Royal Botanic Gardens

Trip Start Feb 11, 2007
Trip End ??? ??, 2008

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

Hello everyone.  I hope all is well.  I am officially finished with my first semester here at the University of Melbourne.  Hooray!  I feel good about my final essays and am ready for a little break.  A well deserved break, I might add...
To celebrate victory, I met up with a few classmates last night for dinner at the (in)famous Shanghai  Dumpling House down in Chinatown, then went out for a few drinks. 
I slept in this morning and awoke to sunny skies.  As I breathed the crisp autumn air, I sensed a renewed vigour and decided to take my trusty bike for a spin.  Today, it was to be the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Gardens was founded in 1846 and covers 36 hectares off the south bank of the Yarra River.  Charles La Trobe selected the site for the Gardens from marshland and swamp off the river.  The Yarra was actually redirected in the 1890s top help control flooding.  There are over 36,000 individual plants, representing 10,000 species from around the globe, including camellias, cacti, rainforest flora, roses and herbs (my favourite was the Arid Garden).  It really is a great place.  The Gardens is only one part of King's Domain, which contains Alexandra Gardens, Queen Victoria Gardens, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Government House Reserve (home of the Governors of Victoria), the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and the Shrine of Remembrance.  I have now been to the Shrine of remembrance and the Royal Botanic Gardens.  I am looking forward to the chance to see the rest.
Last Saturday, several of the Ambassadorial Scholars were invited to a dinner with Bill Boyd, President of Rotary International.  It was a lovely evening.  I was able to see many of the other Rotarians I have met over the past few months and was able to hear Bill talk about some of his experiences travelling around the world.  I also met some Rotarians from New Zealand, so I may have to plan a trip out there sometime.
I also had the opportunity to speak at the Rotary Club of Prahran on Monday.  The Rotary Club of Prahran is located about 4km outside of the city centre and consists of about 30 Rotarians.  The club has been involved with establishing the Rotary Bone Marrow Research Centre and raising money for hospital and schools.
I hope to do a quite a bit of exploring over the next 10 days.  There is still a ridiculous amount to see in thus city, and as my first semester is already over, it seems as if time has been moving pretty fast. 
I have about five weeks off in between semesters and have decided to head off to Southeast Asia for a little backpacking excursion.  I fly into Singapore on the 19th of June and will fly back to Australia on the 19th of July.  I always wanted to see Western Australia, so I gave my self a few days in Perth.  I will be back in Melbourne late on the 21st, just in time to start semester two.
I haven't made any major plans as of yet, but I will be reading up on the area this next week and should have a basic itinerary (flexible, of course) by my next post. 
Well, I am going to head back outside to enjoy the weather!
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