Monday, June 21, 2010

Australia (A crash course)

So just to let everyone know and get up to date, I will be spending the next 8 weeks in Australia. i hope to see as much as I can and I will be sure to keep everyone up to date on my adventures.

So this is my first trip outside the US (45 min in Canada doesn't count) and it has been quite an experience so far. The flight was pretty miserable, ~28 hoursish. I never realized how hard it was to sit down until that plane ride. It wasn't too bad though since I had movies on demand so I watched I think 7? Anyways I arrived in Sydney on the 15th of June and was promptly tagged by the customs officials as a danger to myself and the whole country of Australia with my beef jerk and fruit snacks. I have never been attacked by so many beagles at the same time before. Ferocious little buggers when they smell someone foreign to pick on. Anyways after having to throw away all my food away, I made it to the domestic terminal. We boarded a flight to Canberra after about a 4 hour delay, and made it safely to orientation. I'm here with about 20 other American grad students doing some research for the national science foundation. For orientation we went to the Australian war memorial (these things are everywhere here), which was pretty. The real treat for the day was attending question time at parliament house. This a period of time where the prime minister has to answer both scripted and unscripted questions from his own part and the opposing party. Let me start off by saying this was ridiculously funny. I would say that the hour and a half was about 99% show and 1% government. Let me give you a small example:

Prime Minister: Hi I'm the prime minister, and most people don't like me. In order to fix this I am raising the taxes significantly on the only profitable industry in Australia, mining.
Opposing party Question: Excuse me sir, does this not sound stupid?
Prime minister: You are wearing an ugly suit.
Party in power: Prime minister, is it not true that your taxes are the best thing since the moon landing and mozzarella cheese in stick form?
Prime minister: Well thank you what a marvelous question. But before I answer this I would like to ask to not be removed from power. Also, Somalia's shares are up 1.7% this morning, if you care to know, which can be attributed to a global recovery due to my efforts.
Opposing party question: Can we break for tea?

Overall a good laugh but not much accomplished. After our time in Canberra, all of us went our own way to the individual cities where we are doing research. Mine just so happens to be Perth, the most isolated city in the world (no lie, look it up). So here is my overall take of Australia thus far:
1. People here love their coins. They have 6 different types each weighing in a half kilo. I think this is so no one can sneak up on you, as your jingling change can be heard by Helen Keller.
2. Veggie-mite is pure hog snot, don't let the locals tell you otherwise.
3. Everything is bigger here and probably has you on the menu. A kookaburra landed on my porch last night and those things are much bigger that Nat Geo gives them credit for. Also, they have quite the devilish laugh.
4. We call you mate because we can't remember your name.
5. Everything is expensive, imagine doing your business inside Yankees stadium and thats what everything costs. I.E. Coke-3.50, burger-9.00, peanut butter-9.50, shampoo-7.50, an so on.
6. Everything is beautiful and people are friendly, laid back, and in no hurry. My type of place.
7. Mid morning tea is serious!

I started work yesterday and it is much like I expected. Hurry up and wait a bit. I'm sure things will start picking up in the upcoming days. Anyways thats all for now and I'll keep you posted



  1. You are so funny! Thanks for blogging! I can live vicariously through this and your pictures! I miss you! Love, Angie

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