Saturday, February 6, 2010

Finally Down Under!

Wow, let me just say Wheeeewwwww. I apologize for not writing sooner, but as you may or may not know it is very difficult to get internet for long periods of time in other countries without paying an arm and a leg. And why would I want to spend all my time online when I could be exploring these amazing places?! I finally have the time to sit down and actually write down my experiences so far as a traveler. As for this post, I am going to go day by day through the past 10 days I have had of travelling. Hopefully it won’t be boring, but I think it’s pretty exciting stuff!

As I write this I am sitting in my very own room in my apartment in the Murdoch University student village. When we arrived last night, all 11 of us checked in and received our room assignments. It was a HUGE reality check when I was taken to an apartment that has obviously been lived in for a while. Imagine clothes, food, and just general stuff everywhere in the common area and kitchen. My room was obviously empty and clean, and did not smell like garbage as did the common area. The hardest thing was separating from the friends and fellow students I have been with constantly over the past 10 days. I have not had 10 minutes of alone time this whole trip, so I definitely got some separation anxiety. We all went our separate ways to meet our roommates and unpack the suitcases we’ve been living out of for 10 days. It was fun to take out pictures of family and friends that I had packed and put them up on my corkboard on my desk, and put my bed sheets on my bed. Anything that reminded me of home made me happy and homesick at the same time. I am just so glad I have these things to keep me sane. I organized my room for about an hour, but it was getting to be 12:30 AM—which was actually 3:30 AM Sydney time, so I was pretty tired. Meanwhile, my roommates have still not returned home. Probably still out partying. At about 2 AM I heard people outside and come in. I thought maybe I should go out and introduce myself so I didn’t scare them in the morning with my presence. I did and the two girls who were there were really nice! They were very excited to have another roommate. We didn’t talk for long because it was so late, but I am assuming they are from Australia or surrounding countries because of their accents. They said that we have 2 other guy roommates who weren’t back yet. I will probably meet them today. I think the messiness of the apartment is something I’m just going to have to get used to. At least I can keep my room the way I like it.

Anyways, I want to write about Fiji and the experiences I had there! First off, I hate airports. We had to take a plane to Chicago, then to Los Angeles, and finally to Fiji. That was the longest day ever. The flight to Fiji was an overnight flight so I should have been able to fall right to sleep, but I didn’t. It was just too uncomfortable and I couldn’t get situated. It also didn’t help that it was constant turbulence the whole way which really freaked me out. We finally landed in Nadi, Fiji at 4:45 AM their time (about 9:45 AM Midwest time, but we were 19 hours ahead). We took taxis to Nadi Bay Resort Hotel. They checked us in and took us to our room. It was a dorm style room/apartment that had one main lounge area and we took up 3 rooms that had 4 beds in them each. We were wide awake at this point because it felt like 10 AM to us. So we were down at the pool by like 8 AM, where the sun was already VERY intense. This day we spent just lounging around the hotel area, grabbed some lunch at a place down the road. I noticed Fiji can be very Americanized in some places. This can be a good thing at times, but I also liked to experience the authentic Fiji. That night the resort was very nice to throw us a welcome dinner! They also had a Kava ceremony for us. Kava is a Fijian traditional drink that mostly men drink to bond over. It pretty much tasted like dirt mixed with some water, and looked like that too. It is supposedly a narcotic that makes you dizzy and your tongue numb, but it is not considered alcohol.

The next day we took a bus to a VERY nice resort on the coast of Nadi. This is the kind of place I would expect to go if my parents were paying, but we didn’t have such luxury, haha. Very beautiful pools and facilities. We camped out on the beach and tried to work on our tans. Unfortunately for me, I did not put on enough sunscreen that is required for fair skin like mine. I ended up burning pretty badly. YUCK! Anyways, I was pretty red by that night when we went out to a restaurant called Sitar where it was ladies night. We got free drinks with our dinner and after dinner we went outside where they had a live band. We stayed here for a while. Since it was ladies night, they were going to pick a winner for best dressed lady. A girl in my group, Molly won! She won a beautiful necklace and a free bottle of champagne (which we made her share with us). After that we walked to a disco/club down the road from the restaurant. It was a really nice place, but there weren’t that many people yet since it was only like 10 PM. The bartender said people don’t really show up until midnight or later. Oh well, we had a blast taking up the entire dance floor and dancing to our favorite songs. We ended up heading back at 11:30. Pretty lame, but we were wiped!

Saturday we had planned a day trip to a tiny Fiji island called the Beachcomber. We caught a bus to Port Denaru at 7:30 AM. The catamaran took us to the island, it took about 30 minutes. The first sight of the island was amazing. I couldn’t believe a place like that actually existed. The first thing we did was walk around the island, which took about 15 minutes. It was amazing. The water so blue, and the trees so tropical. I was still in a lot of pain from the day before so I knew it was best to get zero sun. I rented an umbrella for the day, which was SO worth it. The sun was so intense, and there were never any clouds! This island also is a resort where you can stay for cheap. We had originally planned on staying here when we were in Fiji, but I’m very glad we didn’t. As beautiful and scenic as it was, I could not stay secluded on such a tiny island for 4 days. I like being able to go other places and see different things, where this island took about 20 minutes to explore. Plus the sand was the kind that stuck your body indefinitely if it touched your skin. Very annoying. After the boat ride back, we decided to eat dinner at the Hard Rock Café Fiji. It was awesome to eat a cheeseburger and French fries. Just like home. We were so tired from our day out that we did not do anything this night. We pretty much got back and went to bed.

Sunday was our last full day that we again just spent lounging around the hotel. It was relaxing and didn’t cost any money so that was a plus. I also had to spend a while repacking my suitcases. It’s no fun living out of suitcases and having to take everything out when you need something at the way bottom. This night we went out for our final dinner at another restaurant down the road. There are so many to choose from! I ordered BBQ chicken and ended up with half a chicken on my plate! So delicious and cost about $10 USD. This was around the time when I started to notice my forehead and eyelids starting to swell. I did not know what was wrong with me, but I looked like Quasimodo from hunchback of notre dame! Gross. I was freaked out about what my face was doing, but I assumed it was from the sunburn. I woke up the next morning to get ready for the airport and my face was even worse! I looked like I got punched in the face, minus the bruise. I was really upset because everyone was like “oh my god what happened to your face.” I just wanted my face to go back to normal! I was pretty depressed until we got to the airport and on our flight. By the time the flight to Sydney was halfway through I decided it wasn’t going to ruin my time. I decided I looked like an Avatar by the way the ridge in my nose was swelling! Honestly, look at a picture of an Avatar and that’s what my face looked like. My group was supportive and tried to make me laugh about it. That made me feel way better, and with sunglasses on, you couldn’t tell as much.

We were finally in Australia!! I was very happy about this. Finally I get to see the country I will be living in for 4.5 months! We caught a shuttle bus to our hostel, the Wake Up Sydney Central. It is a very modern hostel, perfect for our age group. Once we were settled into our rooms we got right on the internet. We all feel so deprived without it! I cherish every minute I get! Some of us wanted to start exploring right away so we asked how to get to the Opera House and Harbour bridge. It turns out that it was only like 10 blocks from our hostel. We decided to walk to it. We found Circular Quay, which is the bay where the bridge and opera house are. They were beautiful, and no pictures I took can capture the beauty of it! Everyone should see it sometime! That night we all went out to the bar in the basement of our hostel called Sidebar. Apparently it is a pretty popular bar in Sydney, and people from other hostels come there to party. After about an hour down there I was feeling so tired. I thought it would be best to just go to bed. I’m very glad I did because I slept SO soundly and I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go.

On this day, Tuesday, we all walked to Circular Quay again and got closer to the Opera House. We took pictures here. Then our group split up and 5 of us took a ferry to Manly, which is kind of like a suburb of Sydney with a great beach and cute little shops on a boardwalk. The ferry was awesome and we got to see the bridge and opera house from a new angle! We spent about 4 hours in Manly, shopping and exploring. We took the ferry back and went home to the Wake Up. Today my Avatar face was finally going away! I was so happy to start looking like myself again! My friend Allison and I had met a guy near the Opera house selling extreme boat rides around the harbor. He asked us if wanted to meet up that night and go out. Allison and I ended up going out with him and his Australian friends. It was really fun and they were all so funny and nice!

On Wednesday we walked to Darling harbor where the Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife World are. It was really neat to see all the tropical fish and SHARKS! At Wildlife World I finally got to see kangaroos! And Koala bears  When we got home from that we started getting ready for the night. We ate at the little café connected to our hostel. Such good food! We then took the train (subway) to Circular Quay where there was an ice bar called Minus 5. This is a bar that is made totally of ice! We had to put on huge winter coats and boots before we went in. It was very interesting! Very fun! Then we all took the train back to our area. Allison and I went to Sidebar for a while. I left after a guy spilled beer all down my back. I was done for the night after that!

Finally, Thursday was our last full day in Sydney. We spent this day at Bondi Beach. It is one of Sydney’s most famous beaches. We had to take a train and then a bus to get there but it was worth it. We got settled on the beach and we decided to wade in the water. Almost as soon as I stepped in, I was stung by a jellyfish! The tide went out and I looked down and it was wrapped around my leg. I had to take it off with my hands. It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would… I was able to run up to the lifeguard stand and ask them what to do. They gave me some ice in a bag and told me the pain would go away in an hour or so, which it did. It felt sort of like a long cut on my leg and someone put rubbing alcohol on the open wound. It stung for a while, but then it went away without a trace left on my skin. We ended up leaving Bondi early because some guys had sold us tickets to a party cruise that was happening that night. We had to be at Darling Harbour by 6:30. So we had to get back home so we could get ready and leave. The party cruise was SO much fun. The perfect way to end the Sydney trip. After the boat we got a bus to The Gaff, a night club downtown. Then about half of us went to a gay club! This was very interesting. We didn’t stay too long, but it was so fun. Two guys were like “oh my god I love your dress!” HAHA!

The next morning was a mad rush to get repacked and checked out by 10 AM. It was so crowded with all the people who needed to check out! We finally did and got a taxi bus to the airport. Even though we didn’t have a flight until 5:50, we needed to go because we didn’t want to lug our suitcases with us around Sydney all day. The time at the airport was well spent because I was able to get internet on my laptop and upload my pictures and skype with my parents. It was great! We caught our flight, and after 4 hours we landed in Perth. Our Murdoch shuttle guy was waiting for us with a sign! And this is where my story ends! Now I am still in my room alone and I am going to get ready and meet up with the others to go buy essentials we need for our apartments. I have to buy so much stuff! And it sucks because I already have all this stuff at home, I was just not able to bring it because of limited space. We also want to buy cell phones today so we can keep in touch with each other while we’re here! Well I will write again when I have more news to tell!



  1. Bri! That all sounds AMAZING! I'm glad you have internet so I can creep on your life more regularly! :] Can't wait for more updates!

  2. Sounds like you had a great time in Sydney, thanks for checking out Wake Up!

    Cheers, John @ Wake Up!