I come from the land down under

July 27th, 2008 - 9:54am by Rabbit

"How ya going, mate?!" No, I didn't make a typo, that's how Aussies ask, "How are you?" It has been an exhausting first week! It feels like I've been here forever yet it's only been 10 days.

Let's start at the beginning. After over 40 hours of traveling I finally made it to my bed in Fremantle. I left St. Cloud Friday morning around 9:00. I didn't get to my room in Freo until 11:30 Sunday night. Everything was going on track until we get to L.A.. In LA, we find out two of the previous flights to Sydney were canceled (one because of a bomb threat and one because of engine failure). While this didn't effect us at all (since our flight was already full) it made a difference in Sydney (more details in a bit). While waiting around for our six hour layover in Sydney, we found out that World Youth Day was currently going on in Sydney and that the pope would be talking only a few hours after we arrive in there. This means there was a ton of traffic coming into Sydney, in addition to 2 extra planes leaving LA within 30 mins of us to the same destination (the ones canceled earlier). When we arrived in Sydney around 6:00AM and our next plane to Freo left at 8:00. The 3 huge planes from LA was more than enough to clog the lines at customs and for transferring terminals. Needless to say we missed our flight and got booked for the next one leaving at 6:00PM.

In the group of 30 of us who were all on the plane from LA to Sydney, 6 made the 8:00AM flight, 17 made a 10:00AM flight, while me and 6 others were stuck on the 6:00PM one. I could've easily made the 8:00AM one if I booked through the airport like some people, but I decided to stay and help some cumbersome few who couldn't find their bags and were scared to go through customs alone. This meant that the 7 of us had 8 hours to kill in Sydney. We tried to make the most of it and took a bus to Bondi Junction (suburb of Sydney next to the beach) and spent the day there. We went to a nice pizza place and saw the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight". We even saw a few countries traveling together as groups (flag included) going to see the pope (see pics).

My dorm is very nice, much better than I expected. The Uni (aussie for university) found money to buy personal heaters in each room for only our dorm. They're not the warmest, but it's a helluva lot better than nothing. I lucked out and got a single I was hoping for, the biggest one in the place actually. Not that I need the room, I'm only utilizing half of it, but its good bragging rights. Our place is really nice, there is a huge common room, complete with billiards, TV, and couches. The kitchen is huge and has a huge walk-in refrigerator to house the entire groups food. Unlike Spain, I'm living in the heart of the campus. One of my classes is actually directly below my room in the dorm, while others are no more than a 2min walk.

Like always, one major problem is money. While the exchange rate is 1:1, the price level in Australia is nearly 2:1. This means I need to pay twice as much for everything. Typical price of a pint of beer is $10 while fast food chook (Australian for chicken) is $12. This is bad news, seeing as I'm a horrible cook and can't cook anything unless it comes with directions. To remedy the problem, I went in cahoots with 4 other girls. Sunday through Thursday, we're each assigned a day. On that day, we buy the food and cook it for the five of us. The other 4 who aren't cooking are responsible for the dishes. In addition to this, they also agreed to give me cooking lessons! Tonight was my first night of this. I spent about $20 on tacos and fixings, and they taught me how to cook it. The other four girls will be making the meals for the rest of the week, so with this deal the five of us can eat for an entire week on only $20 (good food too because these girls can cook! Tomorrow is steak :-) For the next few weeks, please email me simple recipes for things to cook! With these girls help, and your recipes, there's no question I'll be the next Emerill.

This first week was pretty lax since we have no school to attend. With that said, the majority of it has been spent getting to know each other and getting acquainted with the bars around Freo. The bars are all really nice, and most of have local band playing nearly every night and sometimes during the day. Australia has a rule that no alcohol can be sold Sunday-Monday past 12. At least this means we will be going to bed much earlier every night. Unlike Spain, Australia is very similar to America. It is very industrialized with big department stores and fast food places (KFCs and Hungry Jacks (exact same as Burger King) are everywhere). Again though, everything is very expensive. To combat this, I applied as a projectionist at three nearby movie theatres. Since the price level is nearly double, the minimal wage is around $15 with the average business giving $20-25 for entry level jobs.

Tomorrow (Monday) school starts for the Uni. I'm lucky enough to not have classes on Monday, it'll be nice having a three day weekend each week. For those interested, I'm taking a theatre class, Australian History, Public Relations, Modern Church Theory, and a Senior Seminar hosted through CSBSJU.

For those of you who love me and feel like showing the love by mailing me anything, my mailing address is:

c/o Study Abroad Office
University of Notre Dame Australia
19 Mouat Street
P.O. Box 1225
Fremantle, Western Australia 6959
Tel: 011 61 8/9239-5555

I'm not sure why they gave a telephone number for a mailing address. I'd still put it on the address just in case though. If you do mail anything (and by any means, don't feel obligated to) you need to let me know in advance so I can look for it in the office. Otherwise the package will be waiting for me and I may not know about it until a week after it arrives.

I also have a online photo album where I'll be uploading photos for your viewing pleasure. The website for that is: http://picasaweb.com/mrkevbo

With that, I'm logging out for the night. This Wednesday we are touring an old abandoned prison in Freo, I'll be sure to send another update and pictures sometime after that.

July 27, 2008 - 9:55am
Rabbit says:

Thanks for uploading it Ryan! In case I'm too busy, Happy Birthday in advance. In your honor I'll go to a bar and give out your number to a local Aussie (not guaranteeing she'll call though!)

July 28, 2008 - 12:43am
Slye Fox says:

Fucking Kangaroos!

But thanks for handing out my number. :) I'll expect no less than 12 phone calls next week.