Prison, Roos, and Kitchens

August 18th, 2008 - 8:28am by Rabbit

Prison Tour photo album

Well this is long overdue! So much has happened since the last entry, I finally have a few moments free to sit down and write. To start it off, we had a prison tour (check the pics) a few Wednesdays ago. It was a nighttime tour, so they gave us all torches (flashlights) and tried to scare us. The torches are cool, but the scaring was a little weak for my taste. We did get a lot of cool info about the prison though. They showed us the kitchen, cells, solitary confinement cells, and courtyard.

King's Park photo album

A week after the Prison tour. A few girls and I went to King's Park. It's a park located in Perth which is absolutely huge. It's bigger than central park. They have a bushland section, which is preserved to look the exact same as it did before the Europeans came. They also have a treetop-walk, fountains, and shortly-cut grass. See pictures to get the idea.

Caversham Wildlife Park photo album

A week after King's Park, the majority of the study abroad students went to Caversham Wildlife Park. This place was extremely cool! They have a majority of the animals found in Australia. Complete from kangaroos to dingos. With the kangaroos and koalas, they had an enclosed area where you can feed and pet them. The kangaroos are really cool. They have very soft fur and were very tame (but they were domesticated at a zoo). The koalas were just as cool. They sleep for 18-20 hours per day. The only thing they eat are eucalipsis leafs. They receive all their nutrients (and water) from the leaf, however they don't get much protein which is why they sleep so much. I saw a Tasmanian devil which disappointingly looks nothing like Warner Bros. Taz. They also had dingos and a wallaby. Dingos are pretty much just feral dogs, look a lot like yellow labs. Wallabys are another marsupial and are really fat with short stubby legs. They had a really friendly one sleeping in a zookeeper's lap.

Footy Game photo album

Yesterday, I went to a AFL (Australian Football League) game, also known as Footy (Australian Rules Football). Think of it kind of like rugby and soccer, not much to do with American football at all. The game was really fun to watch, especially because our cheap student discount tickets got us in the front row about five feet from the field. The Fremantle Dockers were playing the St. Kilda Saints. It was fairly close in the first half, but in the second the Saints scored 30 pts in about 7 minutes. Needless to say, the Dockers lost 62-119. They wouldn't let us take pictures during the game but a few of us snuck some in. I posted mine, I'll steal more from other people in time to come. Keep checking the online photo album for additions in the next few days.

That is it for events during the past few weeks. In between the events school is going on. I have class three hours of class Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and 5 hours on Wednesday. I have Saturday through Monday off which is nice. Class is very different than back home at SJU. Each class has a two hour lecture then one hour of tutorials. Everyone in the class attends the lecture, then the class is split up into tutorials. The tutorials are about 10-15 kids where the lectures are about 50. In the tutorials or tuts (toots) as the Aussies call them, you have more one-on-one with your professor and have more discussion. All the classes are graded the same. You have a midterm paper, a tutorial presentation, final paper, and final test. Aussies don't receive the same grades as you do at home. Passing is past 50%, Distinction is up to 70% and High Distinction is 75% an above. They grade on a bell curve and it's normally said that only 2-3 people from class get a high distinction. Since our school system doesn't operate the same grading wise, they convert it based on percentages. 50-59 is a C, 60-64 is BC, 65-69 is a B, 70-77 is a AB and 78+ is an A. Because of this, my grades will most likely take a hit because I hear it's extremely hard to get a 70% or higher.

Due to the price-level of the area, a few of us decided to get jobs. One is working at an Ice-cream place, another at Subway, and I'm working at the movie theatre. I applied was a projectionist, but that position was filled so now I'm doing concessions or "Candy Bar" as they call it. I'm the first ever study abroad student the company has ever hired. Normally they want people we will last at least six months. I think because of my past experience in cinemas at home, they hired me anyways. This cinema is much like others at home except I don't know any of the candy here. It'll take some getting used to figuring out what "malteasers" "choc tops" "woop hoot" and other things are. Because of the price-level, minimum wage here is $15. At this job however, I'm making $18/hr. After figuring in exchange rate, this'll be about $20/hr. Plus, me and a friend can see movies any day for only $.50 each. Not to bad for an entry level job!

On the dorm front, most all is doing well. I'm spending lots of my time playing pool, playing 500 (national card game of Australia), and watching the Olympics. Time is passing very fast, I can hardly believe I've been here for four weeks already! The weather is starting to warm up a bit as well. Yesterday was the hottest its been so far (71 degrees) but with the sun shining it felt like 85-90. I can't wait until I can start going to the beach to swim, do homework, and relax.

It seems like a plague is spreading around in the dorm as well. I'm pretty sure every person has gotten sick already. The majority of them are sick now, I got sick around the 2nd week so I'm over it now. It's hard to have 30 seconds of silence before someone coughs. One girl was just diagnosed with mono and a sinus infection. I'm sure a few other people caught it especially since (it's rumored that) she kissed 2-3 other boys in the dorm. Hopefully my immune system is strong enough at this point to combat most of the flus going around.

I'm starting to get slightly annoyed at the people I'm living with. They're all nice, however they don't seem to not care or think about another people much. The walls here are paper thin and I'm awakened nearly every night when people come home from the bar screaming at 1:00am. My room is also right above the kitchen, so I hear every dropped pan and all the late-night drunken food raids. I have yet to have it happen to me, but lots of people are getting their food stolen. In addition to that, people are getting lazy with their dishes. They either "forget" or don't care and don't clean them after they're done cooking. Saturday for instance, we had a stack that accumulated so large, that we ran out of 50 glasses, all our knives, all but three plates, and all but one pan. Me and another guy were sick of it so we cleaned up the entire stack which took about 45 mins. It seems lots of people appreciated it because we received lots of praise and thanks for cleaning it up. The next day in the morning, there were about 40 more pots, pans, glasses, etc. sitting out again. This time however, I'm not cleaning them up. To make it slightly worse, it's starting to get warmer which means the bugs are coming out. A few roaches already found our way to the kitchen so it be long until we'll be having insects for lunch.

This is starting to look turn into a novel, so I think I better quit now and save some for a sequel later. A few short things, I have a bunch more pictures posted online ( A few of you have emailed me a few recipes, I would love to get more though! I'm starting to feel a bit confident in my cooking. Lastly, they gave us the wrong zip code for our mailing address. Don't worry, the mail is still getting here, but it's delayed because it's awhile to notice that Fremantle is not in the zip code listing on the address. If anyone wants to send mail, the correct address is:

c/o Study Abroad Office
University of Notre Dame Australia
19 Mouat Street
PO Box 1225
Fremantle, Western Australia 6160

In closing, I'm still having a great time! I'll be leaving for Broom to live with Aboriginal people September 22-27 which'll be very fun! When it gets warmer, I'm going to spend a weekend at a surfing camp. And I'm stilling thinking of something to do for spring break! I'll try to post more frequently with shorter posts from now on, if any of you managed to make it this far without falling asleep, good on ya!

August 18, 2008 - 1:41pm
Slye Fox says:

Sound like you're having fun anyway. :) And you haven't been bitten by anything poisonous yet, so there's that.

The dishes thing sucks -- I hate having dirty dishes in piles laying about. It's so much easier to simply wash dishes as you use them so the food bits don't turn into plate epoxy overnight. Or even worse, mold and algae. Blech!

I'll see if I can find any Thai recipes for crispy roaches. Maybe you can kill two birds with one stone.