national park of some sort) down to the beach.  We got down to the beach and it was beautiful, perfect sand and warm water.  We took little dinghies to the boat and climbed on board.  We dropped our things into our cabins and met in the main living area to meet the crew.  There were 5 people who had stayed on the boat from the 4-day trip, so there were a total of 13 of us and I think there were 12 crew members, a pretty nice ratio.  We met the crew and did dive histories with the trip director while we cruised to our first point - the cod hole.  Since I hadn't been diving in a few years, I was on the introductory dive with Steve and Stefan with Todd as our leader.  We got suited up and headed into the water.  Once we did a buoyancy control exercise and a buddy breathe practice, we set out to find some Potato Cod.  Those fish were MASSIVE!  Nearly person sized.  They were also super curious and came really close to us.  I got a couple of funny pictures of Todd trying to get away as one kept creeping up to him, I got another of one nearly eating Stefan's tank.  After the dive was lunch and we moved on to our second site of the day.  We went to Pixie's Pinnacle which was basically a pinnacle and we went round and round until we ran out of air - essentially.  We started at about 70-80 feet and made our way up as we went around it in circles.  This dive expedition was nice because they chose pretty small sites and let us go off on our own with our buddy(ies).  We saw some cool fish and coral and a rock fish which is apparently super deadly and also happens to camouflage with the coral really well.  The weather started to get rough after that dive, so for our night dive we moved to another site.  Since it was my first night dive, I went on the guided dive with Charlie - a blonde divemaster chick from Germany.  She got us a little lost initially and we did a circle around the boat before she found the mooring and we went down. Night diving is definitely a little scarier, although all the lights on the boat are on so you definitely know which way is up.  We each had a flashlight and we found eels and fish and a really big crab.  The crab was really cool, it poked out of its little cave to say hello to us.  We headed up and got showered before a late dinner and after dinner I passed out.  My bunk was meant to be shared with a stranger but since the boat was so empty, I got it all to myself.
At 6 the next morning the trip leader woke us up and we got suited up for our first dive of the day.  We went to Steve's Bommie which was another pinnacle and started at 97ft, my deepest dive yet. We went round and round it.  The top of the pinnacle was at about 15ft so we did our safety stop swimming around there.  There were anemones and we found Nemo!  When we got back to the boat, after breakfast we got some sad news.  We were less than 40 nautical miles from where the cyclone was brewing and so the trip would have to be cut short.  We spent the rest of the day and night making our way back to Cairns.  In the morning we packed up and met with Dorothy from the office.  She gave us our credits and then we took a bus back to our hotels.
I spent the day at the hostel because it was raining and disgusting outside.  I rebooked my flight to leave earlier since the weather was bad and I returned my underwater camera.  That night the hostel had a barbecue so I tried both Kangaroo and Crocodile.  I don't think either will make its way into my normal diet anytime soon...
Back in Adelaide Thursday I went to Rhino Room with Jon, it was round 3 of the comedy competition but it wasn't as good this time.  Friday I met with Janusz for a couple of hours and then went to the back to school barbecue

Saturday was Australia Day!  The nest had a barbecue so I hung out with some people.  Ric, Gunawan and Wei, and some girls from Canada who had just moved in.  They were nice and it was a lovely afternoon.  Then, there was the Australia Day Parade!  The parade went down King William Street, the center of town leading to a big park along the river.  It was a fascinating parade, it was basically a multicultural parade.  Each of the international communities in Adelaide marched in the parade and waved their own countries' flags.  After the parade, we followed it into the park.  The park was set up for a huge concert.  The opener was a winner of Australian Idol and was kind of boring and then the main act was called Potbelleez and was a guy singing while two other guys messed with electronics.  He did play an acoustic song at the end though so he was at least sort of talented. It was good dancing music and the crowd was pretty excited about them.  At the end of the show there were fireworks!  I will always love fireworks.

Sunday I went grocery shopping finally and hung out at the nest while doing laundry.  I watched part of the Australian Open with some other people in the TV room.

Monday I met with Janusz again and joined a gym.  Tuesday, school started so I've been hanging out in my office this week.  I've prepped for my recitations on Saturday and gone over the homework and lecture notes for the week.  I also reviewed a couple of people's resumes and cover letters for Janusz, boy is their writing terrible!  Tomorrow I have the official TAs meeting so I'll meet some of the people who are TAs for other classes.

No plans yet for the weekend other than my two recitations on Saturday.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Quickie before I Spend 3 days in the Great Barrier Reef

Today I rode the Skyrail (read gondola) to Kuranda, a village in the rainforest.  There were two stops to walk around the rainforest before getting up to the top.  I wandered around Kuranda for a few hours.  Kuranda is basically like a tourist resort town, shop after shop of souvenirs and knicknacks.  I did buy an opal necklace though - it was on sale for $49 and is pretty.  An art gallery was also having a closeout so I bought two oil paintings for $75.  Taylor if you're reading this I'll send you pictures when I get back to Adelaide.  One is this modern/abstract painting of sailboats and the other one is these 3 people dancing in the rain under an umbrella.  They also had a butterfly sanctuary in the village.  There were hundreds of butterflies in there and they were beautiful.  Butterflies don't sit still so I don't think I got any pictures.  Then, I took the scenic railroad down from the village back into town.  The views were amazing from the train.  I took so many pictures I ran down the battery on my camera!  Today was the first day I actually killed the battery. 

I got back to the hostel and set up another island trip for Thursday since the boat gets back at 8am Thursay morning.  This time I'll be going to Green Island.  Hopefully it will be sunny...

Tomorrow morning the cab picks me up at 6:45 to bring me to the dive office and from there I head on a small plane to Lizard Island for 12 dives in 3 days!  This is the website for my trip:

G'day until Thursday Mates!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pink as the Passion Pit Shirt...

First of all, Happy Birthday Daddy!

Today I went to Moreton Island with Dolphin Wild Cruises (  The day started early, at 7:45 I got picked up from the hostel.  We picked up a family of 4 and a girl my age, Poppy, from another hostel and set off about an hour's drive away to the marina.  When we got to the marina, there were a ton of bright blue jellies in the water.  They were like an electric blue and were so cool to see.  Then we hopped on the boat ready to start the day.  After a 20 minute safety/introduction talk, we headed out toward Moreton Island.  On the way a couple of pods of bottlenose dolphins swam neft to the boat and were awesome to see.

After about an hour, we made it to the island and they got set up for boom netting.  Basically, they put a small fishing net in the water attached to the back of the boat and have 4-6 people climb on.  Then, they drive the boat and you hold on tight.  It reminded me of tubing at LWC.  I got to go twice and it was awesome.  Then, we suited up in snorkel gear to go snorkeling around the Tangalooma wrecks.  7 ships between 1964 and 1988 were placed there to create a breakwater for the island and they've turned into a reef.  We saw some pretty fish and it was cool to explore around the wrecks because it was something I'd never done before.  It also made me really excited for Cairns.

After snorkeling they served lunch.  It was pretty simple sandwiches and chicken but it was fine for a day on the water.  We had about 2 hours to just hang out in the water by the island.  Poppy and I swum along for a bit and floated in the ocean.  She got out, but I wasn't ready to until we had to.  I grabbed a noodle and hung on to the buoy that they'd sent out as a swim marker.  As it swayed back and forth in the current, I swayed with it.  I stayed there til we had to get out of the water.  The boat went further up the island and we saw more dolphins, turtles and dugongs (South Pacific Manatees ish).  Then, something really amazing, and you knew it was amazing because the tour operators were excited, we saw a seal.  We slowed down and it started playing around the boat.  Then, it jumped onto the back deck and tried to climb the ladder that had been brought in!  It was so cool!  When it hopped off it was finally time to head home.  Poppy and I sat at the top deck for the trip home.  I'm pretty sure it was in that last hour that the sun finally got to me.  Now my back is burnt and my arms are a little pink.  The spf 50 lasted a long time but I'm going to need double and triple applications in Cairns!

It was an awesome day!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Delayed update, I'm in Brisbane now

So on Monday I got halfway through a blog post and then fell asleep.  Was busy all day Tuesday and now that I'm in Brisbane, this hostel doesn't have free wifi  so I can't post that one.  But, I paid $5 for an hour of internet on their computers so I'll see how far I can get with this update.

I did the free Sydney walking tour which was fabulous.  It was about 3 hours starting at Town Hall and went all over the place finishing at Circular quay.  The tour guide did a really great job and I would definitely recommend it if you're heading that way.  I got to learn some of the history if Sydney as well as see things I never would have found.  Then, I went exploring around The Rocks which was the original convict settlement area and is now a really cute neighborhood.  I visited The Rocks Discovery Museum and had lunch at a cute little Italian cafe that had an outdoor seating area.  After lunch I walked around The Rocks some more and then walked over to the Harbour Bridge.  One of the pylons on the south (I think) side of the river is a little museum and for $11 you can climb to the top and have a beautiful view of the harbor.  Since it was thunderstorming during my bridge climb, I wanted some nice pictures of the opera house from afar in the sun.  The museum was also really cool because they had replicas of people building the bridge and a video showing it.  Then, I went back to Circular Quay to go to the Museum of Contemporary Art which is free.  There were some cool exhibits in there, but I got there at 4 and it closed at 5 so I had to speed through the museum.  I hung out around Circular Quay for an hour and then at 6 went on the free Rocks walking tour.  We went through a bunch of little lanes and passages and learned about the convict history of the rocks and saw some of the historical construction.  It was also a really well done tour.  After the tour ended, I made my way back to Circular Quay so I could finally see the Bridge and the Opera House lit up at night.  I had dinner at the little temporary bar they have set up for the Sydney Festival and took about a billion pictures of the bridge at sunset.  Then when it was dark, I walked around to the other side of the Quay and took a bunch of pictures of the opera house all lit up.  Then I headed home for the night.

Tuesday was my Sydney beach day.  After asking a few different people whether I should go to Manly or Bondi Beach, the overwhelming response was Manly Beach so that's where I went.  I got up earlyish and headed to Circular Quay to catch a ferry to the beach.  I was on the 9am ferry and it was a pretty  trip up that took about a half hour.  When I got off the ferry, I stopped at the tourist information center and got a map.  I walked across the Manly Corso which had tons of surf shops and other random stores and made it to the beach.  I walked along the water and saw these kids from the Manly Surf Club doing drills.  It was cute - these kids were like 11 years old, maybe younger and they had to paddle out to a spot and back as fast as they could and switch with their partners.  I walked along the water until the beach stopped and it turned into rocks.  Then I walked around the path.  The next beach over was on Shelley Cove which is a protected area because it has some sort of rare sea lettuce or something.  I walked along the path to the beach and found a nice spot in the shade.  It started out quiet - at this point it was only about 10:30, but it got more crowded.  There were tons of people snorkeling and playing in the water.  The water was really cold though and I was really happy with my kindle so I didn't go in.  By about 1 I started to get hungry so I headed back to the Corso to get some lunch.  I got the $10 Tuesday special at a burger joint.  I wandered around the shops for a bit and then got on the 2:45 ferry back to Sydney.  I walked home from the Quay and showered to get ready for the opera.  It turned out that one of the girls staying in the hostel also had a ticket to see La Boheme so we got dinner together and took a bus to the opera house.  We sat at the opera bar for drinks before the show and then we headed inside to our seats.  The opera was beautiful and I'm really glad I got to see a show there.  Seeing it made me really want to watch Rent.  We took a bus back to the hostel and went to bed.

I woke up and finished packing.  The airport shuttle picked me up at 8:45 and I got to the airport at about 9:30 for a 10:55 flight.  The queue was INSANE!  It wrapped around a few times outside of the roped area.  I got in line at 9:38 and I didn't actually get checked in until 10:20.  I don't think I've ever had that crazy of a line at an airport before.  It was a dumb system, you had to check yourself in at a kiosk and it printed your luggage tag for you to put on your bag and then you had to go up to a counter and check it in and they ripped off the luggage tag and reprinted it.  I get having to go up to a station because they have to weigh your bag, but why did I put the luggage tag on if they were just going to rip it off?  The flight took off about 20 minutes late and I slept for the whole thing so I'm pretty sure it was uneventful.  I landed in Brisbane and took a cab to the hostel.  This one is much bigger although I'm in a 6 bedroom dorm.  There's a pool, tennis court and a bar.  There's also a mini-mart inside and 12 computers since there's no wifi.  Once I got my stuff settled, I grabbed a map and headed out to explore.  I made it to the river and came upon a ferris wheel.  I decided to ride it and it turned out that there was a voice over pointing out all of the sights in Brisbane so it helped me get a sense of where things were.  I walked along the parklands on both sides of the river and meandered back to the hostel.  I sat by the pool for an hour or two to finish my book.  When I got to my room, one of my roommates was there.  Her name is Rose and she's from England.  We went down to the bar and enjoyed the $5 Bulmers Cider Wednesday night special for a few hours.  Then it was bedtime.

Today was great!  I left the hostel around 9am and made my way towards the river where I'd be picking up my cruise to the Koala Sanctuary.  The boat showed up at 9:30 and was off at 10am.  For the hour cruise there was a recorded tour pointing things out along the river and giving some history.  Brisbane has been prone to some really bad floods, in 1974 and again in 2011.  After about an hour, we made it to Lone Pine. I wandered a bit and found the reptiles and then the Kangaroo Pen.  I bought a $2 bag of food and spent about 45 minutes taking pictures of and feeding kangaroos.  I got to see a Joey pop out of its mother's pouch which was so cute!  These Roos were super tame and were more than happy to eat out of my hand and it was a lot of fun.  Then, I went to the koala presentation and got to pet the koala that they brought out for the demo.  Then, the piece de resistance was actually holding and cuddling the koala.  They're much heavier than you expect.  I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the park and taking pictures of sleeping koalas in trees.

There's two minutes of internet left on my timer so I'm going to leave it off here but tomorrow I'm heading to Moreton Island to go sandboarding and snorkeling which should be tons of fun!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A gloomy grey day in Sydney

I'm super tired so tonight is just a few pictures. Loved the harbor cruise, opera house tour and the bridge climb. I wish it would have been sunny instead of Thunderstorming but it was still really cool. Mom, I'll do it again with you if it's supposed to be sunny.
My bridge climb pictures are on Facebook, a small selection of today's pictures are here.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The neon shoes trekked across Sydney!

This morning started out early in Adelaide. I waled the half block from the nest to the Railroad station to pick up a taxi. I got to the airport at about 8 for my 9:30 flight, turns out that was quite a bit earlier than I needed to be there. Checking in was super easy, and security was a breeze. I didn't have to pull out my ID once which felt a little strange but no worries mate. I slept on the plane until we started descending into Sydney and hit some crazy turbulence. We didn't really see any of the sights as the plane came in but we could see some of the beaches which were quite pretty. I picked up my bag and jumped into a cab to my hostel. I'm staying in a ten person room. People's stuff is all over the place but it'll be a fine place to call home for 4 nights. I dropped my luggage off and put some things in a locker and headed out the door to go exploring.

I had decided to go to the aquarium to get a preview for my dive trip. The aquarium is in Darling Harbor which is on the western side of Sydney. When I got to the harbor, I was greeted by a giant rubber duck! It's an art piece ready to celebrate Australia Day which is on the 26th of January. I walked down the harbor to get to the aquarium and it reminded me a lot of the wharf area in Capetown. Lots of restaurants and small shops that are tourist traps. The aquarium was at the far end of the harbor.

It's an okay aquarium, not worth how much the tickets cost though. I heard a presentation about platypus' which were funny looking and much smaller than I thought. They're endangered and need protecting. There were lots of exhibits of turtles and fish. Lots of Dorrie's but not so many Nemo's. There were a couple of cool walk through tunnel things with fish, sharks, and rays swimming over you. There were also Dugongs which are these giant mammals (I think) that eat lettuce and are huge. They're closely related to elephants. Apparently there are only 6 on display in captivity in the world and the Sydney Aquarium has two of them so that was pretty cool. I made it through the entire aquarium in about 2 hours.

I decided to keep walking towards King's Wharf because my map said there's a Sydney Observatory that's free. King's Wharf was more restaurants and then I happened upon a GIANT cruise ship, the Sea Princess or something which was just getting ready to set off. I watched the tugboat get set up and start to pull the ship off the side. Then I headed down the Barangaroo Path towards Circular Quay. The path was 3.2km along the water. The Sea Princess got to the Harbor bridge just as I did and it was cool to see. Then, I turned around and literally gasped as I caught my first sight of the opera house through some trees. I continued my walk along the water passing The Rocks, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and several street performers including an Aboriginal playing a didgereedoo! I also passed no fewer than 5 wedding parties having their pictures taken. I continued my walk around Circular Quay and made it to the famous Opera House. It's absolutely gorgeous! There are all sorts of bars and restaurants at the base of the opera house which looked like a lot of fun because they were outside on the water and were full of energy, but I was definitely underdressed. It is Saturday evening after all. I continued my walk into the Royal Botanic Gardens. I walked the whole way around the edge along the water, it was very pretty, I'll have to go back and actually go inside the gardens. I probably took 50 pictures of the same view- the opera house and the bridge together, it's just so pretty. I continued my walk back to the hostel and had dinner at a little dive place in Potts Point, the neighborhood the hostel is in. Now I'm back at the Blue Parrot Backpackers and I'm completely beat so I'm going to take a shower and hop into bed.

The docket for tomorrow is Harbor Cruise, Opera House Tour, and climbing the Harbor Bridge!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Another couple of days in Adelaide

I left off telling you that I was going to go to the Central Market yesterday.  I enjoyed it very much.   It reminded me of Pike's Place in Seattle.  I bought some fruit and had it for lunch in Victoria Square.  I didn't quite make it to Chinatown, I think it's on the far side of the market.  After my lunch I needed some apartment supplies.  At the supermarket I was able to get a cheap saucepan and fry pan as well as some $1 utensils and cheap plates.  They're definitely a sad lot of cooking supplies but at least I have something.

In the afternoon I had a meeting with Colin who is the Director of Heinz in Australia.  He's a nice guy and was telling me all about Adelaide and about the school down there.  It seems much more relaxed than Pittsburgh so I'm excited for school to start and to meet everyone.

After my meeting with Colin, I decided to go back to the market to buy dinner.  Since it was the end of the day, a lot of the vegetables were on sale.  I spent $1.50 on a couple of handfuls of green beans and a red pepper which they call capsicums or something like that here.  I also got some fresh pasta, sauce, and sausage.  I came home and cooked them all up, it made for a nice dinner.

At 7:30 there was an urbanest outing to the Rhino Room which is a comedy club here in Adelaide.  Normally Thursday nights are new material nights and there's an urbanest discount, but last night was the first heat of an Australia-wide comedy competition called Raw.  There were 9 hopeful comedians who each did 5 minute stand-up routines.  I went with Jon (whose role at urbanest is like an RA), Jess who is from Darwin, and Becky from New Zealand.  I had a Breezer at the bar which is the rum equivalent to a Smirnoff Ice and is called an alcopop here in Australia.  Some of the comedians were good, some of the jokes were too Australian for me, I didn't really understand the context.  A Bogan is like a redneck though.  The girl who won did a pretty good job and the MC was great so we had a good time.  It's really nice that urbanest has nightly events because it gives us a chance to get to know some of the people in the building.

This morning I woke up a little bit late, I guess that means my jetlag is completely gone.  I spent a good chunk of the day at the South Australian Museum.  It's nice, but small.  It reminded my of the Field Museum, which is my least favorite museum in Chicago.  Too many artifacts and not enough interaction.  I spent a really long time in the Aboriginals exhibit though, it was really neat to learn about the native Australian cultures.  After the museum, I stopped at home to get my passport so I could withdraw money from the bank and it turned out my new (pink) debit card had arrived!  So I went to the bank and got my PIN set up and took out some cash for my trip tomorrow.  I also stopped at Cheap as Chips (a dollar store kind of place but nothing is $1) and got a pillow, a bath mat, a laundry basket, and rubbish bin bags for the apartment.  I came home and did a load of laundry.  Cricket was on TV while my laundry was in so I watched the Australia vs Sri Lanka game although I had no clue what was going on.

This evening's activity was a free barbie (barbeque) hosted by the urbanest staff.  There were sausages and they used sliced white bread instead of buns.  I got to meet Rick, Wei, and Gunawan.  Rick is from Adelaide and getting his PhD in Aerospace engineering.  Wei is from Malaysia and Gunawan is from Indonesia.  They're a couple and are both at Le Cordon Bleu, he's studying patisserie and she is studying restaurant management.  We had a great time hanging out on the balcony.

Now I'm all packed for my two week adventure and ready to head out in the morning!
Good Night Mates!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The roommates live!

For the past two days I had no idea who I was going to be living with.  The exciting news is that there are roommates!  Annika is from England and just returned from Holiday at home for Christmas.  Carrie is quiet and I don't know where she's from...  It's a 6 bedroom apartment, but at least there are 2 other people here now.

After a day and a half in Adelaide

Things are good.

Tuesday, I took a cab from the Adelaide airport to my dorm which is called urbanest.  I accidentally offended the cab driver by offering him a tip, oops.  Jon at reception checked me in and showed me to my room.  I'm in apartment 20, room b.  I have a lovely view of a parking garage outside my window and it gets a lot of sun in the afternoon.  The dorm room is nice, a twin bed, a desk, drawers and shelves, a wardrobe and a bathroom.  My room looks just like this:

I don't have the binders, map, or cute decorations though.
I got unpacked and then decided to set out to see Adelaide.  Our building is about 2 blocks off of King William Street which is the main street in Adelaide.  I walked down King William and found my bank and got my account set up.  I'm hoping my debit card makes it here before I leave on Saturday... I got to choose a pink one though!  Then I continued down King William Street to Victoria Square which is right in the middle of the city, or the CBD (Central Business District) as they call it.  I walked around the square looking for CMU and found it on the other side of the square after walking the whole perimeter.  I got there at about 5:15 though so it was all packed up and nobody was there.  It was clearly rush hour and everyone in town was heading home it looked like.  I turned back up North towards home and decided to walk through the Rundle Mall to see if I could find a cell phone shop.  Rundle Mall is like a big Old Orchard Mall, straight down one street with small mini malls coming off at ends where streets would normally intersect Rundle Street.  I found a Vodaphone shop and have a dinky little Android phone.  I walked around the mall a bit, but everything was closing so I headed home.  There's a Thai restaurant across the street from the dorm, so I had Thai for dinner.  At this point it was about 7pm and I was shaking I was so tired.  So I went up to my room and went to sleep.

Only to wake up at 5:15 the next day!  Since it was super early, I tried to go back to sleep for about 2 hours with no luck.  Finally I got up and showered and went walking around the city.  I just meandered the streets with no real goal or direction in mind.  Adelaide is only a square mile so it's small and seems like it's pretty hard to get lost.  The Aussies are so relaxed in the morning!  There are little cafes everywhere and people met up with friends for a cup of coffee and a pastry before heading out to work.  It was so much nicer than the frenzied morning rush of people at home who rush to get to Starbucks, don't speak to anyone but the Barista and then rush to work.  I stopped and had a quick brekky at one of the cafes and it was finally 9am, a reasonable time to stop by CMU to see if anyone was there.

I arrived at the Torrens building and met Sharon, the receptionist.  She helped me get set up with Deb who is the HR and Facilities Director for Heinz in Australia.  Deb was very nice and took me around to meet everyone and gave me a tour of the building.  The staff were all very nice.  She didn't quite have all of the paperwork ready for me so she asked me to come back after lunch.  I went and did some more exploring of the mall, looking for kitchen stuff and just checking out what there is.  I found Target!  Target here is more like Macy's than the Targets at home, their clothing selection is much bigger and seems like it's nicer quality too.  I also found the grocery store Woolworth's.  Everything just seems to be more expensive here.  A 24-pack of diet coke cost $19 at 30% off, it's normally $27!  I stopped for a quick lunch at a cafe and then went back to urbanest for my community induction.  I learned where the "bins" (garbage) are, the laundry room, the deck with the "barbies", and the rest of the building.  By then it was about 1:15 so I headed back to the Torrens Building to see if Deb had my paperwork ready.  I got my computer "Australianized" so I now have access to the Australia shared drives and printer and possibly have a email address.  Deb walked me through all the forms and then handed me the keys to my office to go fill them out upstairs.  I filled everything out and cleaned up my office a bit and then brought the forms back down.  I wandered around town a bit more and then came home for a quick nap.

At 8, the dorm had an activity to go to the Moonlight Cinema which is like movies in the park.  I met up with Jon, one of the urbanest RA-type guys and Vincent from South Africa and Becky from New Zealand.  We had fun during the 25 minute walk to the park and then rented these bean bag loungers for the movie which was way more comfortable than sitting on the grass.  I didn't realize it had cooled off (to like, the mid 50s) so it mad for a very cold movie.  We saw The Avengers which I hadn't seen before and it was pretty good.  We got back home around Midnight and I went straight to bed.  But, this morning I woke up at 8:30 so I think I may be doing ok on jet lag now!

Red Flag: CMU, Yellow $: Bank, Yellow House: Urbanest,
Yellow Shopping Bag: Rundle Mall, Pink Pin: Moonlight Cinema
On to more exploring today.  I'm going to check out the Central Market and Chinatown.  It's supposed to be 90 today so it'll be pretty hot.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Landed in Sydney!

Just a quick update. Our flight from LAX to Sydney was uneventful but it did leave an hour late and therefore landed a half hour late. In LA I met a nice couple from Nashville who were headed for a cruise in Sydney. We were sharing stories about different trips we've taken, they've been all over the place. Then, since our flight was delayed, the husband decided to start asking presidential trivia...APUSH was a looong time ago so I didn't do very well, but it passed the time while we were waiting. Did you know Lincoln was the only president to hold a patent? I didn't either.

Finally, we got to board the 747. I was seated in seat 73D, there were only 75 rows on the plane, so I was at the way back. I was in the aisle seat of the middle section of seats. I sat next to Sister Bernadette who had just spent two years in Washington DC getting her Master's in Psychology and was finally going home, she was sad to leave America. I told her a little bit about my trip and learned a few Australian pronunciations. Cairns is pronounced Cannes with a soft 'a'. Melbourne is Mel-bin. I'm sure I will butcher a ton of their pronunciations but it was nice to learn a couple. Thanks to Ambien, I slept for most of the flight, minus the last 4-5 hours. I watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower on the in-flight entertainment and Moneyball on my iPad. Moneyball was way better as a book. The view coming into Sydney was beautiful though, we could see all the beaches. I didn't see the harbor though.

Customs was no problem, I accidentally went through the line that said I came in from a domestic flight so I got to skip the actual customs line after going through immigration. That was nice. I was still too late to make my Adelaide connection and discovered that my carry-on suitcase was both too big and too heavy to be carried on to a domestic flight. So I got rebooked on a flight an hour later and paid to check my bag. I'm posting this from the gate and boarding has just started so I'll post this and check in again later!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Packing Dilemmas...

I really hate packing, a lot. Both of my bags are too heavy, back to the drawing board...
This post is also me testing posting from the blogger app on my iPad and importing pictures with my new card reader. Here is a picture of one of my very full bags. Can't wait to leave tomorrow!