Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 8: A place you’ve traveled to

When I was 16, I was invited to join People 2 People Student Ambassadors program. The basic gist of it was giving teenagers a chance to go foreign and learn other cultures. You had to pay for the trip yourself, but it was a chance of a lifetime. My brother, Roger had been invited two years in a row, but wasn't willing to earn the money for it. The invitations were done by referrals and recommendations by previous students and teacher involved with it. I went in July 2003 to Sydney, Australia, for a two week adventure. We flew into Sydney, toured the sites there for a couple of days, eating the local cuisine, which wasn't to far off from what we were used to. Toured the Sydney opera house, attempted wading at Bondi Beach(our summers are their winters) in the 40degree waters, did the Sydney Harbor Bridge climb, which is scary as all get out even if you don't have a fear of heights, which I do. After that, we went to Alice Springs. Did a night at a bush Camp, slept under the stars in the desert with negative temperatures(dropped from 63 degrees to -4), learned how to crack a whip properly and rode camels. Walked around Ayers Rock, we did not climb up out of respect for the Aborigine's religious beliefs. Also walked around Kata Tjuta, which is similar to Ayers Rock. Got to watch the sunset and sunrise on Ayers Rock, which was pretty, did the sunrise in a 25 man hot air balloon. I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant/hotel we stayed at the last night we were there in Alice Springs, I know it have it written down in the journal, but it was a do-it-yourself barbeque. They served crocodile, kangaroo, emu, barramundi, and a variety of other different things. P.S. Emu taste like sausage and kangaroo is similar to steak. It was pretty awesome. We got to ride camels in a dried up river bed of the actual Alice Springs. Got to learn how to thrown a boomerang. I sucked at it. Following that we traveled to Cairns. That is easily the prettiest place I have ever been too. The Hotel was named The Tuna Towers. Behind us were mountains, on the right sugar cane fields, to the left the Rainforest, and straight ahead the Pacific Ocean. It was gorgeous. During our time there we did a Home-stay with a family. I went to their school and then spent the night with them. There were three kids in our family. A girl our age and two younger ones in elementary school. The younger girl loved animals and even while living in a pretty suburban home, they had a goat, some chickens, a rabbit and a dog. The next day at their school was track and field day, so we were able to participate. I don't know if this was a normal thing, I would assume it was, but the kids were not required to wear shoes. I am serious. If you wanted to compete in the track and field stuff, you had to be bare foot. I am someone who doesn't really like wearing shoes, so I thought it was great, but then again it was their winter time and the coldest it got when we were there was 80 degrees. Wouldn't exactly work here in PA. The place was also the cleanest place I have ever seen, no trash anywhere, in the school or the town. We also went to do a tour in the rainforest and saw an Natural animal habitat where they had the largest captive crocodile there. Held a Koala and watched someone else get sneezed on by one. It was gross. Saw my first nude beach driving back from the rainforest to the hotel. We went to the Great Barrier Reefs and snorkeled in the corral. My friend, Val and I got mooned by some french guys while we were there. On the way back from the reef, a humpback whale swam right passed our boat. That was the last day we were there. Then there was the 16 hour flight back. Long plane trips are annoying, but we had such a great time it didn't seems soo long.

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