The one and only Sydney, Australia

By on 10-02-2012 in Australia 2012

The one and only Sydney, Australia

G’ Day Mates!

Did you miss me?

As you may or may not know, the gang and I took a trip to Sydney last week. I am happy to report that we all enjoyed our time there and it is apparent that we all took something positive from the excursion. Though every student stayed in hostels in Sydney for the duration of the excursion, we were advised by Poppa D (Professor Davison) to travel in smaller groups. So, we broke up into three different groups. Group A: Ericka, Joy, Kelsey and Caprice. Group B: myself, Brittany, Megan, Marilee and Cierra. Group C: Quinn, Brother, Barend and Carl.

I admit it; I am more of a couch potato than an active person. No worries, our adventures in Australia are changing that. The city was so beautiful and modern that even I wanted to see all of its attractions immediately. My group decided to go sightseeing once we were checked into our hostel. I strongly believe that there is something about that city that made all of us feel comfortable and energetic. Some might say that it is magical, I know I do.  There were so many people to meet and so many things to do that there was never a day that went by where we were stuck in our hostel.

If you have never been to Sydney, allow me to paint a picture for you. Imagine a better and cleaner version of New York City. Now, imagine friendlier and if you can, better dressed people. This is a city where transportation is always available and the nights are always gorgeous. Though we embraced Sydney and she embraced us with all of her beauty and openness, it was not all fun and games.

As I have stated before, it was an educational excursion. So, we stuck to our list of objectives and our personal itineraries we planned prior to our trip.  My group planned to see an opera, go on a tour of the Sydney Opera House, visit the Maritime Museum, visit the aquarium,  view the Sydney Tower Eye and climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Our goal was to collectively learn something new about those amazing places and hopefully gain a new perspective.  Stay tuned for in depth details about our Sydney excursion.

Did You Know- The Residents of Sydney hail from over 180 nations and speak 140 languages?

We passed this park on our way to catch the ferry daily.

 

Sydney Styles

By on 10-02-2012 in Australia 2012

Sydney Styles

Friday Happy Hour at the QuayBar on the Circular Quay

Regretfully, I’m just back from Sydney. If there was ever a place on Earth that suited all my needs it would be Sydney. If I had no strings, I would stay there forever. It has everything; cosmopolitan city-life, culture, and BEACHES! There are gorgeous beaches with  tropical turquoise water in Sydney. The minute I got off the ferry in Manly and walked down the Corso to the Pacific I felt at home.
I try not to dress like a grandma, whatever that means, and keep an eye on the fashion trends from magazines or what the younger people are wearing. While in downtown Sydney, I couldn’t help but admire the way the population dressed there. Sydney was described in the guidebooks as the Australian congregation of ‘beautiful people’. The residents here are known to be very fitness oriented, fashion conscious and regarded as snobby by the rest of Australia. Yes, I got that all from a guidebook. If you ask me, the rest of the country, as well as the rest of the world, could take some cues from them. By the way, the men are gorgeous here; it must be something in the water.

Here are a few fashion trends I noticed. Skinny jeans and ballet flats are almost like a uniform in Sydney for casual dress. And scarves. I’ve been reading about a trend toward sheer tops and color-blocking in the fashion magazines, and I found these trends evident in Sydney. Being a shoe fanatic, I loved the embellished sandals and over-the-top platforms, as well as the low boots.

The men there seem to have no problem dressing in the latest trends without feeling awkward. They also wear the skinny jeans, but with those leather shoes with the long square toes (I don’t know what they’re called), or with low sneakers. Most are seen with well fitted narrow jeans and tailored narrow dress shirts with the tails out. I also saw lots of men in Ralph Lauren Polo shirts with the big horse emblem on the front. Stylish leather man-purses were everywhere.
That being said, I felt frumpy my entire stay there. I wish I had known we were going to the opera, I could have shown the “beautiful people” a thing or two. I own way too many LBD’s (little black dresses). On the bright side, I was dressed comfortably for the miles and miles we walked over the course of our week there. I hope I didn’t stick out too much. I only saw a few of the ‘beautiful people’ pointing and laughing at me….
What is your favorite outfit that you feel the most comfortable in?

Where’s my LBD?

Epic Excursions

By on 10-02-2012 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 10-02-2012 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 10-02-2012 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?