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Tag Archives: #Australia

Australia, you were wonderful to me.

During unpacking and getting back into the swing of things in Vancouver I was able to reminisce about my time in Australia, explaining story after story to my friends about the amazing time I had during the past six months.

I was able to think about the good times and the bad times, the funny times and the sad times. To get something straight, it was not all butterflies and rainbows. I think overall I cried a considerable amount more during the past six months than I have in about the past two years combined. This is not all bad news because it made me appreciate home, friends and my life more. These times showed me the ones that really mattered, and was sometimes was an eye opener to me (if I didn’t know about who mattered).

Now that we’ve gotten the serious stuff out of the way, I’ve decided to reminisce about the narrow misses I had during my time in Australia.

1. To start it off, let me just say that I have never been happier that I do not have a horror story to tell about Tiger Airways. For those of you that don’t know, Tiger Airways is the Aussie equivalent to Ryan Air in Europe — ie: very very shady. They are a very low budget airline that cancels flights without warning, with no compensation leaving you stranded in the middle of nowhere … but with just some luck, you might avoid this all like me. I made it through this without being stranded anywhere and only one flight out of four being about 20 mins delayed which is not a big deal at all!

2. With the amount of times I rode the trams (without tickets) in Melbourne I was lucky to get away with never being questioned or asked to show a ticket! I had heard horror stories (again) about those that tried (and failed) to pull the exchange student card when asked for a ticket, but still got fined $150 on the spot. I think the more you ride it, the more inevitable it is.

3. After years of thinking that Vancouver had the more erratic weather on the planet, I was proven wrong by Melbourne weather which yes, is even more bipolar than Vancouver. It will literally rain, be sunny, windy and probably have an ash cloud over you in one morning. Just be warned if you are going there. And yes, it DOES get cold in Aus and specifically in Melbourne so when I was complaining about cold weather it was decently cold!

4. For the amount of times I had to get from my place to the airport and that I used the express service called “Skybus” and paid $26 for a return fair, I should have just bought shares in the company. I would have made my money back and probably made more for the amount of times I recommended it to others in Melb.

5. I learnt that “there’s a really important hockey game on in Vancouver” is a legitamate excuse to postpone a group meeting, skip class and not do my tute homework. People understand that I’m Canadian and this comes with the territory!

6. Although not having a printer was a huge pain at times, I was able to finish off the semester with $.01 cent left on my printing card. That’s quite the feat if I do say so myself!! (And no I did not just print random stuff to finish my money on my card!)

7. I also learnt that rice does indeed go bad, that wine does indeed freeze (thanks Meg) and that one text message is all it takes to start something good.

In the coming days (or even today if I’m bored enough) I’m going to go through my travel diary (the bit of it that is actually written in) and break down my travels! Overall going on exchange was the best experience I’ve ever had and would seriously do it in a heartbeat again if I could. I do wish I could have done a year, but with the opportunity to see my family in between somehow. A year without seeing them would be hard. Who knows, in the future I may end up in Australia for an extended period of time (longer than 6 months this time)! 🙂

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Australian Television – Cooking or Losing Weight…

Hello All,

Sorry it’s been a bit of a while since I’ve written, just classes at uni winding down which means papers and studying being turned up. Of course when you mention studying or writing papers there is one thing that goes along with those two perfectly… Procrastination.

I’ve recently found myself watching a lot more television than normal and have found that on tv, there are pretty much two things that are shown all the time. Take your pick, either watch one of many cooking shows OR one of a few (but played a lot) weight loss shows.

The amount of cooking shows on television is unfathomable! I know that Aussies love their cooking – or especially their sausage roasts, but are all these shows really needed? No matter when you turn on the tele, there is always a cooking show on. I only get 4 channels so that’s saying something! Out of the top of my head some of the shows are:
1. Masterchef (ordinary people in a cooking challenge);
2. Ready Steady Cook (usually on midday, and a celebrity gets paired up with a chef and have a cookoff);
3. Cooking Around the World (this french guy that travels around the world and invites himself to peoples home to cook/learn to cook from them);
4. Iron Chef (not sure as I’ve never watched it);
5. Conviction Kitchen (people that have been convicted for small crimes do their time by operating a restaurant)
6. Food Lovers Guide to Australia (pretty self explanatory)
7. Masterchef AGAIN – this show is seriously on about 4 times a week…

If cooking shows aren’t your thing (like me) but you still want to watch some tv, you have one other choice: watch people lose weight… There aren’t as many weight loss shows on tv, but the ones that are on are on at least four times a week!
1. Biggest Loser Australia  (this season was a families season and it was filled with ups and downs and yes I did watch a lot of it, but I limited myself to twice a week at the most) This was on 4 or sometimes even 5 times a week with the elimination days!!!

Okay so there’s only one weight loss show, but seriously it seems like it’s on all the time! There are a lot of new Aussie sitcoms that have just started and they are actually very good. I’ve recently caught up on a sitcom similar to Greys Anatomy but the Australian version that is based here in Melbourne called Offspring. If you get a chance, you should check it out!

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Australia – A Commonwealth Nation

This post is in response to the high publicity of the Royal Wedding which is to occur later on today. As one of the 54 independent states part of the Commonwealth of Nations, Australia is obviously very interested with this Royal Wedding (and I hear the excitement is just as much in Canada). Since this is obviously the wedding of the century as Prince William could potentially be the next King, the whole world is watching! (No pressure or anything eh?!) After being engrossed in Royal Wedding media coverage pretty much all day, I’ve decided to do a little blog post on the Commonwealth Nations and why we care so much!

As mentioned above, the Commonwealth of Nations includes 54 independent nations from various backgrounds, that are equal in status and work together towards a set of similar goals. The most unifying aspect of the Commonwealth of Nations would be the inclusion of Queen Elizabeth II that is seen and known as the Head of the Commonwealth. As there is only one Queen, the rest of the 53 nations have acting “heads of state” that symbolize this role, usually known as “Governor Generals.”

Another aspect of the Commonwealth includes the prestigious Commonwealth Games held roughly every 4 years. Although there are 54 countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, there are 71 nations that take part in the Commonwealth Games. Australia, with it’s heavily funded athletics, usually walk away with the most medals (very similar to the Olympics).

Back to the wedding, the real reason why everyone is watching is because we are watching the grandson of the “Head of our Commonwealth” marry his “commoner” fiancee. Right, did you follow that? More commonly known as “the wedding of the century”, “the highly anticipated wedding”, “the wedding of our future King”. After watching an hour of media coverage this morning, I probably heard these phrases about 20 times, but there is something about it that arouses interest. The talk about the “long wait” for Will and Kate to finally say their vows, or even for them to kiss seems SO lengthy but somehow two billion viewers will be tuning in and watching – and yes, I will be one of them. Let’s hope no one trips, because that’s a lot of viewers to trip in front of! Congrats Will and Kate!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Modes of Transportation in Melbourne

Melbourne – the second most livable city in the world (behind Vancouver of course!) has SO many popular modes of transportation that are used everyday. I’ve decided to compile a list.

1. TRAMS:

First of all, Melbourne is known for it’s trams. Trams were used in many “colonies” within Australia when this country was first settled and populated, but then many cities decided to abandon them because they weren’t feasible. People laughed at Melbourne when they decided to keep them, but now with the price of gas increasing exponentially, some cities are looking to adopt trams once again.
The Goods:
Let me tell you one thing about the trams though, they are slow as ANYTHING; especially when you are going through the city and each block they have to stop to pick/drop people off. When you take them during the day or late at night tho, and you get all the lights, they FLOOR it! The trams here remind me of the B-Line in Van, you just kinda hop on and hop off with the 3-door boarding system!
The Not-So-Good:
Like I mentioned earlier – slow. I can walk faster than them for the most part, which is why I’ve resorted to walking almost everywhere.

2. BUSES:

Right so obviously it’s a big city, so it has buses everywhere. I have not, however, taken a public transit bus to anywhere else in the city, but judging from their outward appearance, they seem pretty nice. All the buses I’ve seen have a sign that says “air conditioning, leg room” etc so I wouldn’t see why they wouldn’t be good?

3. TRAINS:

Flinders Street train station was one of the biggest buildings built in Melbourne when it was first established as a city. It is very ornate, and very big, and is in the center of town. I believe it has more than 12 platforms that are in use currently, and services pretty much every line that runs in Melbourne and the surrounding suburbs.
The Goods:
It’s very central, relatively easy to use, and there are always people around to ask where to go if you get lost (yes, it’s THAT big).
The Not-So-Good:
It’s BIG, which means it’s HELLA crowded especially during peak times like mornings or evenings. You don’t want to get caught up in that!

4. BIKES:

If you’ve ever been to Melbourne you will notice that throughout the city there are these blue bike stands everywhere with bikes that you can pay for and use for the day. In Melbourne, there is a law that you have to wear a helmet when you ride a bike and it is actually enforced, unlike Vancouver. If I remember correctly, you also have to have a light on your bike for when it gets dark. In order for you to comply with their laws, there are also helmet stands beside the bike stands that you can get a helmet for the day. The roads are equipped with very good bike lanes because there are high volumes of bicyclists that use this as their preferred method of commuting everyday.

5. WALKING:

Like I’ve mentioned before, the actual CBD of Melbourne isn’t very large, so it is quite easy to walk through it. The suburbs however are spread out in every direction from the CBD.
The Goods:
Exercise! Especially when the weather is nice outside, there are so many things that you can see just by walking around that you wouldn’t be able to see by taking the bus, train or tram. Especially the laneways!
The Not-So-Good:
Rain. As the footpaths are made up of this wierd tile, they get super super slippery when it rains, and my thongs are NOT used to that, so I slip like there is no tomorrow.

6. DRIVING:

Self explanatory, but since I live in the city, I would NEVER drive, unless I had to leave and commute on a daily basis to the suburbs. Owning a car in the city means you have to pay for parking, AND share the road with:trams, bikes, other cars, pedestrians. I say that’s one too many things for me. Also don’t forget about the hook turns that you have to do because of the trams. This is a special turn in which you have to make a right turn from the FAR left lane. Confusing, yes. 

All this mentioned this is how I get to the airport when I need to:

1. Walk to the tram stop.
2. Take the tram to the train station.
3. Take the train to the main train station.
4. Catch a bus from the main train station to the airport.
5. Take the plane to my destination.

I pretty much take every form of transportation possible! Walk, tram, train, bus, plane. Because the trams take so damn long, I usually walk to the train station myself!

There are also random horse carriages around the city, that I’m sure you could use if you really wanted to, to get around!

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Melbourne’s Technology!

Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve somehow noticed a lot more public bathrooms around the city of Melbourne. The ones that have stood out to me are the ones that are in the middle of the street, and the automated/high tech ones.

I’ve attached a video for your perusal – featuring a highly technical bathroom just down the street from my uni!

You can also make up your own mind on whether the water flushes the other way in Australia!

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Exploring Australia

Since I’ve traveled half way across the world for school, I have decided that I want to see and explore as many places in Australia and the surrounding areas before I head back to North America. So far, I have seen the north island of New Zealand, Sydney and of course Melbourne. Over the past weekend I traveled to Tasmania with four other exchange students from all over the world too – we were quite the multicultural bunch.

We flew out early Thursday morning from Melbourne, and arrived in Hobart. We then picked up our rental car, and hit the road. The plan was to see as much of Tassie as possible in the time that we had, and we started on the west coast. We quickly realized that although the kilometer distance wasn’t that much between our stops, the time it took to get there would be a lot longer than anticipated due to the roads. The roads in Tassie are curvy, steep and potentially dangerous. The state does do a good job of warning signs though!

The plan was to camp close to Cradle Mountain so that we could be up early and hit the road ready for the day-long hike; and that is exactly what we did. We were up at the crack of dawn on Friday, got our backpacks packed and hit the road to Cradle Mountain. The hike was long and tiring but so worth it. I would absolutely do it again in a heartbeat as the views the entire time were stunning. Not even my Nikon D3000 could potentially capture the beauty.

On Saturday we drove to Launceston and looked at the Gorge there, and looked around the city, then headed down to Coles Bay where we camped in a National Park right on the beach! We made some dinner and watched the sunset, and had a plan to wake up early the next morning to even catch the sunrise on the beach. This was gorgeous! Absolutely! Take a look!

After this we were under a slight time crunch as we wanted to go to Coles Bay and hike the trail down to Wineglass Bay and also make our way down to the former convict town of Port Arthur. We were on marathon pace for the last couple hours but we did see everywhere we wanted to and even landed up at the airport with time to spare!

As you can see from these pictures, Australia has so much to offer! Even on a little island like Tasmania. So if you are in Australia currently, are planning a trip here or are coming to study/intern here I would highly recommend Tasmania. It’s a short flight and you won’t regret it!

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Volcanoes and everything in between.

Hello,

This post is in light of the recent earthquakes, earthquake warnings, tsunamis and tsunami warnings that have occurred around the world. There is never a goodtime or place for any natural disaster, but when they occur in big cities like the past 2 big earthquakes, it just makes you stop dead in your tracks and think about your life. This is especially true when you see the images of the death and destruction created by something that is completely out of anyones control. (This post is written to be taken as “less depressing, but more eye-opening.”)

For those of you that don’t know much about earthquakes, I will just give you a crash course:

The earth is made up of many “plates” that are “floating” on the liquid area of the inside of the earth. These plates move through time, and sometimes collide with others which then form earthquakes.

There are 3 types of earthquakes:
1. Convergent (two plates coming together) – most destructive AND causes tsunamis
2. Divergent (two plates diverging) – usually just in middle of oceans
3. Transform (two plates rubbing against each other) – pretty much only in California

Below is an outline of the major plates around the world. As you can see, Japan and NZ are prone to earthquakes but it does not make them any less devastating. Australia is pretty much safe! 🙂 But, not so much for tsunamis.

I’m sure everyone knows what tsunamis are – “giant waves”. And I’m also sure that you’ve all seen the destruction water can cause. In Australia, as the major cities are along the coasts, tsunamis are a very big hazard. There have been infrastructure and mitigation put in place to help prevent the possible destruction that could be caused, but you just never know with natural disasters.

I think that is the thing that scares everyone – the element of surprise. A natural disaster can catch you off guard, whether it be you own personal good day or bad day. It’s scary. But when you live in a country such a NZ or Japan that are used to these, you can’t live your life in fear, but you learn to cope with the situation and hope for the best.

For those of us that have never lived in or had to first hand feel the effects of earthquakes and/or tsunamis be thankful, but don’t be ungrateful; be helpful and don’t be naive. Educate yourselves on the possibility of natural disasters, what to do when they occur and don’t forget to tell your friends and family you love them… always.

 

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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