Saturday, July 8, 2017

Lists

So it is kind of fun to see the weird things I have done or that have happened to me over the past couple months. These are the lists of things for the trip. 

Modes of Transportations:
  • Train
  • Bus
  • Plane
  • Tour bus
  • Ferry
  • Light Rail
  • Yacht
  • Snorkel Flippers
  • Roller Coaster
  • Sky Rail
  • Walking
  • Hitch hiking
  • Double Decker Bus
  • Puffing Billy Train
  • Sky Bus
  • Camel
  • Surfboard
  • Sandboard
  • Elevator
  • Escalator
  • Stairs




What people have called my Accent:
  • American (No duh there)
  • British
  • Canadian
  • Brazilian
  • Sweden  



List of Firsts:
  • Scuba Diving
  • Hitch hiking
  • Booking plane tickets by myself
  • in Australia
  •  in New Zealand
  • Being on a movie set (besides Universal)
  • Being a model
  • Making a statement about a crime
  • Toga party
  • Legal drink
  • Watching rugby
  • Saying in a hostel
  • Seeing the Great Barrier Reef
  • In the Southern Hemisphere
  • Petting Koalas
  • Petting Kangaroos
  • Seeing Asian elephants
  • Blogging
  • Seeing an Olympic park
  • First Gay Pride parade
  • Fed sharks
  • Seen Wild Penguins
  • Sleeping in a Swag
  • Seeing Ayres rock
  • Sleeping under the stars
  • Ate Camel
  • Ate Kangaroo
  • Saw whales
  • Surfing
  • Wine tasting
  • Trying Beer
  • Sandboarding
  • Being Completely Speechless






Beaches I have  visited:
  • Manly Beach
  • Freshwater Beach
  • Bondi  Beach
  • Coogee beach
  • Tamarama beach
  • Bronti Beach
  • Watson's bay
  • Camp Cove beach
  • Clovelly Bay
  • Gordons Bay
  • Shelly Beach
  • Cairns waterfront
  • Small Beach
  • Kiama Beach
  • Royal National Beach
  • Gibson's steps Beach
  • Apollo Bay
  • Front Beach
  • Phillip's Island Beach
  • Loch Ard Gorge
  • 7 mile beach
  • Geograph Bay
  • Hangover Bay
  • The Basin
  • There were a lot of unnamed beaches too




People from different countries that I have met:
  • Australia
  • Mexico
  • Germany
  • Scottish
  • Italian
  • Canadian
  • French
  • USA
  • Russian
  • Malaysian
  • Chinese
  • Japanese
  • Colombian
  • New Zealanders
  • Turkish
  • Korean
  • Spanish
  • English
  • Swedish
  • Indian
  • Vietnamese
  • Indian
  • Netherlands
  • Kazakhstan
  • Polish

 



Zoo's I have been to:
  • Taronga
  • Sydney WildLife
  • Sydney seal life aquarium
  • Featherdale Park
  • Manly Sealife aquarium
  • Phillip's island koala sanctuary
  • Bird Refuge at Mt. Connors
  • Caversham Wildlife park





Local Animals I have seen:
  • Water dragon
  • Ibis Birds
  • Parrots
  • Cockatoos
  • Penguins
  • Seals (Zoo)
  • Clown fish
  • Parrotfish
  • Coral
  • Featherstars
  • Quokka
  • Sharks (zoo)
  • Crocodiles (zoo)
  • Koalas
  • Lyre bird
  • Wallabies
  • Kangaroos
  • Rock wallabies (zoo)
  • Wild frogs
  • Kookaburras
  • Echidnas (zoo)
  • Pelicans
  • Mine-mine birds
  • Tiger spiders
  • Red Back Spiders
  • Various other poisonous spiders
  • Crabs
  • Flying Fox
  • Deadly Snakes
  • Tasmanian devils (zoo)
  • Emu
  • Butterflies
  • Blue banded bees
  • Drop bears (just kidding they aren't real they are just used to scare tourists… or are they)
  • Dingo
  • Dugong (zoo)
  • Jellyfish
  • Blue bottles
  • Magpies
  • Platapus (zoo)
  • Wombat (zoo)
  • Quoll (zoo)
  • Kiwi bird (I swear I saw one in Hobbiton)
  • Hawks
  • Eagles
  • Horses
  • Eels
  • Camel
  • Humpbackwhales
  • Dolphins
  • Osprey


 


Australian States I have visited:
  • Queensland
  • New South Whales
  • Victoria
  • Northern Territory
  • Western Australia



Ocean's I have seen
  • Pacific
  • Southern
  • Indian

 




National parks I have seen

  • Uluru- Kata Tjuta National Park
  • Royal National Park
  • Blue Mountain National Park
  • Watarrka National Park
  • Dandenong Ranges National Park
  • Port Campbell National Park
  • Great Otway National Park
  • Twelve Apostles National Park
  • Nambung National Park (Pinnacles)





Perth

So, my last adventure happened in Perth. I really didn’t know what to expect from the Westcoast of Australia, doing research I learned that it had temperatures and climate like LA, dry and warm even in the winter. Getting there, I received the opposite weather. I walked out of the plane and instantly get drenched as I chose the only rainy week to see Perth. I didn’t mind too much the first day, I didn’t get to explore the city very much but I enjoyed my time exploring the area I was in and got to spend some extra time in my hostel which was very cool. It was an old Barrack that was used as a precaution as the city was never under attack. I thought it looked like a castle and I had never stayed in a castle before so it made the experience kind of fun.
The next day I headed to St. Mary’s Cathedral (different than the one in Sydney). It was beautiful and modern which was a surprise, in a city as old as Perth you don’t expect a modern cathedral. I then went on a tour of the Swan Valley. I have loved getting to experience wine while I have been here. Not being Twenty-One I had not drunk a lot of alcohol. I know that makes me a goody two shoes but I just wasn’t interested in getting drunk. While in Australia that much didn’t change. I didn’t spend all my time partying and drinking but I did enjoy trying different alcohol, especially the wine. Western Australia is known for its vineyard especially in the regions surrounding Perth. I got to taste Reds and Whites and Ros├ęs. It was all very good. I even tried the best macarons in Australia and delicious chocolate. We finished off the day with some great beer at a German Pub. The people who were on the tour with me were very nice and we all had a great time.
The next day I went to the Margaret River which is world renowned for good wine. I got to see the world’s longest wooden Jetty, Mammoth Cave (which is known as the Pink cave), drink more wine and beer and see where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean on Australia’s most southwesterly tip. 
The cave was cool, it looked a lot like the caves back home except they didn’t call the cave bacon, bacon; they called it slabs, which was very disappointing. In the early summer, the cave fills with water and the water picks up pigments in the ground that makes the water pink, sadly it was the wrong time of year.
The next day my friend Lizzie flew in and we went on a tour of the Pinnacles. They first took us to Caversham Wildlife Park where we fed kangaroos and pet Koalas. It was fun. 
We then went on a drive to the Pinnacles. The Pinnacles are these weird rock formations that scientists are still studying. They believe them to be fossilized tree roots. The roots held the sand in placed and then over time the limestone replaced the sand with hard rock.
 They are still in debate about this though. They were very cool. I had never seen anything like them. 
We then went for lunch in Hangover Bay. This was honestly one of my favorite places in Australia. I have never seen water so blue or clear before. The Indian Ocean was just stunning and a lot warmer than other oceans I have been to. I loved it. The sand was soft and white and the ocean was a mix of greens and blues that were just breathtaking. 
We then headed for the sand dunes to try sandboarding. It was a lot like sledding and was pretty fun. I was a lot better at Sandboarding than surfing.
The next day Lizzie and I went to the Fremantle Prison. Australia was a convict colony back when it was first discovered so prisons had to be built all across Australia. Anywhere where a major city was most likely built on the backs of English convicts. The prison was a little spooky walking up to it but the tour guilds we had were really great. I loved hearing about the prison breaks and the riots that took place or just how the prisoners passed time. My favorite was a prisoner who would catch seagulls and draw faces on them. I was really enjoying all the history of the building even the sadder parts of history because it gave me a better view on Perth and Australia as a whole.
My last day in Perth was perfect. I got up early and went by myself to Rottnest Island the home of the Quokkas. We took a riverboat up to Fremantle as guilds told up some of the cool things about the Swan River, showing us famous properties and the water sports that took place on the river. I ever got to see a pod of dolphins. We then changed boats and headed to Rottnest Island. So I got off the boat and within minutes had located a quokka. 
They are these cute, rodent-like creatures that are cousins to the kangaroo. On the island, there are no predators so they are very friendly and come right up to tourists to say hi. 
I got to pet them and they are softer than I would have thought. Then I hopped on a tour of the island. I saw shipwrecks and beautiful beaches, again some of the prettiest beaches I have ever seen. 
I saw lighthouses and poisonous snakes and Osprey (ocean eagles) flying over the waves. Just beautiful absolutely stunning island. I walked around for a bit but soon it was time to head back to Perth and from there to the airport to head home. I loved my time in Western Australia. The weather held out mostly so I am grateful for that.



Saturday, July 1, 2017

Learning to Surf

So, this past week has been crazy with finals and I have been unable to really talk about last weekend. Last weekend I went to a surf camp and learned how to surf. I have never been surfing before so I thought it was a good idea to try to learn how to surf while here in Australia.
            I had originally planned the surfing earlier, but because surfing always seemed to get pushed back. Because of this, I ended up on a weekend with a completely different school, however, the good news is that the other school was completely American exchange students.
            The first night we were greeted by two of the most stereotypical surfers I have ever met. They laid out the rules literally consisting of being on time for dinner and no Justin Bieber. And then headed to bed. I met some nice people on the bus ride over and some of them invited me to share a cabin with them.
The New Friends I made 
            We went out on the beach that night to see the stars which were beautiful, some of the girls had never seen a shooting star so it was cool to see them get excited when they saw one.
            The next morning, we go up bright and early, had breakfast, and got into our wetsuits which were still wet. Getting into the wetsuit is the worst part of surfing in my opinion, however, it is winter here, so it is a lot cooler than it is in the summer.
            We got out onto the beach and they had us practice the motion of getting on the surfboard. We were taught by two guys from Britain, one looked exactly like Ed Sheeran and the other was obsessed with inappropriate jokes.
            After about an hour of practicing in the sand, we got in the water. The water in the 7-mile beach is warmer than the air in winter so getting into the water was a relief. I spent more of the first lesson body surfing but I was getting the technique but I still couldn’t stand up. After another couple of hours, they brought us In for a yummy lunch of pork burgers.
7-mile beach
Then we went right back out to surfing. The waves in the afternoon were harsher and I spent more time trying to breathe than surfing. One of the instructors noticed I was struggling to stand up still so he came over and I came close to standing up again but once again fell off, having a nasty fall and almost drowning. I was ready to be done by the end of the day.
            The friends I had made, Emma, Jane, Amanda, and I all decided to go to the pub/disco/liquor store/ casino before dinner to get some alcohol. We knew we were going to come back later with the whole group so we just got a couple bottle of wine and headed back to an amazing dinner of pasta and chicken.
Sunset walking back from the pub/liquor store
7-mile beach from above
 After dinner, the whole group of surfers and the instructors went back to the pub to party. There was live music, from this guy who could literally play any genre. We danced and had fun, I didn’t drink very much but it was fun to watch as literally, everyone else drank themselves silly. I knew I wouldn’t be struggling with a hangover in the morning.
The Pub

The group I was in 
  The next morning, we got back into the wet wetsuits, me being literally the only one without a hangover because I wanted to finally stand up. We got back into the water. The instructors started helping me right away, realizing that I didn’t have the right sized board and helping by stabilizing the board. After many failed attempts the instructor who looked like Ed Sheeran finally helped me to stand up.
I did it

I am a surfer now. It probably won’t be my newest hobby because I am covered in bruises and am content sticking to rock climbing, but I wanted to try. It was important to me that I stood up, and to conquer my fear of failing.
surfing hurts a lot


I ended up having a 7-hour train ride from hell trying to get back to Sydney but it was important to me that I did this, that I learned how to surf in Australia.  
I'm a surfer