Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

And the Cane Toads Come Out At Night

No, my title doesn’t have any particular significance, but it is true. That’s why at night I take the long route walking back to the Beaches, because if I take the shortcut through the grass it’s like walking through a minefield of enormous cane toads. I don’t particularly want to feel their bodies squishing beneath my feet . . . especially since I walk barefoot a lot.

I’ve been really busy these past few weeks, and only realized today that I’m due for another blog post. Last friday I turned in my first assignment–or assessment as they call them here, which makes me feel as if I am┬ábeing critiqued, rather than my work. My teacher was sick, so we didn’t get our essays back this week, so I need to wait till next week to learn if I did a decent job with my first Australian assignment. Here’s hoping for a ‘D’!

The grades are different here. ‘D’ means distinction. ‘HD’ means high distinction, though I automatically think high definition. There’s no possibility of me getting either HD here.

‘C’ means credit. Then I think there’s a ‘P’ which means pass, I think . . . or poor. I should probably figure out the difference.

Last weekend I went white water rafting down in Tully, which was absolutely ravaged from the cyclone. Think about if you take a fern, and run your fingers down it, so that only the tip of the fern is left and the rest is stripped. That’s what the trees here look like. Forests of nothing but treetops. It was kind of sad, but at least–according to the bus driver–the banana crop is coming back well. Chances are I won’t be able to buy a decently priced banana during my time here, though.

The rafting was awesome. Granted, I had to wake up at 4:30 am to be ready to leave for the Student Lodge at 5:30, and when I left it was still dark out. Hence, the cane toads were out. So from the lodge we took a van to Cairns, then took another bus to Tully. The difficulty of the rapids was level 4, which is pretty intense, and our raft almost tipped over more than once. There were some parts of the river we were allowed to swim in, and some parts that, had we swam in them, we might’ve become croc food. We got to go down the river twice, and a good part about being in front for a chunk of the time was that we got to watch all the other rafts try to navigate the rapids. Then, if anyone fell out, we went on the rescue to try to get them back into a raft before they floated to the next rapids.

Oh, I almost forgot. The day before the rafting trip I went on a field trip to Mossman Gorge with my Linking Indigenousness class. We took a Dreamtime tour, where our guide more or less told us that every plant surrounding us in the rainforest had the ability to kill us if we touched it. Then again, the indigenous people knew cures for almost everything out there, so I was confident that if I accidentally brushed against one of the stinging plants, I wouldn’t die. I’ve included some pictures of the trip on here.

Ever since Monday, I’ve been on an obsessive hunt for a bicycle. I think I’ve browsed through every newspaper, looking for bikes in my price range. There’s this guy at Rusty’s Market who’s supposed to be getting some in next week, but that means I’d need to take the bus to Cairns, then he’d have to give me a ride back, since you can’t take bikes on the bus. Every time I walked by someone on a bike this week, I just wanted to push them off and take it. There was a kid’s bike stuck in the water at the underpass, and I seriously considered jumping in and getting it. That’s how desperate I am.

Luckily, this afternoon the woman at the secondhand shop across the street got in some bikes. The one I tried out had no air in the tires, something was wrong with the chain, the front brake didn’t work, the back brake only sort of worked, and the gears were broken.

And I considered buying it.

My good sense kicked in, and I told her I’d wait for the guy to come by and fix it up a bit, or I’d wait for her to get some better ones. I mean, I want a bike, but I want it to be good enough that I don’t crash into a tree on my first ride because the brakes don’t work.

On Tuesday two of my friends and I went into Cairns for zumba. Of course, I assumed it was indoors, because nothing is held outdoors in Vermont, but this was on a big green right in the middle of the city. It was free, and people would stop and watch the whole time. The cool thing was that it was at 5:30, so all the bats were out. Theses aren’t little Vermont bats. These are bats the size of pelicans, and they fly around as though they’re birds. There are huge swarms of them, just flying over the buildings in daylight.

Now I’m waiting for my group partners for my Indigenous class to show up at the library, because we have a project due next week, and we haven’t started . . .

Better late than never.


Find more photos like this on Institute for Study Abroad – Butler University

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1. White Water Rafting (Don’t be a pansy and go for the level three rapids. Level four, baby!)

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2 Responses to “And the Cane Toads Come Out At Night”

  1. Jen Jen Says:

    Do you guys get “T” for “Troll”? Such a swell grade..

  2. Allie Allie Says:

    Only if we really, really suck.

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