Monday, February 26, 2007

As promised...some pictures

Here is the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Here is a shot of our arrival to Bondi Beach, Sydney's most famous beach.

This picture I took when I was wandering down George St. George St runs the length of the city and has lots of shopping and government buildings.

This is a picture of the Sydney Opera House from across one of the port entrances in the Harbour. Right in front of a restaurant called Wolfie's Cafe. I have pictures of the that which will be up also.

And this last picture is a picture from Bondi Beach as well.

So our first real weekend here in Sydney was excellent. It started out with the Harbour Cruise on Friday night. It was a beautiful warm night on the Harbour. We sailed under the Sydney Harbour bridge and right past the Opera House. Then Saturday morning we got up early for our Wine and Dolphin weekend. The ride up north to Hunter Valley was about 2 hours long. Our bus was mostly Americans which was kind of weird. I met some girls from California that know KappaSigs at San Diego State. There was this girl from Tennessee who was really cool and goes to Uni also. Then there was a whole group of girls from New Orleans (Tulane). We went to three wineries and even though I'm not a huge fan of wine I enjoyed myself. I found out I enjoy white wines over reds, but we learned a little about all of them. Then Saturday night we went up to Newcastle and stayed in a nice hostel on the ocean. We got some drinks and stayed in after having all of things Subway. Sunday morning we got up early and had breakfast then drove another hour or so to Port Stephens where we went on a 2 hour boat ride. The ride was beautiful. The day was pretty overcast, but it was nice not to have the sun beating down on us. The scenery was amazing. The mountains and islands looked like something out of a movie. Then we went on to one of the bays and watched the dolphins swimming around. After a little while they came right up close to the boat and we got some good pictures and videos of those as well. Then we drove the three hours back to Sydney. All in all the weekend was very successful. Hopefully they will continue to be this much fun.

Last night we got into a very heated discussion about stereotypes and experience and how that effects how we judge people we meet. It was interesting to see where different people come from and how they approach different issues. I'm sure its not the last time discussions like that will happen.

Not much going on this week. This weekend we are going to Surf Camp and then classes start at the beginning of next week. So far my schedule looks like I will have no classes on Mondays and Fridays which will give me some more time to travel around Sydney on weekends.

Hope you enjoy the pictures and there will definitely be more to come.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

First Big Weekend

Well the first week has been great. The weather has been great. Sunny and mid 70's to 80's. We have been to two beaches Bondi and Coogee. Bondi was slightly bigger and more touristy. Coogee was really nice, a better swimming beach than Bondi. No one else here is really into swimming, but thats fine I just run in and cool off. I have a mobile(cellphone) now. If anyone would like to call me internationally, you can call the mobile at 6120406694591. That should work, if not email's the cheaper way.

So we had our international orientation this week which was pretty uneventful. We have our classes, I'm just waiting to check my timetable (schedule). Next week is the normal orientation which is optional. This weekend though is going to be crazy.

Tonight we are going on a four hour harbour cruise. It's students from all of the local universities. So that cruise goes until Midnight and then we are going to a club afterwards. Then tomorrow morning we are going on an overnight trip to Hunter Valley (which is their wine country) for some vineyard tours and then a dolphin watch. Four of the five of us from Northeastern are going on the trip. It should make for a great weekend.

Food is okay down here. I've been eating a lot of Thai and Japanese food. Sushi down here is really good, really fresh. I've had a burger and it was just okay. I'm managing to find stuff thats edible and we cook a decent amount.

Well its 5:30pm at night and I'm going to take a nap before tonight. I'll write about the weekend when I get back on Monday. Until then Cheers.

PS. I swear I'll upload pictures soon. This morning I walked down to the Harbour Bridge and the Opera house and got some nice pictures....soon I swear.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

"Come Pick Me Up, I've Landed"

Well its Sunday February 18, 2007 and I have made it to Sydney, Australia in one piece. The plane ride was not as bad as i expected, even though I only slept for about 4 hours total. I watched five movies on the flight from Los Angeles to Sydney. After leaving 18inches of snow in Albany, NY its nice to be able to wear shorts and a t-shirt again and my sandals. Last night we walked over to Cockle Bay harbor. It was beautiful and as soon as I get them on my computer I'll upload some pictures. Three of the four other girls were on the flight from LA. The fourth girl had her flight cancelled but was able to get on a flight Saturday (home time). Everyone is very nice and we are getting along great.

Today I woke up around 9:30 and went for a run through the park across the way and through the U Syd Campus. The campus is really nice and I took some pictures of that as well. Next up on our list today is a trip to the grocery store, some lunch, and then off to discover one of the many beaches around.

Currently listening to: Wolfmother - The Joker and the Thief

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Wow! It's just so close now

We are at crunch time. Less than 9 days until I get on a plane for roughly 22 hours and head to the other side of the world. The more I think about the more I think that I'm absolutely insane. Sure I went to a high school where I didn't really know anyone and then I went to college in a city that I had never lived in and didn't know anyone and I made out fine. But this is the other side of the world. It's kind of a big deal.
So as I do my usual procrastination of not packing and not finishing the thank you cards from my party a week and a half ago I've compiled a list of things that I'm going to miss most about the US. And here they are in no particular order:
1) Deli sandwiches and Dad's pizza
2) Knowing people (family, friends, etc)
3) Driving on the right side of the road
4) St Patrick's Day that somehow always ends up at Wellington
5) CBA Basketball Championships
6) Access to all my cd's and mp3s
7) My bed/couch/floor in Albany/NYC/Boston

Events I'm going to miss:
1) Birth of my bazillionth cousin
2) Peter's Confirmation
3) Justin's Graduation
4) My own birthday with family
5) The Dave concerts at SPAC

Things I won't be missing:
1)12 degree weather
2)-12 degree windchill

These list are subject to change so don't take them to heart.

Tonight I went to a concert at the Egg. Josh Ritter and Stephen Kellogg played a good show. I bought tickets yesterday and got 2nd row for $25. More concerts should be that cheap, and that good. Stephen Kellogg was more my style and upbeat. He was very witty and his songs were relatable. Josh Ritter was more stripped down folk music. At times it appeared that Ritter was in an altered, but enjoyable, state of mind. His inclusion of a verse of Springsteen's "State Trooper" was the highlight of my night, until he made a joke about the Egg possibly not existing if he waited 29 years to return to Albany...and I quote "because it may have travelled down the fallopian tube." The two came together to do a song near the end of the show that was really interesting. I love the nakedness of solo acoustic sets and you throw in a harmonica and you got me sold. Kind of stuff that hits you right in your gut. Good show to wrap my current stay in Albany.

Currently Listening to: Augustana "Wasteland"

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Why Australia?

Well I've gotten alot of questions about of all the places in the world, why did I choose Australia? First off I've always thought of Australia as some kind of mystical place where kangaroos box people and dingos eat babies. Who wouldn't want to go there? Plus they have the Great Coral Reef and they had the Crocodile Hunter. Then there's Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts and Hugh Jackman...and then there's Men at Work. So it had its pluses and minuses. But really, I figured if I have 4 months I might as well go to a place that I may never get back to. Places like Ireland or Italy I could go to for a two or three week stay. The flight isn't exactly two days long like it is with Australia. Another good and bad thing about Australia is that they speak English (or sorta english, right mate?). It would have been nice to go and immerse myself in a culture to learn a language. Overall I decided that Australia would be a great experience on the other side of the world...with summer weather.

Now there was also the decision of what program in Australia to choose. There are about three or four offered by Northeastern and my top two choices were Sydney and Bond (at the Gold Coast). Bond is the popular program that is right on the beach and about 30-35 students from Northeastern go every semester. Sydney on the other hand is a major world city with easy access to the beaches. This program is a little less popular with more like 5-10 students going every semester. I decided I wanted to apply to the Sydney program because I love city life and just wanted to experience more than just sitting on the beach. I can do that in Florida. (I know it's not the same ocean or beach, but you know what I mean) So I went with Sydney and now there are five Northeastern students going. Me and four girls. What's nice about this is that I don't have to worry about constantly feeling like I have to go out with Northeastern students and it forces me a little bit to go out and experience the city and meet other people. Although honestly we all know I don't need encouragement to go out and meet people.

Because I'm the only guy on the trip from Northeastern I also lucked out and have a single room. It's a cool suite with a bathroom, kitchenette and lofted bed. I post some pictures of the sample room.

So that's why I chose Australia. Hopefully it will be everything I expect and more. From people who have been I believe it will be. Two weeks til departure. Can't wait.

Currently Listening To: Ray LaMontagne - Till The Sun Goes Black