Arrival in Wollongong

Trip Start Feb 05, 2006
Trip End Jun 20, 2006

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Friday, February 17, 2006

So, I have arrived in Wollongong. Well, I've actually been here for several days, but haven't really had time to do an update. So I've met both of my roommates (Hammond and Chris) and they're both really nice. The night I got in, Hammond took me shopping to get food + stuff. Then the next day, we went to a shopping center (our equivelent of a mall, but it's open-air, and has escalators on the inside parts. So then I got bedding, and most importantly a power adapter for my lappy. The next night we went into Sydney to the casino. I got to play some pokies (slot machines, prodominently poker based) and pontoon (a table game similar to blackjack). Lets just say I had fun, and I paid the casino for said fun.

Monday was orientation day, so we were shown all around the Uni. It's about 14,000 students (bigger than SVSU, but smaller than CMU) of which 4,000 are international students! So I got the tour, registered for classes, and got my student I.D. card. The main benefit w/ my I.D. is I get off transportation, mainly helping bus/train rates. Now it only costs $4.40 to go to Sydney (1 way). Tuesday I went exploring, I walked about 2-3km to Wollongong Centre and did some shopping. Since there are very few public clocks, I have now become a watch person! Also, I got some replacement sunglasses (uber cool). Then I took the bus back home, getting a tour of the area. I got some fish and chips, and chatted with Ray and Andre, some fellows I met on the bus. I love the aussie lifestyle, we must have chatted from 7pm till 10pm, about each of our countries, politics, aussie, etc. Ray is from Hong Kong, and Andre is from the phillipines. Not to mention the fish burger I had was top notch!

Yesterday I wrote out postcards, and then walked to Uni. I checked out the Botanical Gardens nearby (pics included) which rocked. Plenty of wildlife and sweet plants. Then I got to see the Chronicals of Narnia at UniMovies, the on-campus theatre. It was really cool, and very cheap ($4).

Today, I went into Uni to meet up with Keita, who was very very helpful, and showed me how to use the bus yesterday (since I've never really taken public transport before). She is a first year student, and missed orientation on Monday, so she wanted the tour of campus and such. I also met up with Maury, a fellow AustraLearn student, who happened to be hanging out on campus. So the three of us walked around campus for a bit, and chatted about our upcoming classes.

Keita then caught a bus back home, and Maury and I decided to wander around town for a bit. So we caught the bus into Wollongong Centre, and wandered the mall for a bit. Apparently they have a very good photo centre, so Maury dropped off her scuba diving pictures (which I'll eventually do as well). It only cost her $10 to have them put on CD within an hour. So we walked to the beach in the meantime. The beach is amazing, I took some pictures, which I'm sure would come out even better on a very bright and sunny day. I also got to see toothbrush and toothpaste island (also pictured), which was pretty cool.

On the way back, we got caught in a downpour, which was kinda random, because of the drought Sydney has been having for the last 2-3 years! So we got a couple of smoothies and waited the storm out (it lasted all of 45 minutes). By then it was about 5pm, so we made our way back.

That was about it for yesterday. Anyways, until next time...

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