Week One- Official Duties

Trip Start Feb 07, 2008
Trip End Jun 22, 2008

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Flag of Australia  ,
Monday, February 11, 2008

Well, I have somewhat gotten over my shock at being in Australia and have begun my RA duties (which I have one week to complete). I'm scrambling to figure out how the city works so that I can assist dazed and confused residents when they get here this weekend, although jet lag has been a real bugger and has me eating meals at weird times and waking up at 6am. The good news is I can go running in the morning before it gets hot out. There's an awesome jogging trail that follows the ocean. People are always out walking, biking and swimming early in the morning- Aussies are pretty active people.

If America and Europe are two opposite extremes of a scale (in terms of culture, etc.), Australia is pretty much in the middle. Some aspects of the culture are very American- people drive bigger cars, are extremely eco-conscious, watch major American TV shows and have bigger houses than Europeans. But, because of their strong connection to Britian, they use a lot of the same slang words ("chemist" for pharmacy, "bloke" for manly man, "wanker" for jerks, etc.) and have the same habits (like drinking lots of tea and following football "soccer" clubs). Until not very long ago, being Australian was kind-of degrading and the elite tried to retain British identities. Nowadays, the Australians have embraced their own identity to match their way of life out here in this remote part of the world (but they still have a London correspondent on all their news shows to keep up with the banter on the Queen's island).

If I were to describe Freo (Fremantle) in any way, it would be New Orleans meets Italy meets Australian outback. This city is so colorful and unique, with lots of independent shops and eateries that spill out onto the sidewalk. There is a swanky area of town called the Cappuccino Strip (Cap strip for short) where the best restaurants, coffee shops and gelato is. The nicest part of my day yesterday was sitting out in an open cafe drinking a Vienntian coffee and munching on a muffin while reading the newspaper. Those moments will have to be limited, though- food is EXPENSIVE ($7 Australian for that meal...whoa). There's a fantastic open air produce market where I buy all of my fruits and vegetables for cheap- farm fresh and organic, too! It's funny which things cost a lot and which do not- mangos are 4 for $5 around here, but strawberries can be $20 a kilo (that's $10 a pound!!). Since we're so close to Thailiand, I can get fabulous Thai ingredients so SUPER cheap as well...made phad thai last night for dinner :) I haven't tried Vegemite yet but I have to go to the store today and I think I might pick some up...I also intend to foregoe my vegetarianism temporarily to try kangaroo (they sell it in fillets at the store. It looks like a cross between pork and beef.)

Today is a whopping 37 degrees C (yep, thats 100 degrees F. Yikes.) I've got to run out and do some errands around University of Notre Dame to get ready for the other residents. Love to you all and more soon!
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jilliangwen on

what are you talking about kendra, your photos are amazing!! look at that beach! i don't know how anyone is supposed to get anything academically productive done in a town like that...

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