Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A couple more tidbits

First, here's a picture of the rock archway I stitched together. Hopefully this will give you some idea of the scale of this sucker. We walked across that top part, then onto the wooden stairs which took us around and underneath.

Second, I forgot to mention that a baby seal running is probably the cutest thing ever. Sadly, my ineptitude with the video function on my camera resulted in me capturing only one tiny clip, found here. Still, awwwww! Adorable.

Edit: Gawww!


For those of you that care, it looks like I will indeed be playing frisbee here in Adelaide. I went to a hat tournament this past Sunday, which was a lot of fun. The theme was heroes and villains, so each team was supplied colored bibs and matching capes. These guys sure know how to run a hat tournament. My team ended up coming in second place (out of six), and I got invited to play for two different clubs for the semester, so I must have been doing something right. It was kind of cool to actually be in demand for once. I'm thinking I'm probably going to play with the Adelaide club team, so expect to hear more when we compete in the South Australian University Games later in the fall (September, I think).

Oh, and I almost converted a handblock on the guy I was marking into a layout callahan, which would have been the coolest thing I've ever done. Sadly, I was about three inches short.

Monday, July 24, 2006

KI Pictures

Here they are!

You can read the post below for some background, or just jump right into the pictures. Doesn't matter. Most of these are from the KI trip, with a few tacked on to the end from a daytrip we took to Victor Harbor, another tourist destination, later in the week.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

First Post and Kangaroo Island

I started this sucker up as a way to keep everyone updated on my travels in Australia. Originally, I was just going to send out massive emails, but this seems like a better solution all around. Anyways, on to the interesting stuff.

After something like 20 hours in planes and airports, I finally arrived in Adelaide last Friday. The next day we left for a trip organized by IES, the program that coordinates our study abroad deal. We went to Kangaroo Island, an island south of the mainland. Since it's separated by a sizeable (and choppy, as we learned on the ferry) body of water, KI has been spared many of the environmental disasters that have befallen the rest of Australia from imported animals overrunning native species. It's spotted with sites of ecological interest, and is reasonably popular among Australians as a vacation spot.

Our host for the trip was Don, a long-time resident who has converted part of his farm into accomodations, and runs a tour company for groups like us. He took us all over the island, and was remarkably knowledgeable about all areas of island affairs. He made a strong first impression when he met us coming off the ferry and proceeded to tell us a lengthy story, in a thick Aussie accent, about how he had found a young bat sleeping in the pocket of his coat, and then pulled the bat out of his pocket to show to us. Apparently he had been carrying it around all morning in his pocket. And then as he was showing it to us, the bat flew out of his hand and started flapping around the bus (he recaptured it, but it later crawled out of his pocket at the KI Vistor Center and flew up to a rafter, so he had to leave it there).

Some of the highlights of the trip included:
  • A visit to the only remaining human-accessible refuge for Australian sea lions, and another visit to a giant rock arch that sheltered fur seals in the shallows around it. I took a lot of pictures. I mean a lot. Trust me, I'm sparing you the bulk of them.
  • A barbeque at Don's ranch, where he cooked us, among other things, kangaroo meat (quite tasty).
  • A caving trip that had us climbing down cliffs and wriggling through tiny passageways on our stomachs. Besides a lot of really nice mineral formations, we also got to see piles of bones from animals that had fallen into the caves and been unable to escape, including the femur of a now-extinct species of emu found only on KI. Sadly, there's no pictures from this outing.
  • Lots of gorgeous views of the ocean and coastlines. I took a lot of these pictures too.
  • An animal refuge, which takes in injured animals and nurses them back to health. Sort of half zoo, half nature park. Highlights included hugging a koala, petting kangaroos, and a bird that not only said "Hello" when we walked up, but said it with an Australian accent.
  • Lots of local color and stories from Don as he drove us around.
After the trip we returned to Adelaide, happy but ready for a good shower. We spent the rest of the week doing activities and seminars run by the international student orientation, learning our way around the city, meeting new people, and generally acclimating to Australian life.

Classes are starting this week. Not much to report there since I haven't been to most of them yet, but I can give you my class list: Software Design, Australian History, Introductory Linguistics, and Film Studies.