Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 4!

This morning, after our first breakfast in the gorgeous Medina Grand, we all walked to the harbour where we would meet our cruise ship. While we waited for the boat to park in the pouring rain, we gave a performance of Kyrie, Cross the Wide Missouri, and Come Lasses and Lads at an Italian restaurant which was kind enough to lend us shelter. The cruise was amazing with our first human-eye (versus bird-eye) view of the Sydney Opera House, where we are to perform on Sunday!

Disembarking from the cruise, we then walked to Australia's Opal Museum and met Nessie, a 150 million-year-old dinosaur whose fossils had been Opalized. We were then allowed to buy some opal jewelry, if we so desired, which was all quite beautiful. One can never truly describe the way that opal shimmers, effervescent, in the light. We then got to see a beautiful miniature of Sydney and then also walked around Martin's Place for a few hours before we went back to the hotel for rest and dinner. We all look forward to tomorrow and its store of adventures!

Ta,

The Australia Group

Day 3!

Today, after having a leisurely breakfast at our hotel, we all piled into the bus and headed to the airport. After waiting 50 minutes for our delayed flight, we boarded our plane and headed for our next stop: Sydney! Upon arrival, we met our new tour guide, Julie, who we found to be very upbeat and energetic. We dropped off our baggage at the hotel and then headed to the Queen Victoria building for some shopping. We then all headed over to Woolsworth (which is the Australian version of Long's/Safeway's/Duane Reed) to buy ingredients for dinner, which we were going to cook in our apartment's kitchen. Monica, Paula and some friends went swimming while Virginia, Cam, Parisa, Madison, Laura, Anna and LoLo cooked a bountiful feast of pasta, salad, lemon chicken, garlic bread and sausage. Quite stuffed, we all went to bed.

Ta,

The Australia Group

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 2!

This morning, from 7 to 9 o’clock was breakfast and free time to explore the town a little more. Breakfast was delicious, and the fun was added to by our discovery of the “perfect mocha-” which included six packets of sugar, half coffee, and half hot chocolate. Some of us were then fifteen minutes late boarding the bus due to, as one of the witnesses put, “the evil hotel clocks that prey on innocent tourist-y teens.” We were then driven to “The Spit,” which is a long piece of land that extends far into the beautiful Pacific Ocean and ends in a lighthouse.

Reboarding the bus, we took a nice 45 minute long drive to Curumbin Animal Sanctuary, where we were to spend the next five hours. Most of us soon got to hold a Koala and feed and pet a Kangaroo. We saw Dingoes and Wombats and birds of prey, too! The same group that walked down the street singing yesterday went to the Dingo exhibit and sang to the Dingo, who came out from where he had been hiding to listen. Paula and Gabby had an interesting time feeding Lorikeets and having them land on their hoods, which they had raised.

We then returned to the bus and the hotel, to have an hour of free-time before heading out to the Hard Rock Café for a delicious dinner of burgers.

At the end of the second day, many of us have now fully realized how hard the jet lag has hit us. Tired beyond belief, we leave you now with thoughts of a warm bed and a cold pillow.

Ta,

The Australia Group


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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 1!

After many, many hours of travel, discombobulated and slightly mentally impaired, we arrived in Brisbane after an hour-long layover in Auckland, New Zealand. Right now it’s 5:06 p.m. and we are soon to head out to dinner. Upon arriving in the airport and going through customs (where Virginia had a little trouble with all of her many snackity-snacks), we met John, our replacement travel guide as our planned guide (Glenn) was in the hospital with food poisoning. Hopping into the big blue bus, we soon noticed that everything was backwards and feared for our lives. Every car was on the wrong side of the road!!! The steering wheel too!! Cam soon noticed John’s sarcastic and witty sense of humor as he warned us with genuine care for our safety to “Stay out of the water that has rip tide warnings because if you don’t, you’ll be swept out to sea. And you’ll never make it to New Zealand, so don’t hope…you’ll just end up as shark food.”

We then disembarked and walked around a beautiful park filled with flowers and a wonderful Ferris wheel that offered fantastic views of downtown Brisbane. Paula, Gabby, LoLo, and Ms. Fraser went on a ride on the Ferris wheel and got stuck as the entire bus had to wait for their ride to end. They were kept on two turns extra and it took 30 minutes for the entire ride from beginning to end.

The bus ride to our hotel, the Chateau Beachside, was pleasantly short and was passed singing “Lasses and Lads,” which is quite a beautiful and fun piece. We arrived and rushed up to our rooms to shower and change and explore the town in groups.

Virginia, Cam, Madison, Parisa, LoLo, and Surya went off singing songs as they went down the street and ate gelato. They also walked along the fine, soft sands of the beach that is only across the street. The ocean was cool, but surprisingly warm for mid-winter. Anna and Leila had much fun wandering about and watching the locals.

Coming back to room 806, the popular hang-out of the night, most of us retired to writing down our adventures in notebooks, posting letters home to loved ones, and just attempting to stay awake at close to 1 a.m. in the morning (California time). We head out to dinner soon – which is just a four-block walk away, on the seaside. We will all write more later.

Ta,
The Australia Group

From Madison and Surya to Nancy:
Loves! Having fun!!!! Will see you soon, and we will not become shark nibbles!!! Yay! Loves.