A Travellerspoint blog

I'm Going Going Back to Uni Uni

My major assignments are complete and now is the lull before finals. I've taken advantage of the freedom and had a pretty full weekend.
Friday, after examining skulls and dental structure in my last biology lab (praise jesus) I took the train into the city with Jordanna, Rachael, Taryn, and Lindsay. I had looked up meals for under $6 in Sydney earlier the morning which brought us to the suburb of Woolomoolloo...about a twenty minute walk from the Opera House. The place was called Harry's Cafe de Wheels - a pie stand right on the wharf. I had the traditional Tiger: a meat pie with potato and pea mash on top. Yeah, I definitely got my 6 bucks out of that. After eating on the Wharf, we bought some drinks and walked to the Royal Botanical Gardens. We relaxed in the sun for a few hours and watched six weddings without moving. I guess it's a wedding hot spot. After feeling very sleepy and almost to the point of barfing my Tiger and lemonade, we decided to take a ferry to Luna Park. Luna Park is an amusement park that's been on the waterfront since 1935. The front is a huge crazy face and to walk in, you walk through the mouth opening. We met Jess, Anita and Andrew, her boyfriend, there and although I felt like ralphing, I went on a ride. I mean, how often will I get to go to Luna Park?
Afterwards, we all took a ferry to Manly where we met Anthony for dinner. Some creepy guy who smelled boozerific offered me a free ticket to see Britney Spears in concert. There's always a catch though...he wanted me to take him out for a beer. Meh - nah. Nothing too exciting happened after that. Good pizza, Anita and Andrew came over to Anthony's for a bit, and then we went to North Ryde to pick up my laundry. I love leaving North Ryde...not quite as much as I loved leaving Corvallis though.
Anthony was busy with a monster assignment all weekend so i made a point to get out of his hair. Saturday morning I went to the city and sat in a book store for a while. I'm crazy in to cooking and baking books right now. Hey, why do people make cook books without pictures? - does anyone really use those things? I'm trying new recipes but am sort of restricted as to what to make the Bennetts. They don't really like peanut butter, really rich things, nuts, some other things...and I don't want to keep making cookies. The things I'm cooking have turned out to be pretty delicious. I made a tomato and bread soup, cinnabons, brownies with a crust and peanut butter frosting...etc. Australia doesn't have graham crackers by the way...bummer.
Anyway, then I met Anita and Andrew. On the way to look for some shoes for Andrew, we stumbled upon the Sydney Food and Wine Festival in Hyde Park. It was a huge event! First, we got free loaves of bread. We walked through the whole festival and decided it was a good idea to buy food tickets. I got some good lunch from the Bavarian Beir Cafe, delicious blood orange tart from an Italian Restaurant, and spent my last ticket on a pink cupcake from a Drag Queen working at the Breast Cancer booth. We went through the free Ben and Jerry's line thrice, layed on the lawn and listened to live music, and four hours later continued to look for shoes. We ended up in the gay district of Sydney, around Oxford Street, walked on to the Botanical Gardens once again, watched a few more weddings, and then I took the ferry back to Manly. I almost forgot it was Halloween until I saw sluts galore beginning their big nights out. Yeah, I was pretty sad I wasn't in Charbonnaeou this year getting my snapple and running past groups of little kids but its not a big deal here. I went back to Anthony's, made a failure cake, he made some mashed potatoes, and we went to bed.
Sunday morning I spent in Manly and after Anthony was done at the library, we went over to Jaimie's house to hang out with him and Holly. They are two of the people I went to Forster with when I first got to Australia. Afterwards, Judy and Steve took me and Anthony out to dinner:) It was pretty nice. We went to the same Thai place they took us when I first got here. It was funny to compare how nervous and out of place I felt back then to how at ease and enjoyable this time was. I made some cookies last night to redeem myself and now it's monday. Anthony's trying to recover from working til 4am...so all day we've layed around the house, played cards (taught him Grandma's rules for Rummy - he's a sore loser and immediately switched the game to Poker so he could kick my butt), and went for a swim at the beach. It's nearly 5pm now and I'm going to wake him up from his nap so he can take me home.
Judy promises me it's okay to stay for dinner but I never know when I'm honestly overstaying my welcome...you know? Eh, back to North Ryde, back to walking to and from Woolworth's for groceries, back to my room that doesn't smell like me yet, back to school, back to dirty housemates. But, back to the girls!
Hey, I went to a business etiquette seminar last week. Instead of saying Lazy Susan, they say Lazy Suzanne. Haha.

Posted by ChristinaC 20:56 Comments (2)

The Best Things in Life Are Free...Occasionally

rain

After getting away from uni in North Ryde, I had a pretty eventful weekend.
Friday, Jordanna Anita Taryn and I took the train to the city and walked around in the Royal Botanical Gardens. I don't know why I've put it off for so long. The gardens are so amazing. It's like a zoo for flowers and plants. The scenery was unreal as well. If I turned one way, I saw the now-familiar skyline of Sydney with the St. George Bank and AXA Australia. If I did a 180, I was facing the harbour and watching all of the yachts, sailboats, and ferries. To my immediate left I had a full and close-up view of the opera house and just beyond that the massive harbour bridge. In the spots in between these things were what seemed like endless landscaped gardens. Such contrast. The weather was gorgeous and just right so we layed down in the grass under a tree and watched a wedding. I love watching weddings you know? Not because I'm secretly picking out color schemes and planning my own wedding (cuz come on, we all know thats a freakin long time off) but because they are just so entertaining. It reminded me of when mom and I went to that fancy hotel in Hawaii and sat on a grass hill and watched a wedding. Well, anyway, after that I took the ferry to Manly and hung out with Anthony all night. His parents were out of town so we got take-away Thai food and watched a movie. Those are some of the best dates in my opinion.
The next morning I took the bus to the city to meet Jordanna and Anita at the Rocks (the area surrounding the Opera House). We spent a good four hours at the weekend markets set up at the rocks. So many artists, photographers, and samples of food! When I'm grown up, my house will have a good deal of art in it. I think the majority of it will be from photos I've taken or from the specific places I've been.
We walked around for a while, got subway, took silly pictures, got hot chocolate, and then I took the bus back to Seaforth and back to Anthony's. Once home, I sort of had a girl meltdown moment and vented about how restless I was and how I didn't want to watch TV or sit at home blah blah. At first he was shocked and a little confused like, "What is your deal" kind of thing. But once I walked into a separate room and started reading the paper instead of watching TV with him he knew I meant it. He said, "Hey, want to go to Manly?" (It was like 9:30pm) Not knowing what we were going for, I said sure. We drove past the beach and mainstream part of Manly and up a big hill. He took me to the Q-station at North Head...or the Quarantine Station. It's where all of the convicts coming from overseas used to go to get quarantined and I guess there are some creepy ghost stories associated with the place. Its got a nice view of the harbour and you can rent cottages and creep yourself out with the ghosty things all night if you want. I think we are going to get a bunch of people to rent one on Halloween!
Anyway, then we drove around Seaforth and he stopped in the middle of a street and got out...he taught me how to drive stick! With my left hand! Afterwards we did some lovely ballroom dancing on his balcony and ate some oreos before going to bed. After my girl fit, the night turned out to be super spontaneous, fun, and obviously blog worthy.
When I woke up this morning, I took the bus into the city to meet the girls. Except, the city hosted a huge thing called 'picnic on the bridge' from like 7-9am...tons of people who were lucky enough to win tickets from the drawing go to have a breakfast picnic on the harbour bridge. So, back to my point, the bridge was closed which caused mayhem in the city. All of the buses took the passengers to the North Sydney train station and then we all crammed in trains to the city. It was pouring outside which made for hot sweaty trains and disoriented asians.
When I finally met the girls, we walked to the Opera House because they had free tours all day!!! Usually the tours cost $30-100 but today was open day. There were three separate tours available and I made everyone stand in line for two of them. I saw the inside of the Opera Theatre and Concert Hall. In the concert hall I watched a guy play some insane organ. They have the largest mechanical organ in the world...10,041 pipes or something like that. On the next tour I saw the rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, green room, and place where they store all the costumes etc. It was so amazing! In between the concert hall and the opera theatre, we had to go outside and go in another door. Everyone was running across because it was pouring. So Anita said, "Hey go run across and I'll stay here and take a picture of you." So I put newspaper over my head and sprinted across. I didn't see that the fancy shmancy glass window panes were angled and I smashed my face into the building. The girls didn't come over to the building for like 4 minutes because they were laughing so hard. We went to lunch and then I caught the ferry back to Manly. I haven't been that annoyed since uh i dont know. But for comparison it was like a sock sale, okay? A sock sale, in the rain, with a predominant asian attendance, who all brought their toddlers, and there were no free doughnut holes or chocolate milk. But oh my gosh, I toured the Opera House and loooooved it. I'm going back for a show for sure before I leave so stay tuned for that.
Anthony's parents came back from Melbourne tonight. I used to get antsy about being at the Bennett's...you know, being the new girlfriend and all, and it doesn't help I'm heaps shy...but now I look forward to it. Sunday night dinner..and then we all watch Rescue Special Ops followed by CSI Miami where they all sit on the couches and try to predict the outcome of each episode. And Steve always makes sure I have a proper dessert. It feels like home and I definitely know that private yacht parties and crazy nice 21st parties aside, my experience in aus wouldn't be as great without his family.
Aside from this weekend, I'm just researching tickets for the Olympics, planning my trip with mom, hanging out with the girls, and holding my breath until uni is over. Liz is shipping me a can of pumpkin so I can make pumpkin pie for the Thanksgiving feast Judy's hosting in mine and Kim's honor next month. Yeah, no canned pumpkin in Woolworth's boooooo. I stir fried pumpkin to try to get in the halloween mood. It was good, but it didn't do the trick. I need some graveyard cake on Rob's birthday.
I hope everyone is healthy and happy and missing me.

Posted by ChristinaC 01:27 Comments (2)

Time Keeps Rollin

I haven't blogged for a while but for good reasons...nothing has been happening really. Or it could be that after snorkeling the reef, hiking through the rainforest, and holding koalas, that my day to day in Sydney seems average. Nevertheless, I've been in over my head with school. I don't see myself taking stellar grades back to Oregon. Not due to laziness but getting good marks is tougher here. Seriously. I wrote an eleven page paper on the relationship between genitalia and body size of male octopuses. And now I'm on to a paper on how to sustain biodiversity in Australia. After I turn it in, it should be smooth sailing until finals.
I've still been coming to Anthony's on the weekend. Having 'heaps' of fun and still doing awesome things. Yesterday we spent the day on Harry's boat in the harbor and at Harry's pool which is of course harborside. I had a girlfriend, Anita, come over to Anthony's last night and we had a slumber party. We baked cookies, talked about boys, and giggled a bunch. Been to the beach a bit, cooked some yummy things, and other than that I've just been doing uni work.
There was a red bellied snake in Anthony's driveway the other night...poisonous. James ran over it with the car till it popped...like a balloon, kind of disturbing.
I've heard from Adam. Jake Loveland just left to the MTC and will be going on to Brazil. How exciting, right?
Just heard that mommy is coming to see me!!!! I am so happy!! Shes coming after exams...December 1st and staying for ten or so days. I think we will head south...to Canberra, Melbourne, Ballarat, and possibly over to Tasmania for a few days. I just miss my mom. I miss being someones baby.
I'm excited to have some freedom after exams. There is still so much I want to do in Sydney. Even if I had a month of freedom, I dont think I could see all of Sydney that I want to. Oh well, guess I'll have to come back !
My computer is officially toast. I'm delaying fixing it til I come home because it will entail a good chunk of change. So thats why I havent uploaded any recent pictures...sorry. But if youre lucky, you will get a slideshow when I get home!

Posted by ChristinaC 00:17 Comments (1)

P Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney

rain 70 °F

...That might have been the fastest two weeks of my life.
The last blog left me sitting at an internet kiosk in Surfer's Paradise. Turns out, Surfer's Paradise and the surrounding area isn't too entertaining unless going out every night and spending billions of dollars getting hammed is your thing. The beaches were gorgeous...and there was a nice lookout I ran to every morning. But other than that we got our use of free movie rentals from Worldmark, took lots of naps, and played cards. Vacation without Anita seemed unbearable but I adjusted pretty quickly.
After four nights in Kirra Beach, we took the bus two hours north to Brisbane. We arrived on empty stomachs to the hostel only to learn that our booking had fell through. The huge music festival in Brisbane that weekend meant most hostels were booked out which left us at the last resort...The Banana Bender's hostel.
We walked around downtown Brisbane that night, found an outdoor pub, and watched the footy on TV. I went to bed that night in long pants and a hoodie. When I woke up in the middle of the night to find my hood had slipped off exposing my bare precious cheek to the wretched hostel sheets, I felt like dying. We were out of there by 8am.
I tried to delicately tell Brendan and Miller I needed some room to breathe and so we spent the day apart. Brisbane is so dead to me. It's a huge hustle bustle city, don't get me wrong. But there was nothing to do. I spent my day at the outdoor markets, the museums, and the fake beach (Bris is on a river). I also got hit on by a South African man with B.O.
That night we slept in the airport. Miller made a makeshift bed from his towel and clothes...embarrassing but it made for good pictures. Domestic airport security is a joke here. I never had to show my ID, I didn't have to take off my shoes at security, and they didn't care that I had a full water bottle.
Checking in to the Worldmark resort in Cairns (northern queensland, a 2.5 hour flight from Sydney) after Banana Bender's and the airport floor was amazing. Brendan said, "it's so amazing to be able to walk around barefoot and not worry about getting a disease. Also, to not have to wear shower shoes...it even smells good." Thanks again mommy!
The first day was spent grocery shopping, planning our week's schedule, hot tubbing with some friendly local aussies (the resort was also an apartment complex), and of course ended with a movie.
The next morning we hired (rented) a car. Whip of choice? A cotton-candy-blue 1980-something Ford Laser...close sibling to the escort. Okay, not of choice but I suppose we could have done worse, right? Miller was designated the driver for the week. Upon pulling out of the "Old Car Hire" parking lot, Miller immediately drove in the right hand lane. Scary. Later on down the road he used his right hand to try and shift the door handle. I'll give him credit: for a backwards car as well as a backwards road system, he did well.
We drove 45 minutes through steep, windy, narrow, mountain roads to a hidden town in the forest called Kuranda. Kuranda is like Cannon Beach but without the beach. Lots of little cute shops and homemade ice cream...you know the scene. We went on a long long nature walk through the rain forest. I spotted the first sign of real wildlife! An orange water snake in the river. We also saw bubbles in the river which we're still convinced was a sleeping crocodile.
The next day was the big one: our snorkel cruise! We left the harbor in Cairns in the morning and the boat took two hours to reach the portion of the Great Barrier Reef where we snorkeled. The coral, anemones, huge clams, and fish stretched as far as I could see. My pictures don't do anything that I saw any justice. Oh, by the way, my camera broke half an hour into it. I've since learned that six other people with the same camera had the same thing happen on the reef and we've all taken our cameras under water before...so we're convinced it's something special to do with the area. I can still take pictures, but the display is broken. Apparently, it won't connect to my computer either so stay tuned for pictures this weekend when I get to Anthony's...they work on his computer. We went to a second snorkeling spot. This is where I found Nemo. He doesn't leave his anemone. Ever. The guides on the boat fed the fish just as I was swimming back towards the boat so I got caught in the middle of a fish feeding frenzy...so cool.
The next day we drove to Hartley's Crocodile Adventures. It's a zoo but their main feature is crocs...80-90 of them. We went on a river safari where they lured the crocs to jump up and catch raw meat right in front of our boat. I also tried crocodile at the cafe...the texture was like chicken...tasted good, nothing amazing. At Hartley's I also got to hand feed and jump around with some kangaroos! There were a couple koalas but not for cuddling.
The day after Hartley's, we drove to some remote villages in the tablelands. Not a lot to see so we continued on to a 16km waterfall circuit. The water falls were amazing. Especially Barron Falls...I'll post a picture. Yeah, lots of driving, lots of silly Aussie songs on the radio, and saw a lot of Aboriginals.
The next day was meant to be our BIG driving day. We went to start the car in the morning and then the key broke off in the ignition. We were let down but couldn't help but laugh. After waiting five hours for a spare key to be sent, we set off north. We drove along the beach, over a fairy crossing, through the Daintree Rainforest and arrived two hours later at a beach called Cape Tribulation. So so so beautiful. Hawaii-like for sure. The water was literally bathwater temperature. I put my feet in and immediately needed to go pee. Our day light hours were limited but we fit in some homemade rainforest fresh fruit ice cream, rope swinging over a river, a few more beaches, and hunting for tree kangaroos and Cassowaries (big dangerous birds...a bit smaller than ostriches).
The next day was our last. After checking out of the resort, driving through a bushfire (I know right), we continued north to a town called Port Douglas. We saved Port Douglas for Sunday because thats when the markets were on. Found Katie's Christmas present! Bought some exotic and locally made chocolate and tea for the Bennett's...and then I finally had my fish an chips I'd been craving all break. I paid more for locally caught fish...good choice. Mmmm.
We made a pit stop at the Cairns zoo, where I ran in to get my picture of me cuddling a koala taken...I'll post that soon as well. IT was really furry and lackadaisical.
The drive back to Cairns was bittersweet. I loved loved loved it up there. The weather was sooo good and the landscape was like nothing I'd ever seen before. Lush green rainforesty mountains, meets super dry vegetation and bushfires, meets pure white sand beaches, meets super warm ocean with salt water crocodiles in it, ending with the great barrier reef (my first and certainly not last wonder of the world).
However, it's good to get back to the familiar. Knowing the streets, knowing the transit system, and back to Anthony's house. Not so much loving the back to school thing but meh.
Oddly, I miss waking up and hanging out with Miller and Brendan all day which consists of them trying to perfect their "Crickey!" and "g'day mate!", inappropriate boy jokes, street racing in the laser, and me making endless quesadillas (which fascinated the Belgian).
I've only been back a few days but am already obsessing about where I'm going to go in December. Traveling is the best in the universe and will always be integrated into my life.
I think this blog is about long enough. For those who read all of it, you make me feel special.

Posted by ChristinaC 03:31 Comments (3)

My Birthday etc

82 °F

This entry is long overdue.
Lets start with my birthday last wednesday. Well, Tuesday night I walked into Anita's house and a bunch of girls threw me a surprise party:) They all made a tim tam cake and sang to me. Pretty cute, I know.
Wednesday (the 16th), I went to Anita's and had birthday pancakes with her and Jo. Yum Yum.
I took my biology and environment exams...I don't really know how they went, meh.
After my last exam, I put on my birthday dress and Anthony picked me up around 6pm. He took me to Manly Beach for birthday dinner! I know I go to Manly alot but it's becaue it's a really cool place. He took me to a place called Garfish. "Nice" is an understatement. Good thing I was wearing a dress. It's an awesome restaurant. You choose what fish you want, how you want it cooked, and with what sauce. Now, I don't know that much about fish and Anthony said fish and chips wasn't fancy enough, so I got seafood linguine..mmm.
After dinner, we walked to copenhagens and got some ice cream to share. He's kind of a baby when it comes to eating ice cream. We walked across the street and sat on the wharf to eat it. (We did this a couple weeks back...same spot. It's kind of romantic and special and cute but I don't know if he realizes it:) )
Back at his house, he gave me a card and a present. Grown up jewelry! A pearl necklace! Not just a pearl necklace, it's really pretty. The pearls aren't round...they're obscure and theyre white, pink, purple, blue-ish...super pretty. My birthday was a happy day.
I met James, Anthony's older brother, last week for the first time. He seems pretty cool. Funny to see Anthony have an older brother pick on him and wrestle etc. I don't know why...just kind of like Rob and Rich. Him and Kim are pretty cute.
Friday was Conception Day at Macquarie University. Conception of the uni...nothing funny. It's a major event. It's an all day music festival and it's not just MAC students who attend. Three stages throughout the campus...and some of the bands are apparently well known in AUS.
There was a huge pre party at Anita's. Mostly Aussies and then us. When we finally walked down to campus it was around 2pm. There were already people passed out and barfing their guts out. I slapped a drunk brazilian guy who grabbed me and wouldn't stop trying to kiss me. It was such a fun day...good music too.
I spent a day at Anthony's and then he dropped me downtown at the greyhound station Saturday night where I met Miller Anita and Brendan. This sounds silly, but it was sad leaving Anthony. I had my suitcase and he was dropping me off and it just hit me that in three months or so, it will be the real thing.
The bus left at 10pm from Sydney and didnt arrive in Byron Bay til 1030 am the next morning. Sleeping on the bus was a ridiculous experience. My feet were cold and the boys teased me about sleeping with my mouth open. I'm sleepy open-mouth girl...sog...soggy...the soggster.
Byron was wayyyyy good. It's kind of a hippie place. Lots of organic shops. Really layed back atmosphere. We stayed in a youth hostel a couple blocks from the beach. The boys entered a pool contest and Bren won and got a free kayaking trip. The next morning we went kayaking in the ocean. We saw heaps of dolphins...maybe 20 feet away. Also saw a sea turtle and an orcha whale briefly. We stopped on a beach for some tea and tim tams and then our guide said "GUYS! Ive just received word there are Killer Whales just of the point! So rare! Let's go!" Yikes lady, serious? We went but they turned out to be orchas.
The rest of the time in Byron was just spent beaching, shopping, hiking up to the lighthouse (such a sweet view), and eating.
Monday evening we got a bus from Byron to Surfer's Paradise an hour north. We're actually staying in the Worldmark resort in Kirra Beach, just south of Surfer's. Kirra is where the Pro surfing billabong competition is held. Something like that. Miller says he knows the place from his surfing video game. Yesterday we just walked around Kirra, grocery shopped, rented a movie, played cards, ordered 5-dollar pizzas etc.
On my run this morning I saw a huge sea turtle on the beach. But, it was dead.
We came up to Surfer's Paradise today and ate breakfast at Pancakes in Paradise! Such a yummy place! The weather is so weird. Super windy. And today there is a redish haze as far as you can see. Actually, it's in Sydney too (13 or so hours south). It's a red dust storm that came in from the outback. I took some cool pictures. Anita just left for Brisbane on the bus. She's flying to New Zealand to see her boyfriend. So for a week and half longer its just me and the two boys. Should be alright.
I got my exam schedule for finals. I'm done on Nov 25. I don't leave Sydney til Dec 23 so mom, I was thinking, do you want to meet me somewhere at the end of november? Bali? New Zealand? Western or Northern Australia? The invite extends to anyyyyyone. I have some friends going to New Zealand and Tasmania. I don't want to ask Anthony's parents to put me up for an entire month so I want to travel somewhere.
Next week I'll be swimming with Nemo on the Great Barrier Reef!

Posted by ChristinaC 22:33 Comments (2)

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