Thursday, January 31, 2008

Link for Pics

Like I said in the previous post, I was going to give you a link for pics:

Just killing time...

Well, it's raining here, so there isn't much really to do. I walked down to the work and travel office (I DEFINITELY think it was a great idea for me to do this program through them as opposed to by myself... I have a ton of advantages like free internet, and all kinds of great discounts)

I'm uploading my zoo pics to Flickr now, so I can give you all a link to check out all my pics so far.

Thanks, Nick, for keeping me updated on all the celebrity gossip! They were actually talking about the Heath drug tape here yesterday, that is news here because he is Australian.

And I do know where Broadway is, Cheryl... I actually was over there once when I was a little lost. Then I sat on a bench to check out my map, and some guy came up to me and gave me a piece of paper that said that they were looking for females for a job massaging clients. Hah! And that was also where the one homeless guy came up to me and asked for money, then told me to watch out for people in the city because "there are a lot of assholes". That is my experience with Broadway!

Hmm, I just looked at the weather and it looks like we have showers or thunderstorms for the rest of the week! I wonder how that is going to affect surf camp...

Anyhow, I'll post the link to my pictures from the zoo and the aquarium/opera house next time... I still need to organize them into folders so there is some semblance of order.


Snakes, Spiders, and Cuddly Things

Well, today all I really did was go to the Australian Wildlife zoo... my feet are STILL killing me, so I really couldn't do much but limp my way there. AND (forgive me, I still want to complain a bit) my calve muscles are bringing me so much pain... I guess I really did a lot of walking yesterday... on the plus side, I'll come back to the US with KILLER legs ;)

So, the zoo was pretty neat, but I think I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have because every step was like someone walking on hot coals, while someone kicked me in the calve with steel-toed boots. First you went through the bug exibit, and I got to see bees, GIANT ants (that I saw in Costa Rica in the wild so I wasn't impressed) nasty huge cockaroaches, GIANT stick bugs, you know. Fun stuff. Then you went through the spider exibit, where I saw the deadliest spider in the world, the "sydney funnel web" spider, which as you can tell by the name, is found in the city that I am now in! Cool! It was hard to get a good pic of the spider through the glass, but so you have an idea:

Then it was on to the snakes. There were some BIG suckers in that place... and of course, I saw the deadliest SNAKE in the world here too. Check it:

Then we looked at some huge and crazy looking lizards... I was really starting to feel bad for all these creepy crawly's at this point... even the bees and the ants. I mean, those tiny little enclosures with people like me walking by and gawking and snapping pictures... poor little guys.

And FINALLY we got on to the good stuff, the cuddlies. And because I know you all want to see what Australia is famous for, here you go:

Koala (turn your monitor to the side for this one)

and the kangaroos! These two were boxing. (Actually, I think the one on the left was the baby and the mom was trying to clean him, and the baby kept pushing her away... it was fun to watch)

I didn't get to hold a koala, because the lady said that the one was kind of cranky so they didn't want to bother it. And, since I'm the one person who is certain to get mauled by a koala bear, I didn't persist.

The last thing was the butterfly exibit, and a butterfly landed on my foot! That's like 7 years good luck right?

For both the aquarium AND the wildlife exibit, when you leave, you HAVE to walk through the gift shop, I mean, through the ENTIRE gift shop right through the aisles, before you can leave. Are zoo's and aquariums normally like this? I feel bad for people who take their kids to those places! I, of course, bought nothing. Hah.

So, that was my day... I also went to the Work and Travel office and filled out a bit of paperwork but besides that, i didn't really do much else. Yet it's 7:28... I must have walked REALLY slow.

Now a few random things:

Did you know that in Australia, they put BEETS on their hamburgers? I mean, when you order a hamburger, the beet is there, right on the bread, like we would have our tomato. And it's a HUGE beet too, like practically the size of the patty! Crazy!

Also, they don't have oil and vinegar as options to put on your sub sandwiches. :(

And, as we all know, they drive on the WRONG side of the road here. Well, I thought 'hey, that won't affect me, I won't be driving!' but... they also WALK on the wrong side of the sidewalk! I'm used to people walking on the right side, but here, everyone walks on the left side. So when I forget, I bump into a lot of people.

And finally, so far with my experience, Australians don't get mad at me if I slip and call 'football' 'soccer'... but the English folk that I meet don't like it at all. haha... I try to explain to them that it's habit and because we have AMERICAN football (just called football to us) it's easy for me to get confused so I'd just rather call it soccer thank you very much.

So, that's it! I don't think I'm going to really do much tomorrow during the day, just relax my feet and legs I think, because tomorrow night we are doing a 'pub crawl' so I definitely don't want to be the first person to call it a night. I may not update this again until saturday, unless something interesting happens to me during the day.

Also... surf camp is only a few days away! WOO!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tourist-y Day

First of all, I find it very amusing that everyone assumed that I actually SAW the spider hiding under my toilet seat. But no, I didn't. I just said that I LEARNED that they like to hide there :) No, I haven't seen any deadly spiders yet, but when I do I'll let you know!

Today, I did most of the tourist type things that I wanted to do in Sydney... first I went to the Sydney Opera house and did a tour. The opera house is amazing! It was built so that it resembled a ship, as you can see by the picture below. It's right on the edge of the water so the master architect thought it would be cute to have it look like sails from afar. The interesting thing this building is that the master architect never saw his creation completed... they fired him when it was about 2/3 completed because he was taking too much money and too much time to complete it... and after he left Australia, he never came back, even when they asked him to. I believe he's not really mad about it anymore, but now he won't come down to Australia because he doesn't think he'd survive the trip! (He's 89 or so now).

They have all kinds of things playing in the Opera House... they recently had the circus (!), they have had sumo wrestling... and of course they have opera and plays. Actually, the final show of "Australian Idol" is filmed in the opera house, and it can fit thousands of screaming teenage girls! Another bit of trivia... the current governor of California actually won his LAST bodybuilding championship in this building... before he started acting or politics. (Can you tell that I didn't want to look up how to spell his name?

You could also see the Sydney Harbor bridge from the opera house, and for all of you who don't believe I'm really here, check it out:

After that, I went around to the botanical gardens, which are near the government mansion. They were absolutely beautiful, and HUGE. Right at the beginning of the gardens, there was this one area that had a bunch of pieces of buildings... it kind of looked like a building threw up all over the grass. There was no sign that explained exactly WHAT these pieces of building were doing on the grass... I assume they knocked down a building and they just wanted those pieces to remember it by... or something.

And my final tourist-y thing for the day was the Sydney Aquarium. I haven't been to an aquarium for a while, so I don't know how different it is from one in the states, but it was definitely neat. I saw crocodiles, sharks, eels, jellyfish, seals, penguins, and all kinds of fish really. I'll just post a couple of the neater pictures:

Don't feed the crocs: (sorry it's sideways I can't really edit my pics before uploading them... just turn your head or your computer screen)

I didn't even realize the eel head was in the pipe when I took this, I was just taking a picture of it's tail, the pipe was completely dark.

Cthulhu is in Sydney!

Oh, and the best part of the aquarium, I got to ride the shark! Don't worry, I was never in any danger. The shark was heavily sedated.

After I finished with the aquarium, I *was* going to go to the wildlife park, but by then my feet were killing me... I walked pretty much across the whole city of Sydney because I was too cheap to buy a bus ticket. I thought getting the walking exercise would be a good idea!

So now, the wildlife park and holding the koalas will be tomorrow. But... tomorrow it's supposed to be 25 degrees. For real. Yo.

They just announced that tonight is ladies night at the hostel bar... but I think I'm going to skip it actually. I am so beat from all the walking today, and it's just the beginning of my trip so I don't want to start spending all my money too early... can I tell you that Sydney is SO expensive! It's ridiculous that a box of bandaids is 7.95 AUD! And a small bottle of sunscreen was 9.95! They'll bankrupt me!

Anyhow, I think I'll start working part-time after surf camp (which starts next Monday) so at least I'll be able to pay for my housing or something while I'm here, so I don't spend TOO much.

Oh, and I do have a bunch of other good pictures, which I tried uploading to a Flickr account, but it was taking FOREVER to upload them, and I pay for my access to the internet (unless I walk far away to the work/travel building, maybe I'll upload them when I next go there) so you guys can expect to see more detailed pics of all my travels at a later date.

OK, I need to go put my aching feet up and get ready for another long walking day tomorrow.


Monday, January 28, 2008

New wrinkles in my brain...

Well, today wasn't all that extraordinary... pretty much all I did was orientation for the program, and when that was done, I did a bit of walking about and getting lost in the city.
I have only really been here in Sydney for one day, but I've already learned some very interesting tidbits. And because you are my captive audience, I will share them with you.

1) Their cross walk lights BEEP when they turn green. How convenient is that? No more staring at that little red hand so you don't miss it the second it turns green... now you can stare around at all the people instead of the cross light and still be informed when it's time to go.
2) There seems to be more Asian people than Australians in Sydney. All the store signs are translated into Chinese (or another Asian character language, I still can't easily tell them apart). And everywhere I look I see GIANT green flags telling us that 08 is the year of the rat. Also the products that you can buy seem to be targeting tourists from Japan or China... all that Hello Kitty kind of stuff. I guess that kind of makes sense, as Asia is the closest continent, so that must be where all the tourist dollars come in... but you'd think that they'd want to buy products that they COULDN'T get from home, right?
3) Apparently, redback spiders like to do their hiding under toilet seats... just waiting for the unsuspecting person to sit down...
4) All the music that is playing in stores etc. seems like the music that we played in stores... in the 90's. "All I wanna do is have some fun"? "You spin me round"? Good music, but it makes me feel like when I crossed the date line I actually went back in time 15 years!
5) They don't seem to have dollar bills... they have dollar coins and 2 dollar coins, that they actually USE! AND their "paper" money is so neat, it's plastic and has a little clear window on each bill.
6) I had a few other things, but man I think the jet lag is starting to kick in. I'm just trying to kill time for a few hours until I go to bed... I don't want to go to sleep before 9 or i'll have the same problem when I wake up tomorrow. But tomorrow I think I'll do some of the tourist-y stuff in Sydney... I still have a week before surf camp starts so I need to stay in Sydney until then to make things easier for me.

I'm here!

Well, I made it!

The plane ride was OK... it was REALLY LONG though. I don't think I could have handled much more... at least I didn't sit next to the smelly guy or the crying kids though... on the trip from London to Singapore (I apparently had a layover in Singapore that no one told me about... it didn't say it on my ticket) I sat next to Paco and Rory. They were really nice and at least I had someone to talk to to make the first 11 hours go a bit faster. Paco was from South Carolina and he was getting off at Singapore for a work conference. Rory was from South Africa, and was actually doing almost the same thing as myself... he quit his job in London that he had been working in for about 4 years and was going to Australia for a few months before going back to South Africa.

So, when we got to Singapore, I couldn't believe how beautiful the place was. I don't know why, but I always thought Singapore was a kind of desert-like place... but it was like a tropical paradise! Palm trees, clean blue water... too bad I could only see it from the airport and from the air. After our layover and we started taking off, there was a huge rainbow in the sky and I saw it from above. I wish I could have taken a picture but my camera was stowed away safely in the overhead bin. Normally I shove my carry on under the seat, but MAN can I talk about how cramped that place was? The plane to London wasn't THAT bad, but the plane to Singapore and Sydney? Awful. AND I was in a MIDDLE seat.

Anyway, when I finally got here, it took a while for me to go through customs and all that jazz, but I got to the place they wanted us to meet in relatively one piece. There were two other girls from Denmark whom were doing the same thing as me, but they came together so they pretty much stuck together. They were friendly though... but I thought *I* packed light! They came with just a backpack and a purse each. And here I was with my rolling duffel bag and purse. But hey, less laundry for me, right?

I got to the YHA at about 10, checked in, and pretty much went right to bed. I'm sharing a room right now with 4 other girls but I didn't really have a chance to talk to them because they were either asleep when I came in or didn't come in until after I had gone to sleep.

Now i'm on the internet machine that the hostel provides (1.50 AUD for 30 minutes) and I'm waiting for 9:00 to roll around before I go to the orientation meeting.

Oh, and I haven't seen any kangaroos yet. YET.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

OK, it's time to go!

This is it... I'm about to leave for dinner and then the airport! Don't expect any updates for a little while but I'll definitely update as soon as I can...

Wish me luck. Hopefully this will be the most boring blog I post ;)