Tuesday, June 1, 2010

blogs-late but uploaded due to bad internet

Blog: Sydney (April 30, 2010-May 5, 2010)
Sydney is a really awesome place to be. It reminds me a lot of New York City, but on a smaller scale. There are plenty of things I found enjoyable such as using the public transportation (mainly the ferry service which acts like a bus) and exploring around Circular Quay. There is great food to be found throughout the city and entertainment to do at almost any hour. It was a bit pricier and I did not realize how fast I would be draining my fund. I would recommend to be conservative when it comes to money and buy and prepare food to save money where at least 75% or more of my money was going. For a large city almost every place closed early and by 5PM there was barely any place open. I had to get whatever I wanted to do done by a certain point of the day or I would not be able to do something because of the times the businesses were operating.
Blog: Canberra (May 5, 2010- May 6, 2010)
Canberra is a lot smaller than I expect and is also in the middle of nowhere. I will admit I had an enjoyable experience in the city but there was little to nothing to do. I did learn quite a bit about Australia on this day and feel it was very informative. There was a substantially large mall located in the center of the city that did provide something to do but that was about the highlight of fun activities in the city in my view. Like Sydney, everything closed very early and there was barely anything to do at night. I had to venture off to find food as there were few places open and managed to find food after venturing deep into the heart of the city. Canberra did not put a hole in my pocket like Sydney did and I got a few bargains while I was here.

Blog: Brisbane/ Frasier Island (May 6, 2010-May 12, 2010)
Brisbane was an adventure. I liked the koala sanctuary very much and made a few friends along the way when it came to the kangaroos and koalas. I really liked the hotel we stayed at and I think it was my favorite place to stay at as I felt like I was in a hotel and not a backpacker's hostel. Brisbane would also be the first place I bought and cooked food in. I did found this to be faster, easier, and cheaper than finding food throughout the city. The city itself was very easy to navigate and on my free day I found the city outside/indoor mall. I caught part of an NHL playoff hockey game which was playing at an outdoor bar. I just took a seat and watched the last period and then walked around and did some souvenir shopping. I found some pretty good deals here and bought some gifts for people back home. Overall I enjoyed Brisbane and thought it was a very nice place to be. Frasier Island caught me by surprise. I thought I was going to absolutely hate the place as it was outdoors and there was no technology and very little civilization. I was completely wrong and think I had so much fun. I really enjoyed our guide Russell. He knew his stuff and made our outing there very enjoyable and memorable. I believe Frasier Island is one of my highlights for this trip.
Blog: Cairns (May 12, 2010 –May 18, 2010)
Cairns reminded me of a typical beach city such as Atlantic City (minus the hundred of casinos). This would be the place I did a lot of shopping. I got my girlfriend her birthday present here (a pair of pink ugg boots). I was going to get them in Sydney but got such a deal on them ($94, while the same pair went for $135 elsewhere) that I just got them. I also got my friends boomerangs, although I don't know how much of a good idea that was. Aside from that I also learned that I do not like the water or really being in it and would rather be skating on a frozen sheet of it then swimming in it. I did have fun at the Great Barrier Reef and at my free day in the Tully River rafting in crocodile infested waters. Once again I found myself in the water and did not really enjoy being in it. I did also try to get a tan as much as possible while here all over as my dad and cousin who were in Iraq told me it was a good idea to before heading out in the desert, so the desert sun would be less brutal on my skin. We also had a trip to Cape Tribulation which was a pretty fun but very long day. Most of the information I had gathered as an outcome of this trip I had already learned from Russell on Frasier Island. I did however see a Cassowary a very rare bird that is almost extinct and it was a very cool sight to see. 

[Charlie's note:  I do not know who posted this.]

Monday, May 31, 2010

Pictures from the Outback continued =)

3. Kata Tjuta under cloud cover - very rare occurence
4. MacDonnell Ranges from Desert Park - a lot of green

Pictures from the Outback =)

1. sunrise at rainbow valley
2. close up of uluru - can you spot any hidden pictures in the holes?

The end -

So as I sit here typing, Shelby and I have just finished our final project.
Meaning, after the presenation time tomorrow, the most amazing term of my life, is officially over.
Heartbreaking really if you think about it.
But like they say, all good things must come to an end.
The trip - is nothing like I imagined.
Going to Oz has been my life long dream -
and once I got there, how could I have not dreamed of it all along?
Its hard to believe I spent 30 days there.
They days went by so quickly, and now I'm sitting here jetlagged as can be -
wondering when I can get my chance to head back there again.
Because oh yes, I will be back.
To all of you who love traveling -
and those of you who want some advice ..
Never pass up the opportunity to head to Australia.
You'll regret it terribly if you do.
See you later Aussieland. <3

Jennifer Loveless '11
1 Park Place
Elmira College
Elmira, NY 14901

Back on Campus? Time Flew By.

Well, it's been a bittersweet return to the States, with over 24 hours of flight time logged to get back to good old Elmira College. The jet lag coming and going was well worth it for the month spent in paradise. Holding a koala, playing with kangaroos, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, visiting the Opera House, camping in the Outback, staying on the world's largest sand island. And these are only some of the great things that I've done while down there. If I could've stayed in Australia for the next few years of my life, I would be a happy camper. It truly is a paradise there, one filled with tropics, desert, forests, reefs and more. Choosing to go on this course is one of my top two best decisions made (the other being my trip to the Galapagos last Term 3), and I would recommend anyone to go on this trip if it is possible. Charlie, you made a great instructor to have on this trip, and your knowledge about Australia far surpasses my own, even now =) I hope everyone has enjoyed reading the blogs and looking at the pictures, and that it provided some sort of insight into the great trip that it was!

Final Days in Australia

The last few days that I spent over in Australia seemed to be a blur. Camping in the outback for 4 days? Felt like 2. We saw so much and the Outback is one of the few places that will can never be compared to. Climbing the rim of King's Canyon and Kata Tjuta and walking the base of Australia's most famous landmark, Uluru, was completely out of this world. The importance that these formations hold for the aboriginals is astounding, and of all the things we've seen, Uluru was the one that had the most impact on me because of how sacred it is. I was unable to see the colors of Uluru change because it was cloudy and raining almost the entire time we were out there (it's a desert. go figure!), but I enjoyed every minute of it. Coming back to Sydney was a wake-up call that it was almost time to depart Oz, as many Australians so lovingly call it. I spent my last two free days there relaxing and doing some last minute shopping. Our last night there we all went on a dinner cruise around the Harbor. The Harbor and skyline are beautiful at night and there was an amazing light show being projected onto the Opera House.  Jen and I started a little dance party in front of the cabaret singer and we got some other people on the cruise to join us as well. It was a perfect ending to a perfect trip, and we went out with a bang! =)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sydney Harbor Cruise

We just had our last dinner here in Australia. As a group we went on a Captain Cook Cruise boat that went all over the harbor. The meal was great, but the atmosphere was even better! We went on the Starlight Dinner Cruise and enjoyed an entrée (appetizer as we call it in the States) and the main course. Then, we all went on the top deck to look at the surrounding city and take plenty of pictures. Next, the group went back to the dining room to eat dessert. After coffee or tea some of us got up and danced a little to the live music. I personally loved the night. In my opinion it was the perfect ending to a perfect trip.
Lisa Winters  

[title added by Charlie]

I can't believe it's over!!

Hey All,

It's been a while since I've last been on here, and that's because we were soooo busy exploring Australia. I can't even begin to explain the amount of learning & fun that we've been indulging in for the past few weeks here in Australia. From our excursion on the Great Barrier Reef, to the tours of Tjapukai (an Aboriginal village), our adventures in Alice Springs, and our WONDERFUL  four-day camping trip, let's just say that I am so happy that I participated in this trip this year! I have learnt so much about Australia and the people living here. Even though our trip has inevitably reached its demise, I can confidently proclaim that this trip has been one of the best experiences of my life so far!! I recommend this trip highly to anyone considering it for Term III 2011....You won't regret it!! So long && thanks for reading!!


p.s.: Thanks Dr. Jacobson for hosting us on such a wonderful trip!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Last few days?!

So its been a while .. We're already back in Sydney for goodness sakes -
Only two more days left here. Not sure how I feel about that yet.
But regardless, the trip got a thousand times better since I last wrote.
Alice Springs - far better than I expected.
And the Outback .. welllllll .. the OUtback and I became good friends if you ask me.
Ever done bush camping? Well - you should. Seriously.
Greatest experience of my life if you ask me.
Nothing better than just laying out smack in the middle of the Outback..
late at night under a perfectly clear night sky -
showing every single star there possibly could be.
I mean, of course that was only one of the three nights -
and the rain could have been a little less .. rainy.
But combine the fact that NO cities or light pollution or noise existed while we were out there -
with seeing the most incredible rock formations on the face of the planet -
A pretty intense weekend if you ask me.
Uluru - the pictures aren't even CLOSE to how incredible it really is.
The many moods - nahhh.
You have to see that up close.
A snapshot at dusk or a nighttime viewing don't even begin to describe the feeling you get when you're there-
at the base of this wonderfully significant part of life.
I'd show pictures - but I think they'll have to wait.
Its one of those "you need a verbal description to coincide with the image" kinda deals.
I definitely know where I plan to live whenever I move over here.
That's for certain.

Oh. And that reminds me.
This whole camping excursion we had ..
made me realize I should test out my own backyard while I'm there too.
I knew I belonged outdoors. Good thing it really hit me while we were camping.
Just gotta get back to the States now and get my hiking/naturelovingness on.

See you soon!

Jennifer Loveless '11
1 Park Place
Elmira College
Elmira, NY 14901

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

We just got back from spending three nights and four days camping. It was great! I have been camping many times, but it did not compare to this. I don't know how to explain it all, but I will try. We arrived at our first campsite when the sun had already gone down, so we had to set up and prepare everything with flashlights. The area seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. There was a hole in the ground for a toilet, but that was all we had. The next morning we left before the sun came up for the next campsite. This place had a bathhouse! We could all wash up. The third campsite was at a place called Rainbow Vally. This was beautiful. In the morning we got to finally see a sunrise. I loved the whole camping experience and would love to do it again. 

[Charlie's note:  I do not know who posted this.]

Monday, May 24, 2010

Alice Springs and Central Australia

Here are a few photos from the camping trip to Central Australia:

1.  Around the fire at our rustic campsite outside Curtain Springs;

2.  Kata Tjuta with crowns of clouds;

3.  Laura lifts Uluru all by herself;

4.  The group at Rainbow Valley.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Camping in the Outback

We just got back from our 4 day camping trip in Central Australia. What an adventure! We left Alice Springs early Thursday morning and drove to Watarrka-our first destination. It is a huge canyon that we climbed through. The first part of the climb was called heart attack hill. It has this name because it is a fitness climb and gets your heart pumping! Our first night of camping was rustic and out in the Australian bush. We collected our own firewood as a group, built a fire, and cooked dinner over it. We slept on the ground in swags. On our second day we got to see Uluru aka the Rock. Unfortunately we did not see it change colors at sunset or sunrise because there was no sun! It was still an unforgettable sight though. On our third night of camping we stayed at Rainbow Valley which was truly a rustic camping experience because we did not even get to build a campfire because there was no pit (and we did not want to cause a bush fire). Luckily it did not rain on us that night and it was fairly warm too. We had seen our fair share of rain this camping trip which was very surprising because we were in the desert which is supposed to be a dry place for the most part.
-Amy Chipman-