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Sunnies, Sunburns, and Aboriginal Smoking Ceremonies

Okay, so I’ve been without the internet since I was in LAX and paying seven dollars for access when, in reality, they boot you off the moment you close your computer. Therefore I’m going to have to crunch four days worth of events into this post during the next forty-five minutes, since that’s about all I have left in my internet time at this airport.

Gaah. This is stressful.

So the flight from Los Angeles to Australia went by relatively fast, since I took two sleeping pills and two Tylenol PM’s to try and help me through it. What wasn’t helpful was that I was in the aisle seat, and I think I developed a permanent crick in my neck from sleeping awkwardly. We got to Sydney, drove to the Sport Complex where our orientation would take place, and then settled our things into our rooms.

For starters, the wildlife if gorgeous with a capital G. And that rhymes with P. And that stands for pool!

Sorry, I’m a little slap-happy from trying to adjust to the time-zone difference. Still, I can’t believe I just quoted The Music Man. . . .

So the first day we mostly relaxed, tried to stay conscious, and took a short bushwalk through the woods behind the Complex. It was quite a shock to be in 75 degree weather, and to see not only grass, but the strangest array of birds imaginable. I’m going to try and upload a picture from the bushwalk on here, but I haven’t tried to upload any pictures yet, so it may take a while.

The next day we went to the Taronga Zoo, and I felt slightly less exhausted, which was good since the zoo was awesome. I mean, how many people get to see platypi? And koalas? And heres a suprising fact: tasmanian devils are adorable. So cute that I would like to keep one, if it weren’t for the fact that their jaws could rip off my arms. That makes me love them a little bit less.

At the zoo we got a nice chunk of time to walk around and check out all the animals we didn’t get to see on our guided tour, we caught the end of a bird show, and then went down to the dock to take a ferry to the Sydney Opera House. The best part of that walk to the ferry was that there was a peacock walking on the road, completely in the open! I’m not sure if that was because it escaped from the zoo, or if it’s normal for peacocks to strut down streets like they own the place. Regardless, it was a sight, and I can only hope that if the peacock did escape, that someone came and brought it back to the zoo before it got hit by a truck.

In Sydney, my friend Natalie and I mostly wandered around, checked out the Royal Botanical Gardens, attempted not to get lost (we failed), and ate at a Belgian chocolate shop right by the opera house where we could make sure we didn’t miss the ferry. That night, back at the Complex, a band called The Bush Band came and played for us, and I can honestly say that I never thought so many college students would dance together, doing jigs that are kind of like a waltz and square dancing. Either way, it was fun, and I got some nice blisters on my feet from my flip flops.

Yesterday was surfing at Collaroy Beach. I’ve decided to provide little tips in my blogs, and my first tip is that, if you are surfing, grab the biggest surfboard you can. It makes it much easier to stand up without wiping out and getting a mouthful of saltwater. Also, if you’re looking for a good workout, this is it. Not an inch of my body isn’t aching.

On the bright side, I stood up! Twice! Okay, so the second time the guy was holding onto the back of my board and riding with me, but it still counts.

Our evening activity (after another bush walk that I didn’t attend because my legs were screaming for relief) was where an Indigenous group came and danced and sang for us. The yidaki (I think that’s how you spell it), also known as a didgeridoo, is one of the coolest instruments I’ve ever seen. The man playing it would tell a story, and then show us how the story was told through different sounds through the instrument. There was a story about the origin of the kangaroo’s pouch, a hitchhiker, and a few others. All of this was, of course, after the smoking ceremony, which cleansed us and prepared us for our journeys.

Believe it or not, I actually feel cleansed, but that could be because I finally got to take a decent shower after surfing.

Phew. I’ve covered a lot in this entry, but still, there’s so much that I wasn’t able to include. Like my first time trying vegemite this morning, which I will never do again. Honestly, it’s disgusting. But I suggest you try it simply for the experience. And certainly don’t spread it all over your piece of bread–just a little corner to taste. Then slather butter on the rest, and pray that you never have to try it again.

Now we’re at the airport in Sydney, waiting for our flight to Cairns. All the students going to Townsville and the schools in Sydney are gone now, leaving just the seven of us. But I’m excited to get to Cairns, and to see my apartment, figure out where to shop, and, hopefully, to get the flash-stick that will allow me to get internet no matter where I am. Goodness knows I need it.

Ps- I’ve written a few posts on Microsoft Word since I’ve been without internet, so the dates these next few posts are posted are probably several days after the events.

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