Wednesday, May 30, 2007
I also never realized how paranoid I am. I have become that person who blows everything way out of proportion and think that everything is so much more dramatic than it really is. I guess you get screwed over once and you never really forget, but then again I never really knew what happened back then either so I probably am blowing that out of proportion too.
Either way this trip to Australia has continued to surprise me. I didn't know there was this much stuff about me that I didn't see before now. I am truly grateful for this opportunity and even though I'm ready to go home, I do get very sad thinking about the end. The saving grace is that the friendships will continue, no doubt.
Robin (hey at least I'm not the butler)
" We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by." - Will Rogers
Friday, May 25, 2007
Some storefront incarnation of Maria, she's puttin' on me the stare
and Bronx's best apostle stands with his hand on his own hardware
Everything stops, you hear five, quick shots, the cops come up for air
And now the whiz-bang gang from uptown, they're shootin' up the street
And that cat from the Bronx starts lettin' loose
but he gets blown right off his feet
And some kid comes blastin' round the corner but a cop puts him right away
He lays on the street holding his leg screaming something in Spanish
Still breathing when I walked away
And somebody said "Hey man did you see that? His body hit the street with such a beautiful thud"
I wonder what the dude was sayin' or was he just lost in the flood?
Hey man, did you see that, those poor cats are sure messed up
I wonder what they were gettin' into, or were they just lost in the flood?
The entire the time I was watching the movie City of God it made me think of this verse from Springsteen's Lost in the Flood. Great movie great song...check them both out soon
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Speaking of holding nothing back, on the walk home from Establishment, (I made us walk because I really wanted KFC and the only open KFC was on the walk home. Turns out KFC is closed on Wednesday nights and its only open 24hrs on the weekends)we settled for McDonalds. Apparently Alex tripped and fell on her way up the stairs. Barbara and I didn't notice because we were running to place our orders. When I woke up the next morning we all felt so gross and couldn't remember why. Then we realized it may have been the Big Mac, Large Frie, and 20 piece chicken nugget that we ate in the middle of the night. I guess we all just needed food and a McDonalds was the closest thing to home cooking we were going to get at that time.
Yesterday was a blah day. It was nice and sunny, but cool again. We went and played poker and we were all tired out from the night before so we just came back and watched movies. We watched City of God, which is probably one of the best movies I've seen in a really long time. Really well made cool cuts and cinematography and the story line is insane. It's based on a true story which makes it even more interesting. We started Remember the Titans again but I passed out somewhere before the run to Gettysburg. Earlier in the day the girls talked us into watching The Holiday, which I thought was awful. Don't get me wrong, there are enough women in our family that I've seen my fair share of chick flicks, but this was just horrendous. The plot moved painfully slowly and there was only one or two points in the movie where I even felt slightly invested in the lives of the characters. At least when Spiderman 3 was bad it was unintentionally funny.
Today the plan was to go to the beach, but it's already 11am and no one else is awake yet. I'm going to go make the rounds and wake everyone up. Talk to you soon.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The other thing is hearing that everyone else is graduating back home. All of my friends from home and some close friends from Northeastern. Just weird to think about having a whole year when I get back. I'm ready to be in the real world somedays, then the next day I appreciate having another year to enjoy college. The weather is definitely cooling down here now though. Sun's always shining, but its been in the 60s and to hear that its warming up back home, just makes me miss the summer. I also heard a rumor from a little bird that the pool might be opening this weekend. As long as the waters warm when I get home I don't care when you open it.
I guess I'm just ready to be near people I know again. Don't get me wrong, some great people and friends here, but it gets to be a lot when you see the same people 24/7. At least home I can hang out with different people for short amounts of time and then go back to the group, or just stay home with the fam for a night. Here it's like you go out with the group or you don't. I like the alone time, but at the same time I spend a lot of time wondering what they are doing without me. It's quite the catch-22.
Overall I'm still really happy with the experience. If I could have come home for a week every couple months I probably would stay forever, but I won't, don't worry.
Love and miss you guys and counting the days (38days)
Monday, May 21, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
And after all this time to find we’re just like all the rest
Stranded in the park and forced to confess
To hiding on the backstreets, hiding on the backstreets
We swore forever friends on the backstreets until the end.”
The past week there have been a lot of discussions and talking and venting session here in Sydney. It’s been kind of overwhelming to deal with it all, but we all have a lot of things going on that it seemed just needed to get off our chests. One day I was sitting talking to one of the girls for about 5 hours and didn’t even realize it.
What I’ve taken from all of it and some personal reflection is that you can’t take life too seriously or you’ll drive yourself mad. There are times when you need to sit and reflect about the serious issues, but if you do that too much it will also make you crazy. It’s all about a balance. The most important thing is to be realistic about things.
I feel like there is more, but right now I can’t think. Enough reflecting for now.
In other news, classes are going well. Only three weeks of them left. I should be getting my first two papers back this week. I have one more due this week and a presentation due next week then nothing but finals June 12 and 22. Looking forward to my birthday in less than a month. I love my birthday. Even though this birthday isn’t of any significance, it is always fun to celebrate with friends (and family when I get back). Yeah, that’s all I have for now.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
This indescribable ball in my gut
It feels so good and yet it hurts so bad
I wish that I didn’t have it now
But I’m glad to know I can still have it
A day late and a dollar short is
The story of my life some days
I guess I’m just hungry for it
This isn't the first time
and it won't be the last
But this time I didn't see it coming
I guess you never do
that's the fun of it
hindsight = 20/20
Thought I'd try something different with this post. Woke up this morning with some things on my mind that I needed to post so I just kind of wrote it down without any form or anything. Don't know if you'll get more of this but we'll see. It's a beautiful day so I'm going to head out to the park for a while before heading over to our poker game. Hope everyone had a great week and in case you forgot only 31 days til my birthday :) and 42 til I'm back in the states.
"How much longer will it take to cure this
just to cure it cause I can't ignore it if it's love (love)
makes me wanna turn around and face me but I don't know nothing 'bout love"
Thursday, May 17, 2007
But what I did do was come here to Australia on study abroad. It just happened that the same time I’m here they are filming the 19th and second to last season here in Sydney. We’ve run into them a few times and seen them out and about, but I’ve come to realize something. I’m here in Australia living with at least 6 strangers, and it is very much real. If not more so than the ‘Real World’. Last night during a late night conversation with one of the girls here I said half the stuff probably wouldn’t make it on air because of how real it is. (Not graphic, just intense conversations)
I’ve talked before about how I feel at times that I’m back in high school and/or freshmen year of college. I was frustrated at the time with having to explain myself to other people or defend my actions to people who I barely knew. But now I see that high school and freshmen year of college were probably some of the most formative years of my life. The same is true for these past few months. By explaining myself to others I’ve really begun to understand who I am. These ‘strangers’ (honestly who’s stranger than me ) have helped me to see sides of me that I may not have seen before. When you are around people who have known you your whole life there are parts of you they don’t see. It takes removing yourself from the context to truly dive into who YOU really are.
Everyone one of us is a character in our own way. First, there is the quiet, removed one who doesn’t really open up to the entire group. She is very proud of who she is and stands up for what she believes in. She can be very sensitive about things and is very close to people back home. Sometimes her beliefs get mixed with emotion and can come off as arrogant and she ends up stepping on toes. Next one is the crazy carefree one. She is loud, outgoing, knows how to have a good time, and has few worries besides what her drink of choice for the evening is going to be. She lives in the moment but also has a plan about where she wants to be in 10 years and how to get there. Her best advice is do what you got to do and don’t regret the decisions you have to make. They make you who you are. Then there is the girl who needs to open up but can’t. She’s experienced things that many of us have never experienced and is very much invested in things that are going on back at home. She is physically here, but her head and heart are still home. She is a strong independent woman, and puts everyone else first, which I think is tearing her up inside. She struggles with being who she is without feeling like she has abandoned her family. Up next is your typical hot shot. The guy who thinks his shit don’t stink and that the world rolls out a red carpet at his feet. Every girl he meets ‘is checking me out hardcore’. He’s one of those guys who thinks that he is everyone’s best friend the minute he meets them, but probably isn’t. Then there is the kid who wants to be the cool guy. He follows him around and picks up on his mannerisms and sayings. If they aren’t together the poser is calling cool guy to figure out what he is doing. Worst of all he’s got beer muscles. After a few drinks this kid could take out the world heavy weight champion with one punch. Then there’s a girl who comes from east no where and isn’t really comfortable with herself. She tries too hard to fit in and somehow just doesn’t. She thinks that if she throws herself at guys they will like her and perhaps it fulfills some hole inside she has, but it usually turns more people off than anything. Her heart is in the right place, but she just needs to be herself. Last but not least, there is the guy who everyone gets along with and likes hanging out with. He’s a happy go lucky guy who has passions and goals and is comfortable in his own skin. He’s confident, but not cocky and knows how to have a good time any night of the week. Oh and he is the world pinball champion.
And then there’s me. In the past couple weeks something has happened that I’ve really become comfortable with myself, I’ve started to get ‘it’. I consider myself a very go with the flow person. I try not to sweat the petty things (or pet the sweaty things) and let things roll of my back. But sometimes you realize that you can’t take life too lightly. There are things that need to be taken seriously and if you leave your life completely to the roll of a dice or the deal of the cards, you’re never guaranteed to get what you want. You have to make decisions, even if there hard. You need to take risks, even if there is a possibility of failure. You need to be willing to make mistakes and possible hurt yourself, but know that you grow and become a stronger person by making those mistakes and correcting them, not repeating them. You have to be in control of your own destiny and your own happiness and not rely on others too much. It’s very important to have a strong support system for those times you do fall of the horse and need some help getting back up, but if you rely too heavily on them, you’re going to fall on your face when the first time you are alone.
Well then what is my character? I guess I’d be the guy who always makes jokes. Whether it’s to break the ice or cut the tension, I’m always making an inappropriate comment, doing a Julia Child impression or slipping into a Southern accent to make people laugh. I’d be the guy who people talk to when they have a problem, and the one to take care of people when they have had too much to drink. I guess I’d be the dad. In my sociology class, we were asked the question who are you? When someone asks you who are you, what do you say? My first answer was Shawn Wolfgang, but sociologically thinking we were talking about ethnicity, nationality, and other identity markers. I said I was American and American for the first two. In reality, ethnically, I guess you could say I’m a mutt. A little Irish, a little German, some French Canadian, some Polish, and a whole lot more I’m sure. But I don’t really associate closely with any of those. Of course I’m 100% Irish on St Patty’s Day or 100% German at Oktoberfest, but I don’t speak the languages, I don’t have any cultural customs that I recognize on a regular basis, and so I consider myself 100% American.
They say you don’t really appreciate things until you lose them. I didn’t really ‘lose’ America, but I miss a lot of the things that are associated with America. I find in defending myself to Australians really figuring out what it means to be American. America means good food; burgers, pizza, and bagels. America means great holidays; Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day. America means freedom. Even though I may not agree with the decisions of our president or some of the moral majority beliefs, I am free to disagree with them and they are free to have their opinions and beliefs. Here in Australia you get a fine if you do not go and vote on Election Day. Students I spoke with say they go and check off whatever or write in friends or Mickey Mouse just to avoid the fine. Although voting rates are nothing to brag about, in America, we have the right to go and decide the people who we trust to run our country. We also have the right, the freedom, to choose not to vote. America is home, and no matter how far away I travel around the world, I will always come home to America, because nothing beats it in the world. There are a lot of things that could be better, but every country (like everybody) has their own issues.
So besides being American I am:
An older brother
A music fan
Honest (sometimes brutally)
A team player
Confident (most of the time)
And I guess above all else, I am who I want to be.
There is only about 6 weeks left here in Australia and I’m going to live it up. I doubt I will ever get another experience like this again. I came into this looking to have a good time and have gotten so much more out of it. The group dynamic has made huge impact on my reflections while I’m here. I have made some great friends who no doubt will continue to be a part of my life for years to come. I’ve met some people who have helped me to re-evaluate my beliefs and my goals and although they may not be a part of my life in the future, they should know that they have helped to guide me on this path called life. I believe that life is a series of questions. You ask the questions to get ‘the answer’. Sometimes you get partial answers and sometimes you get more questions, but if we don’t ask the questions, then there is no possibility of the answer. So ask the tough questions and you will get the answers you are looking for. At least we can hope so.
"La La La La Life is wonderful" - Jason Mraz
Monday, May 14, 2007
My mother's day was CRAZY. But CRAZY in a good way. It was a beautiful day here so Alex, Barbara, Matt, and I all went to the park and tossed a frisbee for a little while before heading over to the poker game. The week has been a good one for everyone all around with at least one of the four of us in the top 5. Matt got 1st and 2nd Barbara first and Alex made final table at least once. I was due to do well and I did. I was getting all the cards I needed and made it to the final table as the small stack. First two hands I doubled up though and was in a good position. They do a door prize right before the final table and I won $50 from the door prize so already I was happy with my night. When I made it to top 3 I went all in on Q 10 and lost. But I still walked away from the night with $75. We grabbed some food on the walk home and decided to watch some movies. So we watched The Rules of Attraction and everyone seemed to enjoy it. It was about 2am and no one had early classes on Monday or was tired so we put in Reality Bites. Matt and I were the only two to make it through the majority of the movie. I thought it was really good. It's funny how different things are now from 10 years ago in the mid-nineties. Overall it was a good story.
Now I guess you would say, Shawn that isn't that CRAZY of a night, but that is just the beginning. Now its 4:30am and Barbara has taken a nice nap during the movie, I snoozed for a 20min power nap and Matt was wide awake as well. We were out of movies but we thought, Why not walk down to Sydney Harbour and watch the sunrise? So we all went back to our rooms grabbed some pants and hoodies and headed out. We decided to grab a bus there and get breakfast at Pancakes on the Rocks(24hr restaurant similar, but better than iHop). We had about an hour and a half before the sun came up and we were all hungry. We sat down and all picked out our breakfasts, then Barbara suggested we split nachos because they looked so good the last time. Nachos and Eggs didn't seem to go together too well, but we thought what the heck. When our waiter came over he was very friendly. You could tell he worked the overnight shift and that we may in fact be the only people he had talked to all night long. We asked him how the nachos were and he said they were good, but the best ones he had ever had were at some place called "taco bell" that they used to have in Sydney about 3 years ago. We didn't have the heart to tell him that you shouldn't say you're nachos are not quite as good as taco bell, and we actually ordered them anyways. Matt and I ordered and it was Barbara's turn. She ordered her meal and asked for toast, which our friendly waiter replied "We actually don't have toast" (which was fine, but this comment was followed up with a 5 min conversation about a Spanish gentleman who came in and asked for bread as well and yelled at him for not serving bread in a restaurant and then ended up ordering their herb pizza crust appetizer) So Barbara looked over the menu again and said okay "I'll get the Margherita pizza crusts". Stupidly the waiter asked if she was replacing her meal. Barbara said "NO, I want both." When everything came out we looked like pigs. The crusts barbara ordered was in fact a small pizza, we each had our meals, and we had a big plate of nachos. The worst part is that about 10 minutes later there was nothing left. The nachos weren't better than Taco Bell and the pizza was one step down from frozen pizza from the supermarket, but the breakfast food was all delicious. We paid the bill and rushed out to under the bridge to see the sun come up. When we go to the Bridge the harbour was so foggy that we couldn't see the bridge or across the way to the Sydney Opera House. One guy jogging by saw us taking pictures and say "This is really rare, doesn't happen often". That was our luck, the one day we decide to go see the sun come up, is the one day that a freakish fog covers the city.
After our meal for a small army we decided it was best to WALK back the half hour to campus. There were lots of morning joggers and powerwalkers out for their apparent morning routines. As one couple walked past I made a comment saying "Man I'm glad we had the energy to get up and power walk." I was not trying to make fun of the couple who seemed to be enjoying themselves, I was commenting on how lazy we were, but it was still met with a middle finger from the lady walking and a dirty look from her husband. O well.
We made it home around 8am and watched two episodes of Friends before passing out. It was just a very fulfulling night of absolute nothing that could have been a Seinfeld episode. Felt like something you would do in 8th grade to defy your parents. "did you hear what Shawn did last night? He stayed up ALL night and his parents don't even know."
Have a great week.
PS. A small note on how awesome technology is. Over the weekend I received a myspace message from my cousin Chris who is currently deployed in the Middle East. Crazy to think about life without internet/cell phones/email etc.
Friday, May 11, 2007
You refer to the interchange of the Thruway and the Northway as "The 24 Tolls".
You still call the Pepsi Arena "The Knick".
You can correctly pronounce the words Kosciuszko, Cohoes, Coeymans, and Kayaderosseras.
(For more challenging names, see my Albany pronunciation site.)
You know what The Egg is.
You know what and where Nipper is.
You expect to see nothing but grey between the months of November and May.
You remember when Crossgates was only half as big as it is now. Bonus points if you know what store was there before Best Buy. -Caldor
You've ever rooted for the River Rats.
You grew up on Channels 6, 10, and 13.
The word "dredge" immediately conjures up thoughts of GE.
Spring means potholes.
You never expect them to pass the budget on time.
You are only mildly irritated by double-parked cars.
You know the 3 closest Stewart's shops to your house.
You've ever eaten something from Freihoffer's or Breugers.
You know where the governor's house is.
You've never called I-87 anything other than "The Northway".
Okay, maybe you've called it "The Thruway", too. Depends which side of Albany you're from.
You know when there's going to be traffic on the Twin Bridges.
You know that there are two different Route 7s off the Northway. Bonus if you know there used to only be one.
Hippo's has it.
You know what's at "1960 Central Ave., 3 miles west of Northway exit 2W".
"People 'auto' shop here."
"Hurt in an auto accident? You know who to call..."
You know what SPAC stands for.
Siena moving up to Division 1 was a big deal.
You go to or know someone who goes to UAlbany.
You know what SUNY means.
You know what a Karner Blue is.
You know what a pine barren is and where you can find one.
You know who the Albany Attack were.
You know somewhere in the Hudson that's clean.
Poughkeepsie is "downstate".
Arbor Hill and Hamilton Hill are as bad as Camden to you.
You know which lake people are talking about when they say "the lake".
Track season is the biggest time of year.
You remember the Cinema 10 in Northway Mall.
You've ever gone up in the Corning Tower.
You know where Buildings 1, 2, 3, and 4 are.
The name Arbor Hill doesn't bring anything plant-related to mind.
You've ever taken the Crosstown.
You know where the Stockade is.
You know which city is the Collar City and which is the Electric City.
Sunday, 5:00 PM, Exit 24 Tolls: I thought everyone had E-ZPass by now...
You've spent the equivalent of the GDP of Nicaragua trying to win a stuffed animal at the Great Escape.
You think Saratoga is classy.
You know Colonie Center is the mall to be seen trying to not be seen.
You or someone you know has grandparents in Amsterdam.
Your parents have asked you to consider SUNY Plattsburgh.
Your goal was to be the Gazette's Student Athlete of the Week.
If you're from Schenectady then Troy might as well be Mars to you and vice versa.
Milk = Stewart's, Cookies = Freihofer's. End of story.
You can't give directions to Albany Med to save your life.
It doesn't bother you that the Northway has no Exit 3.
It also doesn't bother you that Central Ave. is State Street at the other end.
January Regents Week holds a special place in your heart.
You know that somehow Sand Creek Road is the shortcut to everywhere.
You know the school colors of every school in your division.
If there's a chance of a snow day then every radio in your house is tuned to WGY.
You've argued with your parents to take the car out in the middle of a blizzard.
You refer to the place where I-87 crosses the Mohawk River as "The Twins".
You remember Ranger Danger (say, isn't he on Pyx 106 now?)
You can name 5 schools in the Suburban Council.
You have an ingrained taste for concrete architecture.
You know "The Track" is The August Place To Be.
You know it's "Awl -buh-nee", not "Al -buh-nee" or, even worse, "All-ben-nee".
You can think of at least 4 different ways to get to Stuyvesant Plaza from the same starting point.
You know what "Harvard on the Hudson" is.
You remember when Hannaford was still Shop 'n' Save.
You consider walking to the Plaza on the 4th of July because you know it'll be about the same time to drive there and find a spot to park.
You know that Mason & Sheehan isn't a cheap Champagne.
You know what a guy Ken Goewey is.
You know that AirTite Windows knocked Resnick's sign down (but then put it back up).
You know who Nina (of Manchester) and her husband are, and how they sell diamonds for less than 33%.
Everybody likes Jack Byrne.
You thought Hoffman's Playland was the bomb as a child.
You know that "The Berkshire Spur" isn't a foot ailment.
You know that "My dad Terry Morris is still number one!"
You’ve eaten at Bomber’s one too many times.
You’re bummed that the Firebirds left.
You know that you do nothing but eat and drink at the Pump Station.
You remember when Westgate Plaza used to be THE place to shop.
You know the Times Union is your source.
If there's even a chance of snow Ichabod Crane will be closed.
You refer to Albany as "the 518".
You know what "I Love" is.
You know at least three people whose last names start with "Van".
You have your choice of cities on First Night.
You know who Neil Golub is.
You know what used to be where Cohoes is at Crossgates -The Wiz
When someone meantions river rats you think hockey.
Thursday during the summer means Alive at Five and seeing everyone you know from High School.
You feel special because the Giants train in your city.
You love Madison Pizza and somehow always found yourself crammed in there with 40 other people.
You've heard of, or better yet been to, Indian Ladder Orchards.
Your parents or your friends parents work for the state...
Just showing some love to the 518.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
So on rainy days like yesterday, there is a group of us that sits around and watches old episodes of 'Friends' and its kind of scary how the six of us actually fit into the characters. So I had a little more fun with my photoshopping skills and here is a 'picture' of the six of us. Thought you guys might get a kick out of it.
Just thought I would vent to you guys, because I know you guys understand. I remember when I started the countdown to come Down Under and now the countdown has begun til I'm home again...Soon enough
Friday, May 4, 2007
After the REALLY long post about last weekend this one will be short and sweet. I've been playing around with some of the photos from last weekend and some from the beginning of the trip and I posted them HERE. I played with some color and some different filters and I think they all came out pretty cool.
I'll be updating the song list sometime this weekend.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
This view was worth every minute of the drive and my entire trip to Australia.
I took this picture I swear it isn't fake. This is from Whiskey Beach.
Here is a picture from the sunset on night two at Whiskey Bay. That's Colin over to the left.
When the clouds cleared we could see right down into this little lagoon. The color doesn't do it justice.
Matt, Steve, Colin, and I at the bar on Phillip's Island.
The parrot that sat on my shoulder after I refused to feed him.
The beach at Red Rocks on Phillip Island.
The first sunset of the weekend. This was as good as it got for that night.
Matt and Linda waltzing on the dance floor.
Here is a shot of the SeaGull after it ate the Colin's apple core.
Kangaroo's hanging out in Wilson's Prom.
This is the view from on top of the mountain we climbed.
Another view of the mountian from where we were on the top of the mountain.
That was just night one. The next morning we got up and went to pick up the rental cars. The plan was to drive a few hours south to Phillip Island which has penguins and some really cool beaches adn camp out and then the next day drive a few more hours to Wilson's Promenitory and see some more beaches and do some hiking. Wilson's Prom as they call it is actually the Southernmost tip of the Australian Mainland. So we get in the car and drive Colin, Matt, and I in one car and two other cars full of people. We take our time on the drive down and take some awesome pictures of the scenery and landscapes. I drove the car for a while. It only took about a half hour to get my bearings on the road. Once you get used to driving on the other side of the road it really isn't as odd as you might expect. On several occasions though I turned the windshield wipers on instead of blinkers and we all got a good laugh out of it. We split from the group for a while and drove around to a couple beaches. We went to one called Red Rocks where we tried to catch a sundown, but it was too cloudy, so we met up with the group to set up camp. Now it wasn't very warm, but we had lots of blankets, but the clouds at sunset immediately turned into torrential downpours. Colin and I ended up sleeping in the car and the rest of the group in the 8 man tent. Luckily everyone was dry in the morning when we woke up. From Phillips Island we got up and drove to Wilson's Prom another two hours. The weather was overcast, but bearable. We drove into the prom and it was like nothing I've ever seen before. The mountains looked like something out of Lord of the Rings and the way the mist was on them was breathtaking. We saw some wild Kangaroos and some Wombats as well as some crazy birds. We stopped at the visitors center in the park before hiking the mountain and grabbed something to eat. While I was enjoying my PB and Banana sandwich, the birds kept getting closer. Then this little red parrot flew right up and sat on my shoulder and tried to eat my sandwich with me. We then moved into the car to finish our meal. Colin threw his apple core out of the car when he was done thinking the birds would just peck out it. Nope a seagull came over and attacked the other birds before swallowing it completely whole. We aren't sure but we think we may have actually killed it. It's squawk got noticeably higher and you could clearly see the core logged in its throat. It was still flying around when we left though so we didn't feel too bad. Next stop was the mountain.
The mountain we climbed was about a 3.5km hike. It was kind of rainy and the clouds were covering most of the peak, but we decided to do it anyways. We took about a half hour or more getting up the moutain and had a pretty cool view from the top we could make out a few other mountains inland and a beach below us. We decided to hang out up there for a while and take it all in. About 15 minutes or so later and the wind picked up. Within seconds the cloud had moved past the mountain and we could see 3 or 4 beaches up the coast and a half of dozen islands that were out in the water that we didn't even know were out there. The clouds came and went for a little while longer and we walked around the mountain a few times before heading out. The group wanted to head to the largest waterfall in Victoria, but our car decided to try and catch another sunset at a place called Whiskey Beach. After turning around a few times, we made it just in time. Just when I thought I had seen some awesome things in my life, I was literally breathtaking. The pictures look fake. There were enough clouds to make the colors pop out of the sky but not too many to block the view. I was done, I didn't need to see anything else on this trip and I would have been happy. Now I forgot to mention that two of our friends from Sydney decided right after we left Thursday to buy tickets and come to Melbourne friday morning. They called us and asked where we were we told them we were driving down and camping etc. They siad they'd think about it. Well long story short Matt's phone and mine died so we had no way of getting a hold of them and when we tried to call them from a payphone they didn't have service either. They spend the night in their car driving from campsite to campsite trying to find us. We headed back to Monash because they weather still wasn't great and we decided to crash at Colin's instead of in a campground again.
The third day Colin had work to do so Matt and I decided to head into the city and explore Melbourne. We finally got a hold of the girls and got a stern talking to about how we abandoned them and they weren't ready to meet us quite yet. We told them we try them again later because our phones were still dead. The city of Melbourne is very cool. The day was overcast, but we got to explore the downtown area and the river shores. We ate some decent Thai food and found a place to sleep for the night. The hostel we stayed at was pretty nice. The selling point was that there was free internet and breakfast so we spent the $30 for the night. Immediately after paying they said "Oh by the way, the internet isn't working right now". Figures right. We called the girls and they were still kind of mad. We told them that we were going to take a nap and shower up to go out to a couple bars that we heard were good. This was there second time in Melbourne and they said they might end up meeting some kids they met last time. We told them where we were staying and left it at that. Matt fell asleep and started snoring immediately. About ten minutes later when I finally closed my eyes there was a knock on our door. We were reunited with the girls finally. Bars are pretty expensive so we decided to buy a box of wine and drink a little before we went out. It didn't take us long to realize that we didn't want to go out and instead we made the fateful trek over to the casino. (Know that the girls have been 3 times since they had gotten to Melbourne two nights previous, and you thought I was bad). Well the night turned out pretty well, I lost about $100 playing blackjack for four hours which I didn't think was too bad. Especially since Matt walked away with $500 and treated to the worst pizza we have ever had. Day three complete, one to go.
So day four started out to a slow start. The 10am wake-up call to remind us that we were being kicked out came very early, but not early enough for us to have our free breakfast. We grabbed a bite to eat with the girls before they had to leave to catch there plane before going to grab a car to make our last journey of the weekend to the Great Ocean Road. The Great Ocean Road runs along the southern coast of Australia and is windy twisty turns along the waters edge and in and out of the mountains and a rain forest. long the way there are all kinds of beaches and cliffs to check out. Our goal was to make it to the 12 Apostle rock structures that have formed over time from the erosion of the water. We looked at the map and figured that we can make with plenty of time and we would go a little past and come back for sundown. Well we were told that it was about 3 hours to 12 Apostles. What they didn't tell us was that its 2 hours to the start of the Great Ocean Road and THEN 3 hours from there to 12 apostles. So we are meandering are way along the Great Ocean Road stopping at all these lookouts and beaches taking pictures. We stopped and grabbed some sodas and around 4 o'clock we hit Apollo's bay and decide to check the map to see where we are at. We were still only about half way. So we decided to stop chitchatting and taking our time and stepped it up to make it 12 Apostles. Now right before you get to 12 Apostles there is about 45 minutes of farm country with cows and sheep and ZERO ocean front. The sun was going down quick and we didn't think there was any way we were going to make it. We thought we were going to see the sun go down on a farm that may have been in Madison, WI. But we pulled up to the 12 Apostles as the sun was going down and sprinted down to the water to take some pictures and enjoy the view. Words cannot describe how awesome this place was. It was worth every penny and every Km of driving it took to get there. I love road trips and Matt and I definitely had a good time listening to horrible Australian radio and the same 7 songs over and over again. We played some movie game. Talked a little bit about life and the stuff going on with our group of friends and everything. It was just overall and awesome awesome trip.
We decided that since it was now dark out there wasn't probably much left to see on the Ocean Road so we turned back and headed towards Melbourne. We turned one corner while we were inland and the full moon just lit up a valley that was full of a rolling fog. It was incredibly creepy looking and looked again like something out of a movie. Matt got a few good pictures and if I can get a hold of it I will post it here soon. We made it back to the airport around 10:45pm. We were planning on dropping our car off and sleeping in the airport, because our flight was at 6am. But, we had chosen the smallest airport in the world and they closed from Midnight to 4am. So what did we do you ask? We went back to the Casino in Melbourne. I didn't bring any money in with me at all and Matt only brought $50 which he lost relatively quickly. We wandered around for a while and got to watching some craps and learned how to play the game. We stayed there for a while talking to some Aussies about Australia and the states. Then somebody recognizes the guy playing next to me as Colin Miller. Don't worry Matt and I had no idea who he was, but turns out he was a champion cricket player that retired a few years ago. It was the equivalent of running into say Dennis Rodman in the states. He was known for his outlandish hair styles (which were pretty tame tonight). After that we walked around Melbourne for an hour or so and went back to our hostel to use the internet which they had finally got working. Then it was the drive to the airport and the flight back to Sydney.
If you can't already tell by my hour long post, this weekend has probably been the highlight of my trip so far. With no expectations going into it, everything worked out perfectly. It was some great times with some great people and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
This weekend most of the crew is heading up north for a couple days. I have some papers to work on that need to get done so I opted out of this trip. Things are good here and I hope things are even better back home. Less that 60 days still I'm stateside again.
LOVE YOU GUYS
I have to give a shout out to Linda who Matt and I met at the bar we went to on Phillips Island. Linda was a 47 year old woman who thought we were the greatest thing since sliced bread. It was quite the townie bar and we were probably the most excitement they had seen in decades. Here's to you Linda *Cheers*