THE CITY OF TOWNSVILLE… exists outside of the Power Puff Girls
Greetings from my hammock. It’s the middle of winter here in Townsville, and I’m wearing shorts and a tank top. Since my arrival last week, I’ve been extremely busy relaxing. As soon as I moved into my single in University Hall, I went out and bought the essentials: a hammock, poster, tapestry, and boxed wine (locally referred to as “Goon” here). My hall is a mix of Australian and international students. and everyone is just so friendly. If classes didn’t start on Monday, I would think I were staying at a tropical resort.
I’ve been spending most of my free time exploring Townsville and meeting new people. My friend Oliver, who has already been studying at James Cook for a semester, acted as our personal tour guide for the week. He lead us on a hike right behind our dorm that culminated in a sweeping view of the city and ocean. We spent the next day at the beach, swimming, sun bathing, playing frisbee… you know, beach stuff. On the other side of the water, you can see all of Magnetic Island (aka. Maggie Island), home to wild Koalas and wild full moon parties. Along the beach is what’s known as the Strand, the main part of Townsville, lined with beachside restaurants and shops. A twenty minute walk from campus is a relaxing lagoon. We spent another day there, swimming around and walking along the riverside.
Like a good little tourist, I had to take a trip to the Billabong sanctuary. Wallabies were pet, snakes were held, and Purell was applied. Afterwords, about 20 of us stayed in for a movie night. We discovered there is no Netflix here. This may be the biggest adjustment.
The second biggest adjustment? Probably the night life. While there’s the campus bar that has live music on Fridays, most students venture out to the city for entertainment. Despite Townsville being a laid back beach town, people DRESS UP at night. I’ve learned a lot of things since coming here, like if you wear Birkenstocks at a pub, you will get stared at. It’s okay though, I went out and bought heels the other day. No one has to know they’re from Kmart.
In honor of classes starting tomorrow, a few friends and I decided to make the most of our last free weekend and hike up the famous Castle Hill. The trek up was filled with picture breaks (AKA “let me stop and catch my breath while I pretend to take a picture of this tree” breaks). But once we reached the peak, we got to watch the sun set over Townsville and it was quite the view. Following the hike, we went out to eat at a Thai restaurant in town. I was so hungry, I licked my plate clean. And then once I ordered and received my food, I ate every bite!
I’m still working out some kinks in my schedule, but I’m excited to start classes tomorrow!