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Published: February 11th 2008
me feeding a wallaby in cairns
the wallabies were so cute and sweet, they were great with people
I'm here! So much to tell, but I'm not sure how much time I have. I won't have internet in my room until next Tuesday (agh!) so I'm in the library at the moment trying to catch up on everything before I head out again. I guess I'll start from the beginning.
My flight out of LA was really long. haha. I sat next to an older couple named Tony and Joyce that were really sweet and made it a little more bearable. They had movies on the backs of all the seats so we could watch a bunch of different movies. I watched Across the Universe probably 3 times 😊 We landed in Brisbane and flew right out to Cairns. The plane ride was only an hour and a half long, and coming into Cairns was gorgeous. We could see the water and the reefs in it. Blue water and green mountains everywhere, it was beautiful. When I have internet on my computer I'll put a couple pictures up. The one thing we all kept commenting on was how our pictures would never do this place justice. But hopefully it will give everyone a good idea of what we
salt water croc
being lazy on a rock
were experiencing. So, we land and the airline has lost most of our bags. Probably 3/4 of us didn't have bags, myself included. So, we filled out a report and got on our way, no worries. We loaded up and got to the hostel. We stayed at a place called Gilligans....coolest hostel ever. I shared a room with 7 other girls and it worked out nicely surprisingly. Most of them were going to the University of Newcastle which is in New South Wales. All of them were really sweet and we ended up all hanging out during out orientation trip. Our room was tiny, but we made it work. Each day we attended about an hour long session on things like banking, cultural differences, slang, etc etc. We went to a place called Rainforestation where we learned to throw a boomerang (I'm terrible at it) and were shown how to play the diggerido (can't spell it). The aboriginal guides then showed us a series of dances that all had different stories. That was pretty fascinating. Then...we fed WALLABIES!!! I'll put pictures of that up too, that was so fun. They're very used to humans so they were really sweet. They
they did a bunch of dances, all with different stories
ate right out of your hand. Then...I HELD A KOALA! I have a large picture of that that they gave me, so I'll have to wait til I get back to show that one. Really cute animals, but their claws are SO SHARP. They dig right into you. Then, we went back to the room, and we went swimming in a lagoon. It was right by the water, so it looked like one of those infinity pools. The water was really warm and it was fun to relax and do that for a while. We went to the pub that was connected to Gilligans each night. I have a new favorite beer...it's called Strongbow, I think it's English. I heard you can find it in the states sometimes, it's a cider beer. Tasty! The next day was amazing....we went to the Great Barrier Reef. All 65 of us piled on to this large sailboat and set out for a 2 hour trip to the reef. We stopped at one spot and I snorkeled, it was awesome. I saw a school of squid swimming around and the reef was beautiful. Then, we loaded back up onto the ship and had lunch,
i was in the rainforest when i took this one :)
then went to another spot. This spot was the best. There was an island we could snorkle out to, so we did. As we were going out there, I thought my flipper would hit the reef. That's how close we were to it. The colors were super vibrant and the fish were just going about their business feeding and whatnot, they were so bright and colorful. We got to the island and it was roped off except for one section because the birds that inhabit it are protected. Looking out you could see about 200 birds, all sitting, all with eggs under them. A couple had even hatched. That night we went to a few pubs and danced, it was great. My orientation time felt like a vacation and it's so cool to be able to say I've been to the Great Barrier Reef. I've met some people here in Melbourne that have lived in Australia all their lives that haven't done it yet.
The flight to Melbourne went really smoothly. The 3 guys and myself landed and were picked up by a small bus and were each dropped off at our "colleges" (same thing as dorms). I was
in cairns, absolutely breathtaking
so nervous going in, but those who showed me around were really nice and helpful. My room is little and simple, but it's perfect, it's all I need. I thought it'd be hard having a smaller room after having such a big one back in Richmond, but I actually prefer it. There is a kitchen on each floor with a fridge and freezer and we each get half a shelf to ourselves. And...the laundry is free here! I can't wait to do free laundry. That's never happened to me before, except at home (haha mom). The college is separated into 12 towers, I live in 9. They have names for each group of towers. Towers 1-4 are called the ghetto, 5-8 are the 'burbs and 9-12 are the heights. All the towers are the same in quality, but it's just a running joke, because the higher number towers and up higher on the hill. I've made friends with a bunch of people that go to school in Wisconsin and also with a couple Dutch guys that are absolutely hilarious. We've all been having a great time getting to know everyone. Yesterday we made it out to Melbourne (downtown) and went to a beach festival. Super crowded, but a lot of fun. I had a delicious veggie burger and a cider beer and was good to go. The tram rides are kind of long, but that was probably just because of the amount of people in the city for the festival. They apparently like to just have festivals for no reason, so I think that's pretty cool. We saw Flinders Station and all that good stuff too, but just briefly. Melbourne seems like a really cool city. It's like a really really big version of Richmond. Taller buildings, trams, and whatnot. People dress kind of similar though, so that was interesting to see.
Anyways, I hope this catches everyone up on what I've been up to! I won't have internet for a while, but I'll come to the library every couple of days until then and try to update everyone as much as possible. Love you all!
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