Presentation rescheduled

So my teacher finally got back to me today and told me my presentation has been rescheduled to next Wed! So glad she got a hold of me (FINALLY) though I wish I could get my presentation over with already.

Now I have two days to study for my english exam. 3 hours, 3 essays, woo hoo! I really need to review all my notes and study for this! I will probably try to reread some of the books we talked about just so I have some refresher ideas. Oh, and I was able to get special consideration for the exam in light of my injuries and will be able to have more breaks in the exam in case i cannot sit for 3 hours straight! Marieke bought me a rubber coccyx cushion today so that should help but it still hurts to sit for a long period of time.

My plan tomorrow is to not move and study studys study so i can rest my knee because I think I’ve been walking too much and want to relax.

Met the landlords of our house for the first time today and long story, but also the very belligerent lady that lives in the house behind ours. If I have more time will explain later, but basically she is flipped out about the tiniest noises ever. Seriously, if she is mad Marieke talks on her phone outside at 10pm, then she shouldn’t be screaming her head off which apparently she does all the time.

Tribulation at Cape Trib

I’ve been so busy lately and have updated in a while! I have so much to post, but for now I just will talk about recent news.

I went up to Cairns and Cape Tribulation this past week with my friend Marieke as a pre-exam study break. However, on our horseback ride in Cape Trib I fell off my horse while cantering and landed straight on my tailbone (straining my back) and really hurting my knee.

I wasn’t able to go to the hospital about it until Sunday because Cape Trib is a protected rainforest with limited people up there and there are no doctors or hospitals nearby. Luckily, I didn’t break or fracture anything, but it really hurts to sit or walk (I’m limping around like a 90 year old with arthritis– I know what it feels like to be old and it sucks!)

So now I am hobbling around with crutches and trying to stay off my knee much as possible. I’m also trying to get ahold of my teacher because I was supposed to give a presentation on Monday but it hurt too much to travel on Sunday so I missed it. I’ve sent a few emails to her but have yet to hear a response so if I don’t get one by tomorrow morning I’m going to talk to someone else in the school about it.

I’m also only up in Townsville for 9 more days so I’m beginning to study for my two exams and figuring out how exactly I’m bringing back all the things I need to bring home (I hope it fits into my two suitcases). Still also working on changing my flight back from LAX to IAD because the dates I wanted to change it too are NOT available, so I’m not quite sure what to do.

So much for a “restful” pre-exam break! Incidentally, Cape Tribulation was thus named by Captain James Cook because he was shipwrecked on the reef up there for a day or two!

Friday, April 23, 2010: in which we actually see some of Brisbane!

Once we checked out of our hostel, we got the shuttle bus the hostel provided into downtown Brisbane. Brisbane is a really nice city and seems very laidback.

We mostly did shopping this morning because we didn’t have time for much else. Apparently, there are some good museums here, which would have been nice to see if we were going to be there longer.

After about four hours, we caught the shuttle bus back for the hostel and set off for our five hour drive up to Hervey Bay. It was good to have three drivers because we could all switch off driving before one of us got tired. Kristen also got to drive for the first time on the left side! However, living in Canada, she already knew how to drive manual, she just needed to get used to using her left hand to shift.

It was an easy drive and we checked into our hostel around 9pm. Scott had taken his own car up from Brisbane and
arrived about an hour after us.

The hostel was so QUIET! It was nice in one way because we had to be up by 7am to get ready for Fraser, but still I expected some kind of nightlife.

Also, the bathroom in the hostel was way sketch! There was no window or fan in the bathroom meaning that the bathroom couldn’t air out like it needed so there was mold on the shower curtain. > (

soccer ball sculpture in Brisbane

Tea Tree Oil Lake

Thursday, April 22, 2010: our last day of surfing and in which I drive on the right side of the road

We had to check out of our hostel at 10 that morning because we were going to Brisbane after our surf lesson. We decided we wanted to hang out on the beach before our lesson and have another picnic, but before we did that, we had to check the oil in Marieke’s car.

Checking the oil on Marieke’s car was something that we should have done at the start of our trip if only we hadn’t been so rushed to leave. So when I pulled out the oil gauge, I expected it to be low, but it appeared as if it was completely empty! Marieke and I found out where the nearest service station was in town and went to it.

Service Stations in Australia are a lot different than in the US. When we got there (combo with a gas station) there was no line and the guy instantly was able to check our oil and coolant level. He told us that we were right; the oil was completely empty and he was surprised we had been able to drive as much as we did. He brought over two bottles of oil and filled the tank up with about 1 ½ bottles of oil. Then he added more water to the engine, even helped fill our tires to the correct air pressure. Air for tires is free in Australia, wish we could take that back to the US! I hate having to pay for air and then running around my car to fill the tires before the air stops running.

The nicest thing about all of the things the guy did for us was that we didn’t have to pay any service fees! The only thing we had to pay for was the 2 oil bottles which cost only $23 dollars. I was expecting we would have to pay for his help, like we would if we went to Jiffy Lube or someplace similar in the States.

After that episode, we went to the town beach (closer than Flat Rock) and had a nice picnic. It’s a good thing we went with the Mojo Van that day because we actually went to a different beach. This one was a lot closer to town but still was kind of abandoned. I wish I remember the name, but I have completely forgotten!

Huey was our main surf instructor for that day, which felt very full circle. He helped Marieke and I at the beginning when we really sucked, then he got to see us when we were awesome at catching waves. We even caught a green (unbroken) wave!

We also got to see a sea turtle nest on the beach which was being looked after by a beach ranger. By seeing, I mean we saw a big roped off area and a small hole in the ground. It was really interesting though because we got to learn about sea turtle nesting habits.

After the surf lesson, since we were parked right next to a tea tree oil lake, we got to go swimming in it for about 5 minutes. Tea Tree Oil is supposed to be really good for your skin and hair and because of the oil, the lake was colored a golden brown color. It reminded me of the camp I went to when I was 15 where we went kayaking down a river lined by I think it was Cypress (?) tree where the water was turned a similar color by secretion of the tree oil.

Tea Tree Oil Lake

After a refreshing swim, we headed back to Mojo office where Marieke and I ordered the photos that were taken of us when we surfed. Because the shop was about to close when we got there and since this was the only time we could get the pictures, they kept the shop opened for us for an extra half an hour. Our poor surf instructor Huey had to wait for us to select our pictures then burn the CD. Once we got everything and left the shop, Huey was going to skateboard home in the dark but we convinced him we should give him a ride.

It was pretty funny because he did not seem to trust Marieke driving at all, even though she’s a good driver! (When she isn’t trying to scare you haha!) We came back to the hostel we stayed at (Huey lived nearby) because Marieke and I planned on using the showers before we left for Brisbane. We ended up talking to Huey for half an hour about surfing, his travel plans to the US and other random things. Like I said earlier, he was a really fun instructor and seemed like he could have been a good friend if we weren’t leaving Byron Bay.

Finally he skateboarded off home, we showered and then we bid farewell to Byron bay. We wanted to grab a fast dinner, so we were looking for a McDonalds on the road (they don’t have one in Byron) but there was none to be found! I drove for forty-five minutes and there was NO sign for a food exit ANYWHERE. Surfing makes you really hungry, and at this point it was around 7pm, we hadn’t really eaten anything since 12pm and we were STARVING.

We decided to get off at an exit for a town that looked semi-big and potentially had a McDonalds. The end of the exit was a stop sign, which of course I stopped at. It was really dark and only light on the road came from our car’s headlights. Then to get on the road to town, I took a right and started driving.

I only drove for two seconds when I realized something was wrong and Marieke yelled “You’re on the wrong side!” Luckily, there was no one around so I quickly cut over to the left lane aka the “RIGHT” lane to drive.
For the most part, it’s really easy to drive on the left side of the road, because there are all these signs to keep left and you’re sitting on the right side of the car anyways. But sometimes, like that night, when you are kind of distracted by various things, it’s easy to slip into a “normal” driving mindset where you drive on the side you normally drive on. It’s almost happened to Marieke a few times as well, but we’ve always noticed and corrected it before she drove on the wrong side.
Anyways, after that exciting adventure, Marieke and I drove through the town to find out there was NOTHING there. Just a typical small town. So we drove to the next town, also nothing. We ended up asking a guy working at a gas station (the only place with the lights in the town) where the nearest McDonalds was and he gave us some directions.

After 20 more minutes of driving, we finally found the McDonalds. After a quick dinner, we got back on the Highway and within an hour we were in Brisbane at the hostel we stayed at before. This time we only had to follow one road off the highway to get to it, so we didn’t get lost like last time.

Kristen, my friend I met on Contiki in New Zealand, flew in that night and took a bus to the hostel. We were so excited to see each other that even though we were tired, we ended up talking for two hours straight while Marieke was passed out in the bunk above the bed we were sitting on. Finally, we both went to bed around 12ish because we had to wake up early the next morning.

soccergirl1

Monday, April 19—Wednesday, April 21, 2010: in which we surf some more.

Monday Morning we woke up relatively early and went to the lighthouse in Byron Bay which is on top of the eastern most point of Australia! The view from the cliff was so pretty and we even got to see a pod of dolphins swimming!

For the next three days (Mon- Wed) we had our surf lessons at Flat Rock Beach. Not only were the waves really nice, but there was practically nobody on the beach so we didn’t have to compete for the waves. There were a couple of people who did a few lessons with us, but nobody did it as long as we did it for. I still was really bad at catching a wave on Monday; it was even worse than the first day! Our surf instructors were really encouraging even though it was an epic fail on my part. That night I went to bed around 8pm and woke up at 8am. Good thing Marieke was able to find some people to hang out with that night!

After catching up on so much sleep, it definitely showed in my surfing the next few days! By my third day (Tues) I was catching almost every wave I tried to get! My surf instructors from Baja (Mark and Mike would be so proud!) Marieke and I also scoped out the shops in Byron Bay which were pretty nice, if expensive. Like I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of hippies in town, so there are a lot of handmade clothes shops.

Now would probably be a good time to talk about Nimbin. Nimbin, Australia is like the ultimate Hippie community and destination. There are a lot of organized bus tours you can take to check out the town, meet some locals and see some waterfalls along the way. Nimbin is supposed to be very chill and I wish we had time to go to it but our days were taken up by surfing.

On Wednesday, Marieke and I drove to Flat Rock Beach instead of taking the Mojo Bus and had a nice lunch on the beach, enjoying the fact that we were totally alone on a beautiful beach! I got a lot of really nice pictures at the beach that day, like this one:

copyright: Sarah Kountz

We had a different lead instructor on Wednesday who I didn’t like as much as the one we had for the other days, Huey, who was really fun to talk to.

Oh, something funny that happened that day was when our surf group met us down at the beach I was still wearing my long dress over my swimsuit because I was planning on putting on a wetsuit because the water got chilly after a while. But, by the time Marieke and I ran up to the van, got our surfboards, wetsuits, and came back down to the beach, the instructor had already started our warmup to surfing exercises, so I had to do it in my dress. There were a lot of funny pictures of me from that day (Mojo has a photographer take pictures each day of people surfing) of me trying to do yoga in my dress!

That night, Marieke, our new friend Will (who did Mojo surf with us for two days and was staying in our hostel), and I watched “Blue Crush” because after so much surfing, we wanted to see the “professionals” do it. There’s a scene in the movie where Kate Bosworth and her crew teach a bunch of football players how to surf, and they pick it up in a heartbeat. So fake! They would not be able to surf that well after just ONE lesson. Maybe after like 20 lessons. But, other than that, I really enjoyed re-watching this movie!

Oh, I forgot to mention that from Monday to Wednesday I had been working on my PR paper about Obama and it wasn’t until Wednesday morning that I finally finished the stupid thing! Once that was over, I felt like I could relax and really enjoy my vacation, but too bad it was right at the end of our surfing vacation! I don’t know if you can understand how hard it is to be motivated to work when you are staying in a hostel with lots of people to distract you and where you have a lot of better things to do like taking a walk along the beach or reading a good book! But, I did it! Props for keeping myself motivated!

Sunday, April 18, 2010- in which we surf for the first time in Australia

Marieke and I woke up fairly early and set off to Byron Bay for our first lesson. It was pouring in the morning and I felt bad for Scott and his family who had woken up early to mulch the flower beds. I couldn’t even hug Scott goodbye (though I would see him for the Fraser trip) because he was completely soaked from the rain and dirty from the mulch.

Marieke and I followed the signs to the highway, which had a picture of manatee (or dugong as they call it here) in a triangle on the sign. I tried to get a picture of it, but we drove by too fast. We really needed to get gas and we kept passing gas stations but the gas was so expensive! So we decided we would hop on the highway and get off at the exit with the first gas station sign. However, we were driving on the highway for over 10 minutes and while we passed a lot of exits, we didn’t see any signs for gas. I was starting to get worried because the gas meter went on red and I wasn’t sure how much longer we would be able to drive for. It would be so dumb to be stuck on the highway with no gas when we could have stopped at like 5 different gas stations. So finally I told Marieke to take the next exit and we would just find gas somewhere.

Well we got off the next exit and the road led into a giant roundabout with a bunch of different roads branching off on it and no gas station in sight. Instead of driving randomly in one direction in the hopes of finding gas, we circled around, intent to get back on the highway and drive maybe to the next exit. But I told Marieke to take the wrong turn to get on the highway and we headed down a random road. It turns out this was a good thing though because a couple hundred feet up the road was a gas station! We were saved!

We filled up the tank and then sped off to Byron Bay. The drive took about 2 hours, though again due to my amazing ability to pass out while someone is driving in like .043 seconds, I was asleep for most of it (I bet you are kind of feeling sorry for Marieke now because she always have to drive by “herself”! Normally I’m a lot better at staying awake during roadtrips but not for this roadtrip!)

We got to Byron Bay and drove around a bit looking for our hostel. Byron Bay is a really cute surf town with lots of shopping opportunity and a fair amount of hippies. But, it’s nothing compared to Nimbin which I will write about a bit later!

So we finally found our hostel and checked in. We chose to share an 8 person room with girls only, because girls tend to smell a lot better than guys! We had a quick lunch, then got picked up for our surf lesson around 1:30 P.M.

We were advised through the Sharkie Travel agent at our School to book our surf lessons through Mojo surf because they had good rates and really taught a lot. For our first lesson we drove 20 minutes away from Byron Bay to Flat Rock Beach would be a high tide, with lots of good crumbly waves that the beginner surfer would want to practice on.

I had done a two week surf camp in Baja California four years ago, but I was SUPER out of practice the first day! I think I only caught like 3 waves. By the end of the lesson, I was so tired from all the times I wiped out and was rolled around in the ocean like I was in a washing machine.

When we got back to our hostel, Marieke and I had a really chill night and just talked with some other people at our hostel.

wombat in rain

Saturday, April 17, 2010- in which we go to the Irwin Zoo and there are mighty downpours

The next morning Marieke and I checked out of the hostel and ate some breakfast on the sidewalk next to the car. I don’t know why we did this because we could have eaten in the kitchen of the hostel, but we did. I think some people gave us some sketchy looks, like we were hobos or something. Scott was supposed to pick us at 9am—we figured it would easier for him to find us than for us to find him—but he was running late and misjudged the traffic so we waited for him until 9:40am.

Once Scott came, we hopped in his car (we were going to pick up our car later to follow him to his house) and headed through the city center, getting a Mini Tour. Then it was an hour drive north to the Australia Zoo AKA Steve Irwin’s Zoo in Beerwah, Australia. No, I am not kidding; it’s really called Beerwah.

The ride was really nice, love automatic cars!, and there was a lot to see. It’s right next to the Glasshouse Mountains which are very pretty, I wish we could have spent some time hiking there!

Unfortunately for us though, right as we got to the Zoo it started raining, alternating from a drizzle to a downpour. But we were there anyway, so armed with Scott’s Umbrella—I stupidly left my rain jacket in Marieke’s car and she forgot hers in Townsville– we paid $48 and entered the Zoo.

The Zoo was nice, but wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I’m used to the free National Zoo in D.C. and the San Diego Zoo, so I was expecting the Australian Zoo to be HUGE. But it wasn’t. It was a decent size, with a focus on mostly Australian animals. We got to see a lot of crocodiles, snakes, koalas, kangaroos, tigers, elephants, echidnas, birds, etc. The Koalas were pretty cute, though all they do is sleep. Marieke and I both got to “pat” them, but when you pat them you only are patting their bum. It’s kind of funny.

I finally also got to see a wombat up close! Ever since I saw this picture of one, which I think is utterly hilarious, I’ve been kind of obsessed with them.

Such a little cutie. Marieke thinks he looks like a “gross fatty”, but I think he’s adorable!

So we got to see the wombats first in their indoor enclosure and then one in an outdoor enclosure. The one we saw in the outdoor enclosure was huddle by the gate of the enclosure with the rain streaming down. We were joking how he wanted to escape, when a keeper in a bright yellow rain jacket and green rainboots came by and told us the wombat was waiting to go on its walk. Apparently, for an hour in afternoon the keepers take some wombats on walks around the zoo, and this Wombat really loved his walk. The Keeper also asked if we had seen another Wombat in a jacket in the enclosure because she had lost it. While the rest of us were laughing about missing Wombat in a jacket, the Keeper went off calling the Wombat’s name like it was dog.

Walking Wombat

Oh, when we also talked with the keeper, I found out I could walk and pat the wombat for $40. As I did not have that money to spend, I had to say goodbye to the cute wombat and we continued around the Zoo.

A cool thing about the Zoo was how many Kangaroos they had in enclosures you could walk in. They had two enclosures with 50 plus Kangaroos hopping/ lying around in which you could pet them or feed them. It was so awesome to be inches away from a Kangaroo and to actually pet them. I had heard about them all my life, but to see one up close is so different. Actually, something I found interesting was their feet. They had really weird shaped toes.
It was also neat to see them walk around, because they have such a weird bouncing/walking motion.
After we pet the Kangaroos for a bit, it started to rain harder and we were hungry, so we went to get some food. Good thing we did too because as soon as we stepped into the pavilion it was like an ocean pouring down from the sky! Poor Marieke was freezing because it was fairly chilly from the rain and she had left her sweater in her car. After the monsoon was over, we got to see one of the Zoo’s animal shows in which they had birds flying around, a giant water snake (anaconda?) swimming around and a crocodile in action.

The show/zoo was not crowded which was nice, but this in no doubt due to the shitty weather. Once the show had finished we went to the elephant enclosure, where Marieke and I got to feel an elephant some fruit. It was such a strange feeling of feeding an elephant. It was as if it was if the cantaloupe was getting suctioned off my hand. I really wanted to pet it’s trunk, but as the keeper said “How would you feel if 30 people touched your nose in 5 minutes” (feeding the elephant was like an assembly line because there were people who lined up, fed it, then got back in line again) so I wasn’t able to.

We walked around a bit more, but before we left we went into the gift shop. Because Steve Irwin turned the place from Beerwah Reptile Park (ugh, terrible name!) into the Australia Zoo, and because he became so famous the whole gift shop is dedicated to him and his family. You can get a t-shirt of the family, along with postcards, posters, figurines, and dolls, etc. Bindi has her own doll like she is a Barbie! It’s soo creepy! I would hate to have a doll made to look like me because a doll never quite looks the same as the person; the face just gets distorted into something weird!

I was debating to buy a Bindi postcard as a gag gift to my friend Aitak, but decided if I was going to buy a postcard, I’d rather spend money on a postcard that showed some of the beautiful Australian scenery.

After the Zoo, we picked up Marieke’s car and followed Scott to his house, which was about 30 mins outside of Brisbane. He lives with his mother and sister, and so we stayed in their spare room off of the garage. The bed in the room was a pullout couch, but because the mattress was really thin, we wedged two twin mattresses on top of it. But, because the mattresses didn’t quite fit, they tilted into the middle and hung off the sides of the bed.

I didn’t want to roll into Marieke so when we turned off the light to go to bed (after a nice Thai dinner and watching a movie in Scott’s room) I tried to stay more to the edge of the mattress. I misjudged how much it was on the bed though, because I just rolled off the bed and got wedged between the couch and the wall. I literally was stuck for like 5 minutes as Marieke and I cracked up laughing at my pitiful attempts to free myself from the crevice. I felt like I was Winnie the Pooh stuck in the door for days until he was finally able to free himself. Marieke had to grab my arms and tug really hard, but finally I got free and was able to lie on the mattress so I wouldn’t roll off!

Friday, April 16, 2010- in which I describe the OZ roads and we get lost

We woke up a decent hour to start our drive, but still it was early considering I was still wiped from not sleeping the other night. We ate the cornflakes we brought with us for breakfast in water glasses because we had no bowls in the room. Then we packed up our stuff and hit the road. We had to get back on the Bruce Highway (A1) and so of course we followed the signs for it. Turns out though, the signs took us in huge loop around Rockhampton in which A1 was only a few streets up from where we first started. I really don’t get why they made it like that because it was a waste of 20 minutes fighting through traffic to get to the practically the same place.

I should probably explain what the highways are like here. It’s not at all the interstates in the States where you have nice medians separating the opposite directions of traffic. For the most part, from Townsville and Brisbane the road is a two lane highway, one lane each way, with only a double white line separating the lanes. It gets really tiring driving on these roads because while there are occasionally an extra lane to pass, sometimes it’s only the two lanes with dotted lines allowing you to pass. However, since Marieke’s car is so low power, if we were stuck behind a slow car or truck we were stuck there for a looong time; her car wouldn’t be able to speed up fast enough to cut into the other lane and get back to ours before a car would pass us.

In fact, head on collisions is often a problem on these highways. About every kilometer or two, there’s signs to “take a break mate, you’re eyes are shot,” or “collision zone, next 25 km.” It can be kind of intimidating sometimes when you’re driving, especially at night and a huge truck with bright lights looks like it’s barreling towards you from the other lane.

Another thing you have to look out for is Kangaroo and Koalas crossing the road. About half of cars that drive on the roads here have roo-bars, which are bars attached to the hood of the car so that if you hit a kangaroo, it will bounce off the car instead of hitting the windshield. Running over a Kangaroo on the highway is as common as hitting a deer in the U.S. Actually, the first wild kangaroo I saw in Australia was not a happy, bouncing Kangaroo like I thought it would be, but roadkill.

This is why it takes a lot of concentration to drive on roads in Australia. Marieke and I were constantly saying “please don’t let us hit a kangaroo” because not only would it be traumatizing, but also her car doesn’t have a roo-bar and hitting one would probably total it. However, we were lucky throughout the trip and while we saw a lot of roadkill and dead kangaroos, we didn’t hit anything ourselves.

About halfway through our drive from Rockhampton to Brisbane there was a sign for Hervey (pronounced like Harvey; I don’t why understand Australians pronounce things like they do sometimes) Bay Tourist Drive. Since we were going to Hervey Bay later in our trip, Marieke and I thought it’d be cool to check it out. The drive really took us out of the way, added an extra hour to our journey, but we had a nice break from driving by walking on the beach. The beach was similar to sandflats and there was practically nobody on it. I love when I have the beach to myself so it was very nice. ?

Then once we left Hervey Bay, I texted my friend Scott who we were supposed to stay with in Brisbane that we were a few hours away. Then I got a strange message back from him about whether we would want to hang out tonight or just meet up tomorrow. I told him I thought we were staying with him and he said, “yeah, right. No worries, come on down.”

So we drove a few more hours then texted Scott that we were about two hours away and he said he was going to the movies but we could meet him at his house after that. Because we were tired and didn’t feel like sitting around doing nothing while he was at the movie, Marieke and I decided it would be easier on all of us for we stayed in a hostel in the city. Coming into Brisbane, we finally had nice roads with multiple lanes and a median.

However, we spent over an hour driving around, searching for our hostel! Even though we had a map, it was from the Lonely Planet Travel guide book and wasn’t that helpful. I think we asked five different people on the streets to help us find it, and at one point her car almost couldn’t make it up a steep hill and we almost rolled down into traffic. :/

Finally we found it, checked in and shared a room with an Irish-American guy and his Irish friend. It was funny talking to the Irish American guy because one minute he sounded completely American and then the next he sounded completely Irish. They were nice enough, but the room smelled like sweaty feet because they hadn’t done laundry in two weeks and had been wearing the same socks for a few days!! Ew.

I got to talk to Scott after his movie let out (apparently he thought we were coming a lot later that night?) and we made plans to meet up the next day to go to the Australian Zoo. Then Marieke and I passed out again.

Thursday, April 15, 2010- in which I sleep

The first day of our road trip I was exhausted. I had been up for over 24 hours working on my Public Relations Campaign paper and I still wasn’t finished at 7am that morning. We were planning on leaving by 9 am, so I gave up on my paper (deciding I would have to finish it on the road because my housemate Karolina offered to submit it for me while I was away) and walked home. I woke up Marieke who had also been working hard on her Bachelor thesis Wednesday night and only got 5 hours of sleep that night and we got ready to leave.

We left later expected because I still had to pack all my clothes for the trip and because we also needed to buy a cooler, some food and pick up Marieke’s laptop which she sent to the manufacturer to get fixed. I didn’t realize how expensive coolers are! We thought we could get a nice, big one for $20 bucks, but for the size we needed it was $45! So we ended up buying a big Styrofoam cooler which an Ozzie guy with a big beer gut and wearing a stained singlet recommended. I didn’t really want to buy it because Styrofoam is terrible for the environment, but it really was the only option we had if we wanted to buy a cooler.

Then to get Marieke’s laptop, we had to drive out past the airport to the industrial part of town—practically the middle of nowhere. The DHL shipping building was on the cross section of Dundee and Crocodile street and this really made me want to watch the movie “Crocodile Dundee.”

Then finally armed with her laptop at 11am we were able to hit the road, blasting some jams that I had made on break from writing my papers. Marieke was driving and surprisingly I was all jazzed up from being up for so long. I knew I would crash soon though, so I forced myself to sleep. Of course, once I was asleep, I was OUT. I felt bad though because Marieke ended up driving around 7 hours the first day because I was so tired. I ended up driving three hours in between, so Marieke drove 4 hours, I drove 3 hours and then she drove the remaining 3.

We spent the night in the Heritage Hotel in Rockhampton which was the halfway point from Townsville to Brisbane. It was a combination of a hotel and bar, so as it was a Thursday night, there were a lot of people drinking and having a good time. We were afraid it was going to be really loud, but it was so quiet upstairs.

Actually, Marieke and I lucked out because for a two person double room it only cost $38 dollars total, or $19 per person. It was a small room, but so nice! We had a TV, fridge, coffee mugs and water glasses, coffee, tea and sugar packets, an already filled water jug that was in the fridge, and a hot water heater. It felt like a luxury after the first hostel we stayed in Australia (Magnums in Airlie Beach) which cost $28 per person for the night in a 10 person dorm with only 1 shower and toilet and in which we had to pay $2 more for a pillow and sheet. We took quick showers in the shared female bathroom on our floor, watched a bit of a TV show then fell asleep.

10 hour drive

Just got back to Towsville after my long lecture recess break. It was awesome, will post more about it soon.

So tired from our ten hour drive from rockhampton to here. It wasn’t too bad with my friends Kristen and Marieke also driving Marieke’s car.

Still, I’m soooo tired. And I must wake up early tomorrow to go to class.