Epic Excursions

By on 10-05-2012 in Australia 2012

Epic Excursions

G’ Day Mates!

So far, I’ve had the pleasure of going on two excursions. The group and I have been to Fraser Island and the Great Barrier Reef. I may have said it before, but it is surreal that we are in Australia. Our first trip without Momma or Poppa D was to Lady Elliot Island, the Great Barrier Reef. It went well and we all came back with smiles on our faces. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous before we left for the Great Barrier Reef because as I mentioned earlier, it was the first un-chaperoned trip of this year’s immersion program excursions. Today, I am proud to say that I am not worried about our upcoming adventure because I trust the people I am traveling with and they trust me. We really are becoming a small family and without this experience, that would not have happened.

Now, Megan, Marilee, Kelsey, Ericka, Joy, Caprice, Brittany, Cierra and I are back at it again. We are heading to Sydney today at 1:00am for some educational exploring. The group and I will ride on the Greyhound bus for five hours to our stop in Brisbane. Then, we will board our flight to Sydney. We will be there for a total of six days and will be staying in hostels.  One of the best parts of this trip is the fact that we have stayed a couple of places and now know the Do’s and Don’ts of packing. The biggest lesson I learned during our last stay was that not every hostel in Australia will provide a towel and wash cloth for free. You can bet your bottom dollar that my current packed bag has a towel and two wash cloths.  What is the most important lesson you have learned from traveling and where were you traveling when you learned it?

Term of the Day: Rip Snorter. This means Great, Fantastic.

We are finally Sydney Bound

Life Down Under

By on 10-05-2012 in Australia 2012

Life Down Under

My last blog post was rather philosophical, so I’ll keep this one more realistic.
What’s it like in Australia? I’ll try to enlighten you on some of the idiosyncrasies down under.
On the bus ride from the Brisbane Airport to our new digs in Hervey Bay, the first striking thing, of course, is we were driving on the left side of the road. Professor Davison warned us never to say that it’s the wrong side of the road to Australians. As we headed up A1, the main north/south artery on coastal Australia, I was struck by the stark difference to I-95, the main north/south artery in America. After we left the Brisbane area, it was mainly a two-lane road. I then realized none of the houses had shingle roofs. All have metal and sometimes tile roofs. But that’s nothing compared to a trip to the grocery store.
I’m going to rattle off a bunch of different terminology and cultural differences related to food shopping and eating. There’s a whole aisle in the store devoted to nappies(diapers), and the carts all have four swivel wheels. The eggs are not refrigerated. For brekkie (breakfast) they enjoy baked beans, and you can opt for avocado on your Egg McMuffin at Macca’s (McDonalds) which serves lamb burgers for lunch. You can order your fish or prawns (shrimp) crumbled (breaded) or battered. Ice cream cones are called Kebobs and popsicles are Lollies. At the roadside fruit stand the main items for sale are pineapples and mangos. One great thing about Australia is when you go to a restaurant and see a price on the menu, that’s what you pay; no tax, no tips.

 
For my car people; besides driving on the wrong side of the road, there are many differences on four wheels. Most of the cars look familiar but have much different names. The Toyota Altisse we rented says “Welcome Camry” on the display when it’s started. There are very few convertibles, but my favorite, the station wagon, is alive and well in Australia. The SUV’s have Roo-bars on the front to protect front-ends from damage if a kangaroo crosses their path and there is a snorkel up the side of the windshield for underwater driving. The El Camino, which many of us remember as being a car upfront with a pickup bed on the rear, is called a Ute down here and is alive and is found under many different nameplates. If you happen to hit a kangaroo or other object with your vehicle, you don’t take it to the Body Shop, you go to the Smash Repair Shop, where the Panel-beaters will fix it for you. Gas is only $1.40 something a liter, but a liter is .26 of a gallon.  Do the math.  Australian drivers do not have to yield for pedestrians, and the mailmen ride small motorcycles down the sidewalk to deliver the mail.


There is much more emphasis on personal responsibility here. I was in many physically difficult situations in the past week, and realized that if I had gotten hurt and tried to sue, I would be told that I should have been more careful. But, while I am on the other side of the world, I am on the same planet. The plant life is still green, water still reflects the colors around it, and clouds still speckle the sky. People are still people, too. They may talk funny down here, but the message is still the same. “No worries, mate.”

What do you think visitors find strange about where you are or what you call things?

Yes, We Have To Do Homework Down Under

By on 10-05-2012 in Australia 2012

Yes, We Have To Do Homework Down Under

Our time down here is not all fun and games, we have lots of work to do. I am taking 15 credits this semester which means I have to do 4 excursion reports, 3 book reports, 4 interview reports, 2 research papers and a journal. Here is an unofficial version of an excursion report on an unofficial excursion I recently took to Brisbane. The official version would have to be 4-6 pages.

IDS315/405 – Global Cultural Study
Excursion Report and Analysis
Marilee Houtz
18 October, 2012

I. EXCURSION: Brisbane
II. DATES: 13 October to 15 October, 2012
III. LEARNING OBJECTIVES: (this is would be 5 in a normal report)
a. To explore the history of Brisbane and its historic influence on Queensland and Australia
b. To investigate the transportation systems available to Brisbane natives and visitors.
IV. ITINERARY:
Saturday 13 October, 2012
a. Leave Hervey Bay via bus to arrive in Brisbane
b. Check into Banana Benders Hostel
c. Walk to Victoria Bridge and across to South Bank Parklands
d. Queen St Mall
e. Dinner at Happy Jacks (Burger King)
Sunday 14 October, 2012
a. Church service at St John’s Lutheran Church
b. Yoghurt (Australian spelling) at Starbucks
c. Walk from Waterfront Place to Botanical Gardens and the Goodwill Bridge
d. Maritime Museum
e. Markets and City Beach
f. “Portrait of Spain” display at Queensland Museum
Monday 15 October, 2012
a. Bus ride to Hervey Bay
V. PLACES, ACTIVITIES, AND EVENTS: This is where I would gush over all the wonderful exciting places I visited and explored. I’ll give you the synopsis; I had a blast, but by Monday morning my feet and legs were done and I headed back.
VI. PEOPLE: This is where would I talk about the people I met along my journey in Brisbane. But, since this wasn’t a real excursion (the school didn’t pay for it), I did what I love to do when travelling, which is to go entire days sucking in the atmosphere of new places without speaking to anyone. I know that’s not right, but that’s me.
VII. KEY LEARNINGS: This is where we would have to list five things we learned on our excursions and is the most important part of the report.
a. I visited the Maritime Museum with the intent to gather some information for my research paper on transportation in Australia, but I really didn’t gather anything useful. I did learn about the dry dock there, and explored a World War II frigate.
b. After wandering through the beach and the markets, I entered the architecturally and aestetically awesome Queensland Museum and enthralled myself in sixteenth and seventeenth century Spanish art. I stood for long periods of time staring at these masterpieces, examining each brushstroke that was painted centuries ago. Some of these pieces looked like photographs up close, the detail was that impressive.
VIII. RECOMMENDATION: I recommended this inexpensive trip to my fellow students, although I recommended they take others with them. Professor Davison descried me as a “seasoned” traveler, which basically means to me that I love to get lost. I stumble across more interesting things than any map could display. I stumbled across a festival, an open air market and a Max Brenner Chocolate Restaurant on this trip. I can’t wait to see what I stumble across on my real excursions!
What interesting things have you stumbled across in your journey of life?

 

 

A Day with Norman

By on 10-05-2012 in Australia 2012

A Day with Norman

This week we had the pleasure of going to Scrub Hill Farms and meeting an Aboriginal male named Norman. He is a member of the Butchella tribe and was kind enough to talk to Caprice, Brittany, Cierra and myself about the history of his people and some of the issues they faced while living in Hervey Bay.

In the past, land ownership did not matter to the Aboriginal people. However, it did matter to one particular party—the Europeans. The Europeans took the Aboriginal’s land because they believed in land ownership and wanted to claim the property for themselves. Farmers were not allowed to own land that Aboriginals lived on, so they made excuses to kill them. Aboriginals were treated as outcasts and were not allowed to vote until 1967. As the result of many unjust murders and the heinous crimes that occurred, most Aboriginal people are still distrustful of the Government.

Because Aboriginals were forced into hiding, the first question they ask one another is: “What country are you from?” They ask this because each group was forced to go off into different territories and given different names for where they were. The tribes broke into family groups and were certain not to travel by tribe. Fortunately, they never had to stay in one place because they were always surrounded by food, provided by the land.

The final estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population at 30 June 2006 was 517,000 people or 2.5% of the total Australian population. Of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, 90% were Aboriginal people, 6% were Torres Strait Islander people and the remaining 4% were both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Growing up in Hervey Bay was bad,” expressed Norman. “Things have changed a bit, but not a lot.”

Norman’s mother and grandfather were both boxers, so he is a natural born fighter. In fact, during his short career at Queensland University he was kicked out of the school for an altercation with a teacher. Unlike most outlaws, he did not act out without reason. He was raised believing that you are supposed to defend yourself when you are disrespected, so he did.

“Some people won’t come back here because they have nothing to come back to,” said Norman.

Norman and others fought to and from school because they were always targeted for being Aboriginals. “It was not because we were black, it was because we were Aboriginals,” stated Norman. Along with age came maturity and Norman no longer fights as much as he once did. However, he will never forget who he is or what he was taught.

Norman’s mother purchased Scrub Hill Farms for $250,000.00 in an effort to help Aboriginal people rebuild their lives. At the time of her purchase, the farm was unwanted because there was not much one could do with it. Scrub Hills is about “bringing Aboriginal people together.”  The goal of the farm is to teach Aboriginal people the skills they need to survive in society and to make sure they are skilled.

Though Norman’s life as an Aboriginal has not been easy, he still manages to be a very jovial person and is always happy to share his story with others.

“Don’t Worry. It is heartbreaking, but you have to move forward,” encourages Norman.

Fun Fact: There are three ways to spell the name of Norman’s tribe.

  1. Badjala
  2. Butchella
  3. Badtjala

                                                           “Until Next Time Mates!”