I Give Up

February 8, 2006 at 8:48 am (Uncategorized)

I have been trying to keep a travel journal for the better part of two weeks now, but I don’t think I’ve written in it for days. And before that I hadn’t written in it for days. However, I am on my computer all the time, so maybe this will keep me focused? We’ll see.

I am in Sydney. This is a city of pure trickery. You think you know what you want or what you’re getting, but you don’t. For example, I picked Australia because they speak English here. Unfortunately, they speak a dialect, and while that sounds extreme there is a major communication barrier. Today at my internship this guy came up and started talking to me, but there was also a jackhammer going in the background and the combination of the accent and the noise made it impossible to understand him. This also rolls over into ordering food. While grabbing a burger I managed to remember to ask them to hold the onions, however I could not have known to ask them to hold the beets.

This stuff could be frustrating, but I’ve been pretty laid back still. I’m constantly trying to figure out whether culture shock has hit me yet. Sure I have moments of pure astonishment, but it never really makes me upset. I tried the beet on the burger (eh) and I’m starting to pick up some of the vocabulary.

The city itself is beautiful. I live 50 yards down the street from the prime minister’s house, and if you turn the corner and walk a little further you can see the Sydney Opera House. Another lesser known landmark, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, touches the shore right near my lodge and there’s a little park underneath it where all the kids from my program went to drink one night (clearly what it was built for). It’s been somewhere between 70-90 degrees every day and not too humid. I haven’t been to the beach yet, but I think I’ll be braving it this weekend.

I think I am going to like both of my classes. I have an Art History class and an Anthropology class. Both just deal with each of these subjects within an Australian context, which is all new information to me. Fact for the day: the first group of colonists arrived on the continent in 1788. It doesn’t seem like that long ago from an American perspective, but since I’m working with a lot of the historical stuff here I get to see first hand how important all of the ‘heritage’ artifacts/buildings are.

Speaking of my internship, it’s awesome! I’m working for the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. They are responsible for all of the heritage buildings, and most of the coast around the shore. My office is located in The Rocks, which is what the old-towny part of the city is called. I take the ferry to and from work most days, just a gorgeous five minute ride across the harbour, right between the bridge and the opera house. I also eat lunch sitting right on the harbour. Actual work . . . I spent most of today photo copying and running around on various errands. One of those errands was to go around town to photograph old buildings from the same perspective as some photos taken in the 70’s and 80’s so that they can be used in a power point presentation. The company is having an expo in about a week where each department showcases what they do and they are going to use the photos for that. Tomorrow I am going to my office to start drafting a letter to Lonely Planet about the new museum that just opened, called ‘The Rocks Discovery Museum’.

As for fun, last weekend we went on a pub crawl. It lasted 6 hours, 5 bars, and 7 drinks (for me at least). It was a fun time, but I felt like a moron not knowing what to do in a bar. I’ve also been to the Royal Botanical Gardens, which is unbelievable. Since Australia was cut off from the rest of the world for hundreds of thousands of years, they not only have strange species of animals (kangaroos, koalas, kookaburras) but a lot of strange flowers too. Eventually I will get around to the Aquarium and Zoo. This weekend we are going on a day trip up to the Blue Mountains to see Australia’s grand canyon and part of the ‘bush’.

Well, that seems like all of the catching up there is to do. I was at the office from 9-5 today, so I’m going to go kick off my shoes, light up a cigar and read the paper.

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1 Comment

  1. Peter Axtman said,

    Was the pub crawl on a thursday??

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