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Published: October 16th 2011
Hello again from Western Australia! I apologize for the lack of updates last week. After my power converter caught on fire, it took me a little while to find a store where I could buy a new one and thus my camera was unable to be recharged for about a week. Thus I had no pictures to share! So, I'll just combine the past two week's worth of activities into one blog post.
Last weekend, I went to over to Claremont and did some shopping and sightseeing before going over to the Perth Mint for their gold-pouring event. I went on a tour of the Mint and attended lectures on the history of the mining industry in Western Australia (yes, I am just confirming my status as a big nerd for those of you who don't already know). Then, they showed us an old-fashioned gold pour that produced a gold block worth $300,000! It was surprisingly small and as soon as it reached its solid shape, they put it back in the fire and melted it again.
During the work week, I have been doing a lot of reading. So much reading that I think I now know the
entire past 10 years worth of research on the other-age effect (the idea that we are better at recognizing people from our own age group versus people from another age group). This is all reading I am doing as part of my project back in St. Catharines investigating sensitivity to facial cues to identity in own- and other-age faces among young adults and senior citizens. The task that I am working on here is completely ready and testing has already began; however, I am having a really hard time recruiting participants for the study. It has been frustratingly slow getting people in to the lab (likely as a function of the time of year here; it's the end of the term and students are studying for exams) and I just need to get my sample size up so that I can start analyzing the data.
On Friday night, the whole FaceLab went out to celebrate a student's successful defense of her PhD thesis proposal. We first went out to a Chinese restaurant called The Red Teapot for dinner. I think it was the first time I have had Chinese food since I returned from China! (I was very, very
tired of Chinese food after eating it for three meals a day for two months!) I was pleased to discover that my chopstick skills had not disappeared and that surprisingly, I was back to loving white rice again. In fact, I think I ate more rice than anyone at the table! After dinner, we went over to a pub for awhile for some dancing. Because I was leaving very early the next morning for a day trip, my friend Nadine suggested that we leave early (around 11:00) so that we could get back to her place at a reasonable time. It was probably a good thing we did that because I later found out that the rest of the lab stayed out until around 3:00 am that night!
Since the train line that goes to my house was closed for repairs all weekend, I had asked Nadine in advance if I could stay at her place that night and then just get up super early to catch a bus over to the departure point for the tour I was scheduled to go on the next day. She was fine with it, so I crashed on her couch for the
evening and then had to be up at the un-Godly hour of 5:45 the next morning. I caught the earliest bus possible over to the Barrack Street jetty, where I was to meet the tour group for a 1-day tour up to Nambung National Park and Lancelin Sand Dunes. After our departure from Perth, our first stop was to Caversham Wildlife Park, where we got to see koalas, kangaroos, and wombats! It was my first time to see all three of these creatures, so I was quite excited. For all of the animals, you were allowed to go right into their big enclosures and feed and pet them. Let me tell you, God must have a sense of humor because those kangaroos were about the weirdest-looking creatures I have ever seen. I mean, I have seen pictures of them before but their movements just really added to the whole comedic effect. There were so many of them and they weren't shy in the least bit about coming right up to you and putting their faces right up to yours. I was being swarmed by them because I made the mistake of volunteering to be the one to give them their
food. Even after I was all out of food, they kept following me around and trying to nibble on my fingers.
After lunch in the coastal town of Cervantes, we headed up to Nambung National Park, which is known for the Pinnacles. The Pinnacles are these tall limestone rock formations that rise out of the middle of the desert. The park is located about 250 kilometers north of Perth, so it took us quite awhile to get there. On the bus, I met this nice older couple from Poland who happened to have a daughter who is working on her PhD in psychology as well. When I asked them what she studies, they said that all they knew was "P100, something called P100" and outside of that, they had no idea because every time she tried to explain it to them, it was too confusing and they just tuned her out. I said that yes, I sadly know exactly what the P100 is and that my parents probably feel the same way about my research, given that my dad once asked me when I was going to start focusing on the left nostril since I study faces.
Pinnacles were absolutely amazing! The pictures really can't even do the scenery justice. They just went on and on, as far as the eye could see. The one thing you can't see though in the pictures is the sheer number of flies there were out there! I have never in my life been surrounded by so many flies! And when you swatted them off, they would just come back and land on you again after about one second. In the souvenir shop, they sold these black nets you could put over your head to block the flies from your face. I saw a bunch of people buy them and between those and the incessant swatting, I think our group looked like a bunch of beekeepers doing a rain dance.
We stayed at the Pinnacles for about an hour and a half, and then we drove on to the Lancelin Sand Dunes, where we went sandboarding and drove 4WD vans out over the dunes. Sandboarding was awesome! Apparently, I was equipped with the Ferrari of sandboards because I was just soaring on that thing! I would get going so fast that I would get to the bottom of a dune
and just keep going up the next dune. I quickly learned though that you need to keep your mouth shut while boarding because I think I swallowed about an hourglass worth of sand on my first run down. I kept going up and down the dunes until I was absolutely exhausted from climbing back up so many times and was coated in a thin layer of sand from head to toe. (Note to self: While sunscreen is great for preventing burns, it also makes you a veritable fly strip for sand.) By then, it was starting to get dark, so everyone rallied back onto the bus and we then had about a 2-hour drive back to Perth.
I got home about 9:30 last night and didn't set my alarm and thus ended up sleeping until about 10:30 am today. Apparently, I needed the sleep! Tomorrow it's back to work and hopefully a lot more testing so that I can get a full data set. Sending you all much love from Australia! Keep in touch! 😊
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loving the photos of the animals and sand dunes. those look like amazing experiences! nothing new here, just scholarship applications, stats assignments and same old boring school stuff. much love and can't wait to read about your other adventures! xo
Hey Linds! Awesome photos and stories! I love the pic of the Kangaroo with the little joey, so cool to see! Glad you're able to get out and explore, it sounds like youre having a good time over there? xo
Sounds like you're starting to get out and see more things now! I'm glad you had a good weekend :) I'm loving the pictures, and can't wait to see more!
I love your story about the kangaroos following you! The deer at Marineland do the same thing -to the point that it is scary as you run out of food, and realize they are still swarming, and still hungry!! I guess every zoo has the same thing - of course I think the kangaroos are a bit cuter - especially when the little joey is in the pouch! Glad you are having a good time, the weather here is bad. We had a big storm last night, and today is just the dreary sort of day... at least we expect sunshine on the weekend! Allison