Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Is it summer yet?

Hello everyone!

It's been just a bit more than a month here in Australia. Winter is slowly winding down, but for some reason the wet season didn't realize it was over and it's rained quite a bit, unfortunately. I've been quite busy since I last wrote. Uni (as they call it here) is well underway. My first philosophy assignment is due on Wednesday and my first history paper is due in a week. Neither are terribly hard, just something in the way of all the sites of Sydney!

Recently a large group of friends and I took a bus up to Katoomba, which is a town in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. It was absolutely freezing and windy up there. We took a trolley to various parts of the mountains, including the Three Sisters, which were pretty spectacular. We walked down the Giant Staircase, which was quite a workout on my calves considering it was all down hill, and we were able to get right up to the Sisters. We walked about two kilometers or so to a train car, which is the steepest track in the world...45 degrees. I was absolutely petrified. We weren't buckled in or anything and we went up backwards nearly perpendicular to the ground and saw everything. I made sure I was tucked in between 4 people and held my roommate, Jamie's, hand the whole time. It didn't help that some guy was shrieking behind me. Regardless, I survived. From the top of the mountain we took the trolley to Leura Falls, which was pretty anti-climatic. Overall, the Blue Mountains were worth seeing.

As for ultimate, I made the Australian Uni Games team. Our tournament is during spring break, which is in about a month at the Gold Coast. We practice twice a week, and one night a week is pickup under the lights. As of just recently, practice has been lacking in the intensity department. I meet up with a few other teammates an hour before our Thursday trainings to do fitness work to get in shape for uni games. But last week one of the captains/coaches came back from visiting the United States, so he really put us to work. I also played in a fun tournament called Savage Sevens....yes, a no-sub tournament. My team was a lot of fun, but we could have done much better. We lost in the semis and tied for third, but we could have done way better in terms of not slacking off. I played very well up until that last game when I sort of just got tired. I had an incredible layout goal, which I'm definitely going to scar from, as I ripped open the scabs on my arm and hip at practice. Nonetheless, it impressed the team and got everyone pumped. I'm also helping my friend Alex with our jerseys. I told him that I am ordering our Syracuse jerseys from Patagonia, so we're going to see if that's possible before uni games. We also get free wedges (french fry wedge slices) after practice.

I've done a fair amount of souvenir shopping at various cheap shops. My friend Jackie from home is studying in Melbourne, and she is coming up this week so I'm going to take her to Paddy's Markets in Chinatown for some real cheap buys. We're then going to Newcastle for a tournament, though we'll leave Saturday since her flight leaves early Sunday. I'm going to visit her in October.

The other night we went to the Scubar club in Sydney, and it was quite a show...literally. I was probably the only girl in the place without a drink, yet got into a dance contest with a British girl. Basically, one of the guys working there said he needed a British girl and an American girl for a danceoff. As you know, I don't dance. If I do dance, it's pretty ridiculous. Well, my awesome friends pushed me up on stage, where I went head to head with a scantily clad girl from Wales. I proceeded to tell her that I don't dance and she said oh, well I do. Needless to say, I did not win, but I did get some fantastic photos to document the events, and afterwards several Australians told me I should have won and was far better than she was. It was a good time and not a drop was drunk.

I went to a Sydney Swans game with my roommates, which is the Australian Football Rules (Aussie Rules) game. The stadium is called Telstra Stadium in Olympic Park, which was built for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The stadium looked like a Quidditch stadium from Harry Potter. We sort of picked up on some of the rules with the help of a guy sitting near us. Sydney won, and I read in the Daily Telegraph the next day that the coach said it was the best game they'd played all season.

I got some free comedy tickets from the gym I go to. A bunch of us went into Sydney to see the show, which was great. The first comedian wasn't that good because he was mostly vulgar and made fun of his fat daughter, which was pretty awful. The second guy was hilarious, and once he found out there was a table of Americans, he went to town. The last guy was OK- nothing to write home about. We're going this week to another show as well. We're also seeing some dance thing at the Opera House on Tuesday. I have no idea what it is, but it was a fairly cheap ticket to see something, so why not?

Today my friend Janine and I went to Hunter Valley on a wine tour. We stopped first at a wildlife park and got to pat Koalas and feed Kangaroos. The kangaroos held my hand when I was feeding them. I think this park was better than the zoo since you got to touch the animals. We also saw a guy milking venom out of a spider to make anti-venom. The weather could have been a lot better, but it didn't rain much up there; it poured in Sydney. We went to four wineries, and I can officially say I do not like red wine. I gave it a fair chance at two of the wineries and eventually neither Janine nor I could drink it. We did buy a dessert wine, which tasted like pineapple and candy. I ate far too much cheese throughout the day; I wish it had been a cheese tour. The whole group, at the last winery, took a shot of chilli schnapps called Dragon Breath, and it was just that. It was sooo hot, but it did clear any congestion I may have had. Janine and I also took our own tour of the chocolate s\nhop and got some delicious fudge and other treats.

Well, that is the update for now. Things are going well; I just wish the weather would warm up! I have yet to take a dip in the water. I did run to Bondi, which is a couple kilometers along a beach path, but even at the end of that I wasn't hot enough to swim. Hopefully soon.

To add to your dictionary:

budgie smugglers: men's speedo bathing suit
(they are quite common)

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