[Re]wind Part II featuring: Australia, the first four days.

In this [Re]wind you can learn about Australian football, the Great Ocean Road, a little about Australian Aboriginals, Phillip Island, and learn some Australian lingo. 

July 3rd
On the plane to Australia was not feeling great and my throat hurt. Voice was so low it sounded like I was trying to seduce everyone.

July 4th
My flight landed around 7 am in Coolangatta. I slept decently well on the plane and felt relatively human.  I was in a line that looked like it would take 3 years to get through but I was on my phone (dumb) and a security woman told me to stop, then realized I was American and put me in a different line that was much shorter (privileges of being a white blondish woman). I got out of immigration and had a delicious apple cinnamon muffin (!!!) and vanilla latte. I talked to an older couple from Tanzania who were super friendly, and gently corrected my pronunciation of “Cairns” (it should be pronounced like the word cans).

Anyway, went to check in for my flight and they put me in the exit aisle for free …weighed my bag and it was a kilogram over but they said it was fine (shoutout to Tiger Air).
I got some fruit and Gatorade (first time in a year)!!! And eventually boarded my flight which I basically slept through.

Got off the flight in Melbourne and it was frigid.  I thought I was going to die. I happily found Laura and her boyfriend Brenton and we immediately headed to her car (where I put on a million layers). Then we drove into Melbourne to attend a Footy game!

The drive into town was really beautiful and very overcast. Lots of cool buildings and architecture. We headed straight to the section of town with the footy field, and where the tennis open is! Walking into the stadium felt like I was walking into the Royal’s stadium, loud, and the excitement was contagious.

Footy is a game that seems like a mix of soccer, handball, and football. Really really physical and  really engaging. Watch and compare American football to Australian football here.

We watched a quarter (we missed the first quarter b/c of my flight) and then towards the end of halftime Brenton and Laura treated me to an Australian beer and a meat pie.

Meat pie!

My first meat pie!

We stayed until the end and then headed to Laura’s place.
We dropped off my stuff and headed to dinner at a local bar/restaurant. I tried an Australian dish called the Chicken Parmi which was basically chicken baked with ham, cheese and red sauce. It was delicious and it was hilarious b/c the portions were so large. The meal cost me the equivalent of $10 USD.
We stayed and chatted about everything from the weather to why Britain’s queen was on Australia’s money.


A quick Australian English-American English Dictionary:

Sook- crybaby
Bogan- redneck
Struth- it actually happen or “for real”
Jumper- hoodie or overcoat
Eftplus- credit card
Doona- comforter
Stubby- bottle of alcohol
Maccca’s- mc’d
Brekki- breakfast
Tossers- hooligan
Notes-bills
Lemonade- sprite
It was very ironic to me to get to Australia, an English speaking country, and not understand what was going on. Hence, the dictionary.


July 5th
Pulling a move akin to a teenager, I slept until 12.
I jumped in the car to head to Phillips Island with Laura and her boyfriend. It took about 3 hours to get there. It’s famous for the seals and penguins that live in the area. First we stopped at a spot where you can occasionally see seals. We didn’t end up seeing any, but it was gorgeous.

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Showstopping!

 

While I didn’t see a seal, I did see a wallaby!

But I saw a wallaby!

They are loosely related to the kangaroo.

We ended up seeing several wallabies which apparently doesn’t happen that often.
Then we headed towards the Penguin Parade. Phillip Island is home to thousands of penguins, who are about 1 foot tall. We headed in and bought tickets, bundled up and went out to the beach to wait for the penguins. Apparently the penguins can go out for weeks at a time, and they come back when they are full and return to their nests. They don’t come back until the sun goes down, however, to avoid predators.
So we sat shivering in the seats until sundown and watched as probably 100 penguins came ashore. It was incredible. Then we walked on these gangplanks and watched them get into their burrows. They supposedly make a sound like ducks quacking but actually sounded more like cicadas to me.

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You technically can’t take photos of them b/c the flash makes them sick. So this is the organization’s photo, not mine. But look how cute they are!

It was beautiful, and freezing. By the time we worked our way to the building I couldn’t feel my toes.
After a quick dinner at subway, we grabbed some Tim Tams and Wagon wheels (incredible Aussie chocolate) and hit the road to get home by 11.

July 6th
Woke up at 8 and had a quick banana/ oatmeal for breakfast and then walked River, Laura’s dog.  We walked along Geelong’s esplanade, which was gorgeous.

After walking for an hour we dropped River off at home and headed back out to see Geelong (pronounced Ja long). We grabbed a quick mexican lunch and then went to an Aboriginal culture center, Narana. It had many exhibits and art. We ended up learning how to make Kanga Bolognase which actually tasted pretty good.
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You can call me “Chef Banks”

Australian aboriginals primarily live in the north and are generally underprivileged.The 1970s had the “Stolen Generation” where aboriginal children were plucked from their homes and placed in Western Christian homes (akin to what happened in the U.S. and Canada). Crazy. You can learn more about that here and here.
We walked around the gardens at Narana and saw mama and baby emus, which were terrifying but cool.

cute and terrifying

Cute and terrifying.

Also tried my hand at throwing a boomerang (I’m not good).
Then we went to Laura’s university called Deakin. It was a really cool campus and we visited the library and grabbed a cup of coffee. I ALSO GOT TO TRY TO DRIVE HER CAR! Australian’s drive on the opposite side of the road so it was an interesting experience for sure.
We had a relaxing afternoon and then I met up with a friend from middle school for dinner.
July 7th
Big day. Had an early morning b/c Laura and I were driving down the Great Ocean Road.

We got started with a quick drive to the supermarket. I picked up greek yogurt! strawberries! popcorn! and almonds, in addition to a few pieces of fruit in order to have “supplies” for the day. I know, a frivolous detail, but I’ve been living someplace where that doesn’t exist!
The Great Ocean Road is a highway built a long time ago along the edge of a series of cliffs  with some of the most amazing views I have ever seen. On the way we took a million photos, and even drove by some kangaroos jumping through neighborhoods.
so many scenic spots

So many scenic spots!

SONY DSC

At a certain point we were going to turn off onto a special road in order to try and spot some wild koala’s. Before we could get to the koala’s, however, there were a whole bunch of tourists standing around some trees looking at what turned out to be some special parrots. We went to check it out and some Australians gave me sunflower seeds and told me the birds would fly to me if I held out my hands.

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I did what I was told and IMMEDIATELY a bird flew to my hand. Seconds later, a bird flew and just chilled on my head. I was, to say the least, freaking out.

 Anyway, after having our fill of the birds, we went up this winding road full of eucalyptus trees (what koala’s eat) and looked to see if we could find any wild koalas. Luckily we saw quite a few.
Can you spot the wild Koala?

Can you spot the wild Koala?

Then we kept driving. Eventually we saw the 12 Apostles and the Loch Ard Gorge. All of these were beyond beautiful and I loved it.

12 Apostles

12 Apostles

Lock Art Gorg

Loch Ard Gorg

Not shabby?

Not shabby!

Then Laura drove us back to Geelong where we basically turned in for the night.
So here’s the deal. Great Ocean Road? Breathtaking. Also? Exhausting.
Wild animal count today: 3 koalas, 2 kangaroos, a wallaby, several Australian parrots and something that looked like a mole-rat!
Coming up next: [re]wind on Australia: a wildlife sanctuary, downtown Melbourne, the Great Barrier Reef, hot air ballooning in the Atherton Tablelands, and some traipsing around the jungle. 
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