FC: Australia 2010
1: In June 2009, I received word that I was accepted to the Masters of Public Health program at the University of Sydney in Australia. They actually accepted me to start in July, but moving across the earth in a month was not a possibility. I spent the next few months planning the move and saving as much money as possible. It was probably the riskiest and subsequently most stressful undertaking of my life thus far. Everything worked out seemlessly from the visa to student loans, housing, etc thankfully and the whole thing felt like a dream. It wasn't until I got my diploma in my hand in May 2011 that I finally relaxed. I was in Sydney from February 2010 until November 2010. I probably did more travel than school, I definitely have more photos of travel. In November I moved down to Melbourne and used that as a base to travel around some more. I finally had to come home in February 2011, one year and 4 days after leaving Chicago. This book is only the first installment. It covers my adventures from leaving Chicago through June 2010, half way through my semester break. Scattered within the book are blog entries I wrote while I was over there. -Kassi
3: Jessica and I went to dinner at my favorite Chicago sushi place, Tank. Where she successfully surprised me with this crew waiting for us! A great surprise, great friends, great food, and an amazing send off!
4: I arrived in Sydney on February 10th, 2010 in the height of summer. My first few days were overwhelming. Oh how Australia changed me! After the jet-lag and initial shock of actually accomplishing a cross-continental move, I ventured out with some new friends to see the sights! | Sydney
6: updates...Updates...UPDATES February 14, 2010 I apologize for lacking in the update department...I will get better. There are a few reasons why the updates haven't been happening.... 1. Internet is expensive. 2. While on the internet I feel like I should be doing something more productive...like apartment hunting. 3. I have no pictures to share as I don't have my computer set up. 4. A lot of my updates sound whiny. Regardless, there are a lot things that I want to share with everyone. Many times I day I see something or something happens that I want to tell everyone about. Like today, while walking to the Harbour Bridge a parrot shit on my shoulder. Thats good luck right? Also, its raining, since Friday, through tomorrow. Its not the rainy season, but apparently this is the wettest summer Sydney has had. I like it and hate it at the same time. I dont have a tan, so I want sun, but the sun here is oppressively hot. Or at least it feels oppressive compared to the cold climate I just left. Also...it ruins my hair! I still haven't bought a hair straightener (gasp!) but the humidity would ruin it anyway, so I just walk around with crappy hair. Last night I borrowed my neighbors straightener and everyone was impressed with how awesome my hair really is (thank you again Erica!) Speaking of neighbors...apparently I had to move to Sydney to pick up a British accent. All my roommates (theres 10 beds in my room) are English, save for one Canadian dude. I find myself speaking with a British accent. I don't think they notice it because they never heard me talk before, but seriously...I sound freakin English.
7: There is a disproportionate number of money lenders, sex stores, and open air Asian food shops near my hostel. But once you get past the money lenders and sex stores, there is an AWESOME mall/market. Through the week its just a mall with a food court of all asian food. But Wednesday through Sunday it is also Paddy's Market (why it has an irish name I dont know). Paddy's market is AMAZING. Its like a giant flea market...giant. And it has everything you could wish for. There is also a produce area, like Super H Mart in Evanston if you know what that is. I've been there about 5 times since arriving 5 days ago. Though while at Paddy's Market today, I discovered that Chase Bank has blocked my debit card. Pissed. One, its embarrassing when I have no other way to pay for things (left my cash stash in my room). I told them I was traveling so I don't know why they blocked it. I used it yesterday at an ATM just fine and there is plenty of money in it. The kicker is...Its Sunday here. Which means its Saturday in the states. So I wont even be able to get a hold of customer service until Tuesday. And if I find a place between now and then I am going to need to put down a bond, which is about a grand. I don't have a grand in cash on me. And if they take the money I have, I wont have any money to use until this gets taken care of. Annoying. Anyways, I'm about to run out of internet. When I have more internet money, or my Uni Key at University is fixed I will post more updates. And pictures. I have plenty of pictures of my new hostel friends. They are all pretty awesome. Today was the first day I did anything toursity, I have pics of that too. One last point...something I never thought I would be able to say: Today I bought a mini-dress. A mini-skirt dress. Crazy.
8: WAKE UP! SYDNEY | Wake Up! was my destination when I arrived. I lucked out with my inexperienced hostel selection. It was huge, only about ten years old, in the middle of Central Square, had all the amenities you would want in a hostel including a club in the basement (Sidebar) and some pretty awesome people! I moved into room 702 and my 9 other roommates quickly took me under their wing. The following 3 weeks were filled with a lot of Circle of Death, dancing at Sidebar and perfecting my English accent!
9: Marcus and me at Sidebar my first night out | Emma and Bethany after they took me to Circular Quay for the first time. | Emma and JT the Lone Canadian | Charlotte and her freakishly long tongue
13: Both Marcus and Rob got jobs working for the Oz Party Bus. Which proved to be very beneficial for me!
14: A Proper Blog Post February 23, 2010 Ok, I'm feeling more stable now that I have secured a place to live. I also am realizing that life is going to implode again when classes start, because grad school in Australia is vastly different than undergrad in the US. So I should give you all a proper update now, while I have the time and sanity :) During my 26 hours of traveling from Chicago to Sydney: --It FINALLY felt real, like it was actually happening to me when my lovely sister Jessica dropped me at the train station to get back to Wonder Lake after partying in Chicago all weekend. And in classic Kassi-Jessica-style we almost missed the train and did not even get the luxury of a proper goodbye. Which was probably for the best because I was blubbering like a baby and trying not to worry the other passengers. --I'm sick to my stomach with worry, anxiety, sadness, excitement, every other possible emotion until the moment I get through security at O'Hare, then it all dissipates away. I'm ready for my adventure. --I spent almost the entire 4 hour layover in LA on the phone with friends for one last time getting in every minute I can until I board for New Zealand and won't be able to freely talk to them for some time. --Waiting to take off to NZ, all the worry and anxiety come flooding back, and I find myself crying but trying not to sob on the airplane. All because I had to turn my phone off. It seemed very final. --Sleepaides apparently have NO effect on me, though they do make my eyelids soo heavy I can't open my eyes, even though Im awake. I doze, but never really sleep on the 12hr leg to Auckland.
15: I finally arrive in Sydney 8am local time. The airport is chaotic, customs lets me through without even checking my checked baggage...sweeet! And I was able to buy a phone straight away at the airport, saving me some hassle later on. My hostel was ready early, thankfully. I forced myself awake until 7pm to stave off jet lag. I've never been so tired...my eye sockets hurt. The heat is unbearable and I walked around thinking "Who the hell did I think I was? Why in the world did I think I could move to Australia?" I'm validated later on when talking to other travelers who had the same thoughts. Its not regret, its worry. Hostel life is interesting. I love it and hate it at the same time. I love that everyone is in the same boat, no one knows anyone and everyone wants to make friends. Everyone is friendly. They usually want to go out or hang out, or drink Goon in the room together. (Goon is Australian box wine. It is the definition of awful. Literally on the box says it contains fish, milk, and eggs.) I hate that theres no privacy and when I want to waste a day or night away doing nothing and taking a "mental health day" theres always someone there to judge and say that I should go out. I hate that I can't sleep in cuz inevitably theres someone leaving at 6am to catch a bus to go up the east coast. And I don't like that all the friends Ive made have all now left. I'm thankful that I only have two days left in the hostel. Then I get to move into my awesome new apartment. I. am. so. excited. I'm moving in Friday. I won't have internet there yet. I have to buy a usb internet thing. The internet is very strange here, they have limits. You get like 6GB a day. I dont even know what that means! But I can't get the usb thing until I have a proof of address, so I have to mail myself something first. Though Im not exactly sure about my mailing address. Im pretty sure Im in the city limits of Sydney, but anything here that asks for address asks for what 'suburb' Im in. Which is Annandale. So I dont know if I should list Sydney or Annandale as my address...and I dont want to pester my new roommate before I even move in, lol.
16: The view from my bedroom window was spectacular overlooking Blackwattle Bay, the Anzac Bridge, and Harbour Bridge further in the distance. The Castle next door was the bane of my existence and not just because of the obstructed view, but because of the constant construction at 7am, annoying yippy dogs, and cockatoos that lived in their tree. Also pictured, Woosa the Blue Russian cat.
17: I found an apartment! It was a hard fought battle, spending hours trying to find a listing, then it would inevitably turn out to be a hole in the wall, and then to discover that it was already taken by the time I got there anyway. Luckily, I found this place in Annandale. Sarah interviewed a number of people and chose me as the one she could get along with best, which turned out to not be the case in the end, but was great in the beginning. | The view from the front veranda of Sydney city
18: Sydney University | I spent almost all my time at Edward Ford (left), also known as Eddie Ford, along with every other full time MPH and MIPH student. Pictured below: Victoria Park and the ugliest building in Sydney
19: The Great Hall
20: Sydney Uni March 7, 2010 First week of Uni complete. Only 12 more for semester 1. I'm pretty happy to be a student again, though I forgot how many undergrad students there are. One major difference between Oz grad school and US undergrad is that my schedule is different every week. I'm not sure if its a grad school thing, or an Oz thing, or a Sydney Uni thing. I have three classes that meet weekly for lectures and tutorials, though one of those classes didn't meet last week. I also have 3 classes that meet only 1 week, have a few online discussions, write a paper, and be done with it. I had one of those this week. It met friday 9-530 and saturday 9-330, I have to participate on online discussion, write a 1500 word essay, and thats it. Its strange, though I may like it once I get used to it. It does eat a lot of my Saturdays (week 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8) and might make it difficult to hold a job (though I only just started looking today, and not very intently). So this week I had: Epidemiology- I still don't really know what it is, lol Bio-stats- This class will most likely make me cry Public Health Achievements and Challenges- This was one of those meet once, write a paper and be done with it classes. It met Friday and Saturday all day, but I don't have this class again. Another difference is that every class has an online component. I think most schools are going this route, I just don't prefer it. I get overwhelmed dealing with one class online, let alone 6. There are online discussions, assignments, emails (yet another email to check), announcements, etc. It just gets overwhelming. But I'll adjust.
21: I get all giddy and excited when they are lecturing on something I care about (like health disparities, or comparing the US to AU) and have a hard time staying awake when they lecture on things I don't care about (chronic disease, health promotion). So I guess its a good thing that I'm back in school then. I can hone in on things I care about, and narrow my field a bit. | Doodles during lectures. How did I come up with a flamboyant vampire?!
22: The graffiti tunnel
23: St. Patrick's Day 2010 | St. Patrick's Day in Sydney was epic. Anja, Mel and I went on a Booze Cruise and later to The Gaff, which I normally hated, but this night was particularly good :) | "Shagga" in the background making out with some random hottie
24: Happy 26th Birthday to me! Rob, Marcus and Mel took me out on the Party Bus (surprise) for my birthday. Anja met up with us at Sidebar too!A few random English guys (pictured center on opposite page) gave me heart sunglasses, an instant crowd pleaser :)
26: Behind Schedule March 28, 2010 School has picked up, which is actually kinda nice. Though I find my classes either painfully boring or painfully hard. Actually Epi isn't painful, but it is difficult and requires some superior brain functions. Biostats on the hand is another language. I understand none of it. So that's fun. Just as I was getting a handle on being a student and getting used to my schedule, I realized that Easter Break is NEXT week, and after that I have 4 assignments due in one week. 4 weeks in and its midterms already! I booked a trip to Tasmania (Tazzy) for Easter break, so I have to complete at least 2 of those assignments this week, or I'm screwed. I think I can knock out one paper tomorrow at the lab, and the other one I can work on Tuesday and Wednesday before classes. Friday I start my intensive dive course (all day Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) so I'm really crunched for time. Socially, I have carved a bit of a life for myself, which feels soo much better than it did two weeks ago. My current life schedule consists of working out (yes!) in the morning, going to campus to do school work from about 11-2 or 4 depending on the day, then going to meet up with friends around the city. I'm actually channeling Donna because I've been carrying around my Timbuktu bag everywhere I go, I feel like a cool biker, even though I don't have a bike.
27: Speaking on bike, I think I'm not going to get a bike now. I've gotten used to waiting for the buses. Still annoys the crap out of me, but I've been able to accept and adjust for the bus times. And, whenever I say to a Sydneysider that I'm going to get a bike, they look at me like Im crazy. Biking is not very big here. Mostly cuz its crazy dangerous, and there are a shit-ton of giant hills. Speaking of Sydneysiders, I've met a group of them that are very very very nice. I am excited to get to hang out with them in the future. The girls in the group asked me to go to a girls night out at the horse track with them, but I'll be in Tazzy that weekend. The one weekend I actually have plans and I get invited out...talk about irony. The kicker is that I booked that trip about 2 hours before I met them, lol. I'm still happy to be going to Tazzy, its going to be amazing. Friday starts my dive course. On Monday, I have to leave straight from my dive course to the airport where I jump on a plane to Hobart, Tasmania. The next morning the tour group will pick me up from the hostel and I'll start a 6 day tour of the whole island of Tasmania with about 15 strangers. It is going to be awesome. Then I fly back to Sydney the following Monday, and classes start up again on Tuesday. Whirlwind. Going to be GREAT.
29: Driving from New Norfolk to Lake St. Claire. Freshly harvested hop fields and constantly changing, consistently gorgeous scenery.
31: Tall Tree Walk Aptly named. The trees are second only to Redwoods. Also pictured, Melissa and Danielle. The three of us became quick friends as soon as we were on the bus!
32: Danielle and Melissa in front of Lake St. Claire. The lake is over 150meters deep, which is deeper than the Bass Strait that separates Tasmania from mainland Australia. Aboriginals in the area believed that all life sprang from the lake. Unfortunately white settlers completely wiped out all Aboriginal cultures in the area. Opposite: Button grass fields. Field grass is burned to prevent and control wildfires creating this yellow colored grass.
34: Tasmania is the land of contrasts. The first photo shows the densest forest in the world (according to Matt the tour guide). Next photo is a 180 degree turn to see a completely decimated mountain. Queenstown, the third photo is a practical ghost town ruined by copper mines after the gold dried up. Allegedly the cars in Queensland are worth more than the homes. And based on what I saw, I'd say thats probably true!
35: We stayed in Strahan that night, the train capital of Tassie, as well as the home to Huon Pine. Huon pine is a bug resistant super strong pine thats the oldest and longest living tree on earth. Pretty cool. They also have some sweet as mail boxes in Tassie!
36: "Its the edge of the world as we know it" The western-most point of Tasmania is a deserted beach. To the west is nothing between this point and Argentina, to the south, Antarctica. It really feels like the edge of the world.
37: Later we rode quads through the massive sand dunes where it was sunny and raining at the same time. Thankfully by the time it was my turn to ride the rain had stopped and the ride helped dry me off!
38: Enchanted Forest Walk was a leisurely walk looking for wombats, wallabies and platypus. We failed at the platypus, an Australian animal I sadly never got to see, even at the zoo. Found wombat poop, which is what Matt is pointing at, and saw a number of Paddymelons which is a type of wallaby.
39: So...I climbed a mountain. Kind of a big deal. I almost backed out, fearing I wouldn't be able to do it. Thankfully, Melissa encouraged me to go and we had such a great time! Maybe climbing a mountain isn't a big deal to everyone, but it definitely was to me and one of the best experiences of the year! | C R A D L E M O U N T A I N
40: Melissa fills her water bottle with mountain spring water | Caitlin and me atop Cradle Mountain
41: Pavel, Caitlin, Melissa and I made up the caboose of the group going at our own pace, taking pictures and have a blast. Pavel was the perfect gentleman helping us navigate steep, wet rock ledges.
42: Bay of Fires, rated 2nd best beach in the world by Lonely Planet. They don't expect it to be lonely for long. We had the beach to ourselves which was amazing! Gorgeous blue water, white sand orange rocks. Doesn't get any better.
44: On Day 4, Danielle from Denver, Caitlin from Franklin Park (1 mile from my apartment in Chicago), Melissa from London, Marna from Holland, Pavel from the Czech Repiblic and I woke up early to see the Bicheno sunrise over the east coast of Tasmania. It was a cloudy peaceful sunrise.
45: B i c h e n o | B l o w h o l e
46: Wine Glass Bay. One of the best beaches in the world, and I recently learned (Summer 2010) that National Geographic ranked it one of the top ten hikes in the world.
47: Melissa and I hiked down to the beach together. It was great to have some girl talk time and really get to know each other. We sat and watched the waves for ages until we had to hike back up the mountain and move on.
48: Moo Brew, a Tasmanian beer! Made with Tasmanian hops, brewed in Tassie and bottled in Tassie too! | Matt learned quickly that our group didn't mind having a drink or two, so we made an impromtu stop at a Tasmanian winery. I'm not a wine expert, but it tasted good to me :)
49: All the houses we stayed at in Tassie were really nice. There aren't always hostels for tour groups and its too cold to camp, so they own their own accommodation that felt like vacation homes. We were definitely spoiled. | Matt let us all try playing his didjeridoo. Its not flattering, nor was I any good at it. Also pictured, Danielle and Pavel in our trusty bus!
50: Remarkable Cave. The sunset over the cliff was amazing. The waves coming in were impressive, but the cave itself was just remarkable. What is so remarkable you ask? Well that hole is almost the exact shape of the island of Tasmania! Remarkable.
51: Port Arthur Penal Settlement The most scenic prison you ever did see. Prisoners were sent to Tasmania if they didn't work out on the main land Australia. They were hooded and arrived by water, making it very difficult to try to escape. The island below, the Isle of the Dead, was a boys' prison and also where they buried hundreds of dead prisoners.
52: The people who worked in the settlement had a cute little village within walking distance. The prisoners were big with church, they had a Catholic and a Protestant church separate from the free people. Most of the settlement buildings burnt down decades after the settlement was decommissioned. There is speculation that the fire was intentional because Tasmanians were ashamed of their convict past.
53: Australia was the first to use isolation techniques. The stone room below scared the piss out of me. Its sound proof and light proof. There are 4 doors to go through to get to the actual cell. Once inside the prisoners were deprived of all senses. Thats enough to make me crack....quick!
54: I never really thought about Tasmanian Devils before, but this was not what I expected. They are going extinct because of a mouth cancer that is spread by biting, which they do a lot of, so its | Budgie! | First time petting a kangaroo | Fun Fact: Tasmanian Devils have the strongest jaw of any land mammal. They can bite through 8in of bone! | cute Joey | unlikely to see them outside of a sanctuary now.
55: A group shot as our adventure was winding down. Lunch at Safety Cove was a perfect, quiet, serene little beach.
56: Tassie sent us back to Hobart with the most impressively colorful rainbow I had ever seen. A nice way to finish a life changing trip. Once back in Hobart, some of us had some time before we were flying out. So Marna, Dominik, me, Melissa, Pavel (not pictured Danielle and Caitlin) found a whiskey brewery and tried a few samples. I discovered Pepperberry here and brought two bottles of hard liquor home to the states with me!
57: My last day in Hobart I spent with Marna (pictured during a beer tasting) and Pavel. We walked ridiculously far to the Cascade Brewery to find out we had to sign up for the tour beforehand. So we tried some beer and took the bus back to the hostel. Hobart is a gorgeous little city, the size of Crystal Lake or Newton with colorful houses built into the mountainsides. It was rated last year as one of the best places on Earth to live.
58: I love Visitors! counter medicine that I'm partial to, new underwear that fit me (may seem silly but I'm not spending $10/pair on non-fancy underwear, and mine are all too big) plastic applicator tampons (they don't exist here and every non-Australian girl complains about this), and a whole buncha makeup that's ridiculously expensive here!! And she managed it get here in a Time Out Chicago bag, one of my favorite magazines. Oh wait, did I forget one? What's that grey thing everything is sitting on you ask? Well that would be the DADDY DAYCARE ROBE! That's right, my uniform in Boston. The ugliest, most comfortable, warmest robe that was given to my brother-in-law when he worked on the Daddy Day Care movie that I confiscated last winter. It felt really indulgent when I saw it in the bag and realized I didn't need it cuz its not that cold here. But I'm already wearing it and thankful to have it! I just have to figure out how to get it home...like everything else. | It's always nice to meet up with a friend, which is not to be over shadowed by the coming excitement. Its especially nice when said friends smuggle you goods from home!! Like care packages from your mom :) *Warning: This one's for the ladies. Fellas, you may want to skip ahead to the cool pictures in the next post.* Lachlan came back to Sydney this week. And as my own personal mailman, brought with him a bag full of things from my mom! Master packer that my mother is, she managed to send chocolate, peanut butter (yes those things are in Australia, but its not like you can ever have too much), peanut butter cups (cuz while they have both peanut butter and chocolate in Australia, they don't have anything that combines the two, its very sad.) Over the
59: Murphy's Law June 2, 2010 Is it Murphy's Law that says that everything that can go wrong will go wrong? I generally find it bad form to call out Murphy's Law. There is ALWAYS something worse that can go wrong. But tonight definitely felt like one of those nights. My class that usually gets out 20 minutes early was 5 minutes late, screwing my tight schedule. I tried to call Janet to tell her I was going to be 15 minutes late for dinner. Instead I learned that my phone ran out of credit, and I forgot the voucher at home. Thankfully I can text my roommate and ask her to find the voucher and text me back the number and pin. Thankfully, she's home and able to help. Then I realize that I have nothing to write with. So I use my eyeliner. I top up my credit, oh, but I forgot the number of the hotel at home. That's ok, I'll just call information!! Wait...I'm not in America. I doubt 411 would work here. I ask the lady sitting next to me, we eventually get on the same page and there IS an information. Its 12455 if you were wondering. Call information, they connect me to hotel. Hotel puts me through to Janet's room. Janet is supposed to be meeting me in the lobby right now, she's of course not in her room. I leave a message anyway, just in case. This was all while I thought I was only going to be 15 minutes late. After a bit I realize that the bus isn't really getting far, the entire city is grid-locked. I give up on the bus half way and jump in a cab. Cab is a bit better but not much. After 20 minutes in the cab, and $20 worth (the only cash I have on me) I ditch the cab and run the last 6 or so blocks. I've now made Janet wait 45 minutes for me. I go to reception, they give me the phone to call her room. She's not there. I'm sure she's gone to dinner by herself by now. I wander around for a few minutes aimlessly, contemplating getting a drink at the hotel bar. The valet comes and asks me if I'm Kassi. Yes! Yes I am! I just missed Janet, she's gone up to her room. Thankfully, she was just going to check for another message from me and came back down a few minutes later. What in the world did we do before cell phones?! Dinner was great, but I meant to bring a few things with me for Janet to deliver back to the states. And guess what...I forgot. Do you sense a theme to my day?
60: Vivid Sydney One of the coolest city festivals I've seen! They projected moving patterns onto the Opera House and other iconic buildings in Sydney, including St. Mary's Cathedral on the opposite page.
62: Byron Bay April 26, 2010 I was originally supposed to go with my Danish friend Anja for a beach getaway after we both had a crazy few weeks. Anja, stranded here because of the volcano had some last minute panic with her visa, and thought it best to stay behind in Sydney. Having already paid for the weekend, I decided to go ahead alone. I turned my last midterm in Thursday and headed to the bus stop. Byron Bay fits every stereotype of a hippie beach town you could think of. Despite that, it was really really nice. There were a number of cute interesting shops and I don't think I even saw half of them. The beach is beautiful, the sand is so clean it squeaks, surfers everywhere, but not pretentious. I felt perfectly comfortable sitting for hours reading on the beach. There were so many restaurants and all the food I had was incredible (I had an amazing lobster and tiger prawn risotto at the restaurant on the beach called Fish Heads!!) So while I loved Byron Bay itself, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a weekend getaway. I would not relive MY weekend getaway ever. I met some very interesting people, the majority of who I can't remember their names, and don't care to. As a solo traveler I was hoping to meet some people, and my first afternoon there I met a middle aged lady just moved to Byron Bay from another state. I thought this was nice, so I joined her for a drink, and then she joined me for a night out, and a beach walk the next day, and dinner, and more drinks out, and another beach walk, and lunch, and you get the point. She was very nice, but all I could think about was that I was going to turn into her, 40 and moving to a backpacker city alone looking for work at the local pub. So it didn't leave me with very many positive feelings. The only time I wasn't with her, I was partaking in my scheduled activities. I don't
63: know which one was worse. I went sea kayaking on Saturday. Sea kayaking sounds AWESOME. And that's about where the awesomeness stops. I was so looking forward to doing something active on the water in the beautiful sun, maybe see some dolphins, sea turtles, or even a whale. I was first paired with a capable looking Polish girl. But sea kayaking is HARD. To start you have to get your two person kayak over the very large breaking waves at the beach. Polish girl was a bit scared of the waves, but to be fair they were very frightening. Every time a big wave got to us, she would panic and freeze, and if you're not paddling and gaining momentum, you will not make it over the big waves. And we didn't. We flipped twice before she gave up and left. I got a new partner and we were able to get over the breaking waves on the first try. My high of accomplishment only lasted a few minutes as a new sensation took over...sea sickness. I'm not one to get motion sickness, so it took a little while to realize what was going on. But then I was miserable. I couldn't give a shit about the dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and just wanted to do was get back to the beach. | I thought the sea sickness would wear off as soon as I was on land, but that is not the case. I ended up going back to the hostel to lay in my bed. That's when I met Sean. Sean was a very chatty Australian come to Byron Bay for a surfing holiday. He was in his thirties and liked to give me his life story over and over again. We chatted for awhile, then I decided to go to the beach, he decided to come with, then after I was going to go to dinner, and he decided to come with again. It was
64: during dinner with the chatty Australian and the middle aged Australian woman, that I realized that he may be getting the wrong ideas about our 'friendship.' I was a bit rude that evening when I flat out ditched my two 'friends' and tagged along with some nice Swedish girls from the room. The night was good, I met a bunch of people, won a stupid English drinking game, and another boy tried to pick me up. The boy got the wrong impression of me however, and when we all went back to the hostel together he decided to walk right into my room and get in my bed. I sat on my bed and talked to him for a bit, but eventually convinced him to leave. In the mean time, chatty Australian Sean, had gotten out of bed and was milling about the room (at 3am). As soon as the boy left, Sean comes and sits on my bed. Which was strange and unwelcome. When he tries to make his move it does not fly with me. If that were the end of the story, it wouldn't be so wacky. But Sean is a bit disappointed and begs to know why, to which I reply "for a number of reasons, but first of all, you're married." He tries to convince me that its ok and 'what happens on holiday stays on holiday.' He literally said that. This went on for a bit until I finally had to tell him bluntly and angrily to get off my bed. Then HE TRIES AGAIN. I nearly slapped him across the face. I didn't, and he finally crawled up to the top bunk. I got up about 3 hours later, packed up my stuff and checked out of the room. I had to check out anyway, but I was very happy to leave the room and never see him again. I checked out to go snorkeling. Supposed to be a great experience, wasn't for me. They took us out in the most dangerous little raft boat to a giant rock in formation in the bay. I put the mask and flippers on, and they said 'ok have fun, bye.' I flip off the boat, swim over (through some big waves) to the rock, but you can't touch the rock cuz its environmentally protected. I put the mask on, stick my face in the water, and panic because I can't breath. I spent the first 15 to 20 minutes panicking and trying to be able to breath through the snorkel. I almost gave it up and went back to the boat. The only reason I didn't is because I was afraid I would get sea sick waiting for the divers to come back before we could go back to land. I did eventually calm down a bit, but I was still very
65: very nervous. It was also creepy when I first had to swim through jellyfish..I kept thinking they were going to sting me. Then I saw the leopard sharks down below. I know that they are placid and don't attack humans, but that doesn't mean I'm not trained to fear sharks. And sting rays for that matter. They did kill the crocodile hunter after all. But I also saw a few sea turtles, which I love, and all the fish you ooo and ahh over at aquariums. The other snorkeler, said he had never seen so many fish in his life. So I guess it was a good place for me to try snorkeling. But then I had to get back on the boat, and as we waited for the other divers to come back, and we sat in the middle of the ocean going up and down and up and down, I started getting sick all over again. Finally back on the beach waiting for the van to take us back to the dive center my sea sickness won. I heaved uncontrollably for so long I thought I wasn't going to be able to stop. when I finally did stop, I was shaky and weak and generally miserable again. I went back to the hostel to shower then thought I'd find a shady spot on the beach to sleep. But its Anzac day (similar to Memorial Day) and there's a parade, and dozens of people and even more kids. I slowly trudge back to the hostel and ask them if I can get a room just for the day to sleep in. | They are understanding but you can't actually check in for another 4 hours, so they open the tv room for me, and let me have a sleep there. Generally uncomfortable, and anyone can walk in at any time. But they don't and I sleep peacefully for 4 hours. But I still don't feel great. I was sick the rest of the day and I just kind of milled around until I could get on the bus, praying that I didn't run into anyone from the night before. And mercifully, I did not.
66: Sydney Aquarium had a cool shark tunnel and a dugong display. Dugongs are like manatees and are said to be the origins of mermaid tales. | Blue ringed octopus above is small but deadly. They don't sugar coat their signage!
67: W I L D L I F E | W O R L D
68: Survival of the Fittest June 13, 2010 and 11 in the control mice. Perform the appropriate statistical analysis to check the first of these conclusions. What is your conclusion from the analysis? Do you agree with the second statement in the author's conclusion? Try deciphering that for 6 hours a day, over and over. It drives a person to drink. Just in case you're curious, which I doubt you are, that answer to that question goes like this: There is little to no evidence to reject the null hypothesis that there is a difference in tumor rates in albino mice exposed to smoke from cigarette papers and those exposed to smoke from a smoke machine (x2= .11 with 1df; p=.73). Of the mice exposed to smoke from the cigarette papers 34% developed tumors, while 31% of the mice exposed to smoke from the smoke machine developed tumors. The difference is only 3% which does not fit in with the calculated 95% confidence interval of 18% to 25%. | I thought I might sthe type of questions that are leading me to drink alone: An experiment was designed to investigate whether the smoke of cigarette papers is a carcinogenic agent of lung tumors. In this experiment 74 mice were used, of which 38 served as experimental and 36 as control animals. The experimental mice were placed in the experimental cage and the controls in the control cage of the smoking machine. This machine was set to smoke108 cigarette papers per day, six days per week for one year. The environment of the control mice was exactly like that of the experimental animals except for the smoke from the cigarette papers. There were 13 tumors in the experimental
69: me and Ivana | End of Semester Madness! | I survived my first semester. After our biostats exam, the whole program went out for celebratory drinks | Ivana and Mika | Caitlin and me | Sarah M and Caitlin
70: Mental Health vs Physical Health May, 2010 With the trip on the horizon, and the semester coming to an end, I don't really have time to feel all sorry for myself. My two exams are going to kick my ass. I'm at a real risk of failing biostatistics, and epi is going to be a lot harder than I've been giving it credit for. I've started going through biostats trying to re-learn everything I haven't learned all semester. By the time I start the next semester, there won't be much time left in Sydney. As of now, I'm looking to come home in February. I want to be here for Australia Day, which is January 26th, but after that I'll should be fine to come home. Here is what I hope to be able to do: September break in Melbourne and Adelaide,December head up the east coast,New Years in Sydney,January head to New Zealand and Fiji, Back to Sydney for Australia Day and pick up my stuff ;) Home in February! Obviously thats all subject to change. | I also booked my trip for the semester break!! I leave June 21st for Perth, spend 5 days in Perth and the surrounding area. Then take a 5 day tour to Exmouth, spend 3 days in Exmouth, hopefully diving in the Ningaloo Reef! Then I take an overnight bus to Broome, which is the pearling capital of Oz. From Broome I fly to Darwin in the Top End. In Darwin I take a 9 day tour that does the surrounding sites of Darwin and then down the center of the country to Uluru. Then I fly home to Sydney on July 15th! | Uni friends, Sarah M, Lizzy, and Caitlin
71: Perth | End of Semester meant I was off to Perth. I was in Perth for 5 days before traveling up the west coast. Its a beautiful small big city. The skyline from King's Park was the amazing.
72: The botanical garden had the best name for trees I had ever seen! Danielle from Tassie was also in Perth, we met up for sight seeing and a German beer that made me feel like I was back in Chicago!
73: Perth June 24, 2010 Perth is on the southwest coast of Australia. It is having a population and resources BOOM. Australia loves its mining. Perth the city is very very beautiful. Its small, only 2.4 million people...but its rising quickly. They have the prettiest park I've ever sat in, Kings Park. It sits on a hill and looks over the city sky line...so nice. I'm not actually staying in Perth, rather a suburb called Cottesloe. Its right on the beach, which would be nice except that its winter! And despite what all you midwesterners say, its freaking cold. And if you were here you'd be cold too. I heard that there was frost on the car windows this morning! But in general Cottesloe is really pretty. 2 things I learned is that the beach is called "Heath Ledger's beach" in the guide book. It kind of reminds me of the money side of Evanston on the Lake. Combined with the niceness of Beverly Hills, Florida where my grandparents lived. I'm halfway between Perth and Fremantle (aka Freo). Freo reminded me a lot of the Woodstock Square. I was going to go to Rottsnest Island (aka Rotto) yesterday, but it was raining so I nixed it. Rotto is a small island named by Dutch explorer because he saw a lot of rats on the island. The rats are actully quokkas that are only found on the island. And there's no cars allowed on the island, so everyone rents bikes and tours around, its only like 24km all around. There are also a lot of shipwrecks in the area because of reefs and rocks. So its a great place to snorkel...except its cold! After I nixed Rotto on Wednesday, I decide to tour around Freo only to find out that the museums I wanted to go to were closed. Ugh. So I got home super early and read my book for a long while. Today I went back to try Rotto again, and getting there at 11am, had missed the last ferry. Grr. So I went to the museums that were closed yesterday. I liked Freo better today, even though it did hose me two days in a row. Tomorrow I leave at 6am to meet up with my tour in Perth city center. Woooohoooo!
74: Cottesloe and Freo | The original singer from AC/DC, Bon Scott, was from Freo. I feel cooler for knowing that bit of trivia, especially since I didn't know that AC/DC was Australian beforehand.
75: Freo is a major shipping port, also where orphaned children often ended up from England and Canada. It looked like a ghost town or movie set during the week. The Maritime Museum had a decommissioned submarine that I got to take a tour of. Very cramped.
76: MaccA's Tour of Western Australia I got to choose my guide for my 5 day tour from Perth to Exmouth. I chose Macca, and it was probably the best decision I made. Macca and I became friends, which will become evident in the following pages. Most of the cool things I did my last 8 months in Australia I did with Macca or per Macca's recommendation. *(Just don't tell him that)
77: The Pinnacles Nambung Desert Our first stop was the Pinnacles, or as I like to call them, giant penis shaped rocks! | The rocks were made millions of years ago from shell being broken down and then blown away like sand dunes. I don't really get it, and theres controversy surrounding how they were made anyway. They weren't discovered by the general public until the 1960's and that is just cool in my book.
78: Wish I had a picture to show how big the sand dune was. I wasn't sure I'd be able to climb up it the first time and was legitimately terrified at the top. Glad I did it, so much fun! | Western Australia had the best sunsets and some seriously cool moon rises. Hands down.
79: WA has a lot of wildlife to contend with making it a very dangerous drive. | Kangaroos, emus, and echidna were only the beginning. | This emu chased me onto the bus, wild cows often crossed the highway, a family of emus in Exmouth, something most people have never seen, wild goats, and giant termite mounds!
81: I made it! MaccA didn't let me drop. We hiked at Zed Bend Gorge to the rappel site. Having already rappelled in college, I thought I'd be the expert, it is still terrifying, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat!.
82: The top of Zed Bend Gorge and Nature's window with new found tour friends Lynn, Justin, Eva, and Bryan.
83: Jen, Bryan, Caz, Ceola, Justin and me chillin on the cliff checkin out some kangaroos. Below, our whole group from the start. | Ceola from Ireland, me, Lynn from Miami, and Eva from Holland.
84: Best jumping photos ever.
85: freezing cold Indian Ocean | Shell Beach
86: I modeled MaccA's strange hats. We jerry rigged the speaker system by putting his mic against his phone which had a speaker. The WeetBix challenge which was horrendous and I failed it miserably. Then Jen and I had a good time pretending to be Macca, making his face and contemplating stealing his bus. From being on "roo watch" the first time I became quite comfortable being in the passenger seat with Macca driving. As long as he wasn't driving a rented sports car in Jessica's name, we were good. | Goofing off on the bus.
87: It was a pretty intense night! L-R top-bottom: Hart, Justin, Jen, Eva, Becky, Justin Beiber, Bryan with all his beer, Chicago Jack and Coke in Australia, Ceola and Jen, and a hilarious pic of Macca talking to Bryan over Jen's head. | Monkey Mia Beach Party!
88: From the kitchen to the beach and back to the kitchen when the cold became too much to bare. | Bryan and I became friends that night when we exchanged jacket for goon. | Jen got a little too drunk... | All the Americans in the group plus Macca. Unusual to come across any Americans, let alone 5 on one tour!
89: There were paddle boats on the beach, of course we had to sit in them to take a thousand pictures! | Drinkin buddies, two Irish and three Americans!
90: Monkey Mia Pronounced My-ya not mia. We woke up early after our crazy night to see the dolphin feeding. The dolphins come right up to the shore and hang out awhile waiting for fish. The pelicans below were the size of a 5 year old. I had no idea pelicans were so huge.
91: The color change of the water is from sea grass, where dugongs live. Aus is really up on Heritage listed areas, Shark Bay was pretty spectacular. | We present to you: Shark Bay! | Macca actually doing his job ;)
92: The last day of MaccA's tour we went on a Manta Ray boat. It was a good time, but the water was freezing and the manta ray sighting was less than thrilling. That night, back in Coral Bay we watched the World Cup finals in the tiniest pub crammed with 100= backpackers. Then Macca, Bryan and I listened to some hippies play the guitar for a few hours and Macca introduced Bryan and me to the best.meat.pie.ever.
94: Here Comes the Sun (dodododo) July 1, 2010 I'm in Exmouth now. Exmouth is teeny tiny and only has the ocean to offer. I've done a bunch of snorkeling here. I might actually have a fear of fish. At least large fish. I saw one that could eat me yesterday and screamed into my snorkel and tried to find someone in the group in a panic. When I put my head back under though he was gone. So I either imagined it, or my scream made him swim away.Thankfully I didn't see any sharks, they are common in the area but usually harmless. They get a lot of Tiger sharks and white tip grey nurse reef sharks and Woebegones (which are really dumb gum sharks that lay on the ocean floor but have no teeth). I DID get to swim with a green sea turtle and a manta ray. I didn't know, but manta ray's wing/fin span is about 2-5 meters! They are huge. Our view of the manta ray wasn't the best, but I think I'll see more tomorrow. I've booked a whale shark tour. They pick me up at 7am, we go snorkel a bit, then they use their spotter planes to find the whale sharks and then we go swim with them. I wasn't going to do it because it is really freaking expensive, and we already swam with manta rays, but everyone that's done it has said it was the most amazing experience ever. And they got to see whale sharks, mantas, humpbacks, and one group even say a killer whale! The snorkeling I did today was the best by far. The part of the reef they take you to is like a mountain range. There were coral groupings that I couldn't swim over because they came so close to the surface. And I saw the most fish today. My tour was amazing! The people I met on tour, are, once again...amazing! There were a number of Americans which everyone we came across said was unheard of. Our guide(Macca) was nice...sometimes. Haha! No, he was great, but sarcastic as all hell. He wouldn't admit it, but he enjoyed my annoying presence in the front seat! Though he did call me a cow one night, prompting me I threw a bar of soap at his head. We lost half our group after only three days (they got on another bus and headed back to Perth) which was sad, we had already bonded and were getting along so well! Then on day 5, they lost me and a few others, so there were only like 6 people heading back to Perth. I bet that was a quiet ride.
95: Tomorrow, after snorkelling, I leave on a greyhound for Broome. Where I can hopefully meet up with my American friend to celebrate the 4th of July by watching Eclipse as Broome is the only city big enough to have a cinema so far! I'm only in Broome briefly before I fly up to Darwin and get on another tour. I only hope that this tour is anywhere near as cool as the one I just got off.
96: I don't have many pictures of Broome because it rained. The only time it wasn't raining I went on an old people's tour. Seriously. I didn't know it was an old people's tour until the bus picked me up and I was the only one under the age of 70 on the bus. I felt like I was 15 on a family trip with my grandparents. Homosassa anyone? The move theater is the oldest outdoor cinema (in the world?). The tombstones are from the Japanese cemetery. Broome is the pearling capital and pearling used to be quite dangerous before scuba equipment. Why Japanese you ask? Because they're little. Yup, its that simple. They're little and could get into the equipment easier than others. Japanese migrated over to Broome to work on Pearl farms, were treated like crap, and died quite often. Hence the Japanese cemetery.
97: When it wasn't pouring buckets Broome was really pretty. Its known for its contrasting colors, red dirt, green bush, blue water, white sand. Beacuse of the unseasonably wet weather it was more green than normal. At low tide you can see dinosaur footprints at this beach. They also found a rock formation that looks exactly like Australia. A lot like the Remarkable Cave in Tasmania! | BROOME