Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Things that are different about Australia

1. Funny accent.
2. Metric system.
3. Drive on wrong side of the road.
4. Everything is expensive.

Other than those things, Australia is remarkably similar to the US. Jake's wedding went great. It was the most uncomfortable day of my life, however, because the place we bought suits from didn't have anything in my size. That extra month I spent stewing in my mother makes life difficult sometimes. We bought our suits(not tuxes) rather than renting because the difference in cost was negligible. We thought it would be $100 at first(since the $US is worth more) but it ended up being like $250. I was mega pissed at having to buy a suit that didn't even fit, but I took it back and they're trying to alter it to the proper size now. We'll see how that goes.

Things have gone smoothly here, we spent the past few days doing touristy things. We went to a sweet beach called Surfer's Paradise for the day, and saw some neato weird-shaped mountains on the way back. The next day we went to the Australia Zoo, which is fairly large and has some neat animals. We saw koalas, wombats, and kangaroos and such. I fed several kangaroos- they're quite lazy from being fed by tourists all the time, though, they just lie on the ground propped up on one elbow while tourists walk up and hold food right under their mouths. Neat, nonetheless. Pictures.

Ian, the kangaroo, and I. Note the kangaroo's casual nature. I don't think I saw a combined 20 kangaroo hops.
I thought a kangaroo with a nalgene bottle would be a funny picture. Some middle-aged guys not too far away thought it was a beer bottle(must be a forty) and started laughing about the 'boozing kangaroo' on a bender. Pretty funny. Next time I go to the zoo I'm going to have to remember to bring funny items to pose the animals with- hats, a gameboy, assualt weapons... these could all make for hilarious pictures.

A wombat. They had them out for walks on leashes. They're neat. I woudln't mind a wombat for a pet. They weren't very good with names, though- the zoo named this one 'minibus'. I don't get it.
A tiger. I was annoyed that they were all completely behind glass- it made it hard to take a decent picture. I wish they'd had some bars I could peek over or something. They couldn't have been that vicious, the handlers were just sitting in there doing crossword puzzles or whatever tiger handlers do when not taming them with chairs and bullwhips.
A koala. They apparently just sit around in trees all day, doing nothing. I don't think they'd ever even have to leave their tree if the leaves held out, and it rained well. They just lounge in the crook of a branch and scratch themselves; occasionally reaching for a leaf. Ian remarked that they look like little old men. It's true- gray hair, sitting around doing nothing all day.

I took about 300 pictures(in true tourist fashion). Once I get to Handong(and presumably, high bandwidth) I'll upload them all to facebook or flickr or something. I've got a good 600 Alaska pictures that need to go up too.. dang, I should get my domain name going again.

That's the zoo. And yesterday, Ian and my newfound inlaw Mike and (his girlfriend?) Estrelle went up to "Noosa" and did various things. We stopped at a beach on the way up, punched around an Aussie-rules football and swam. Some more of my newfound inlaws were staying in a resort near Noosa and we tarried there for the lunch hour. There was a pool and jacuzzi. I realized while in the jacuzzi that I had my wallet in my pocket. Ooops! I had been through the ocean, out, drove for an hour, and started swimming again before I realized that my wallet was wet. It dried out quickly thanks to the hot, unfiltered Australian sunshine. Australian money is plastic, too- no trouble drying that out. I did have a check in there, though. It made it alright.

Today is more or less a slack day, I leave tonight at midnight from Brisbane. I'll arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 6AM, and be laid over until 1:00AM the next day. 19 hours of layover! Then I'll arrive in Korea around 10:00AM, and have four days in which to explore Korea before I need to be at Handong. I have no plans whatsoever, and I don't speak Korean. Brilliant! Korea is more civil than the US, I don't think I'll be kidnapped by pirates or anything like that. It will be an adventure, the kind that would make my mom worry. Those are the most fun.

I'll plan to arrive at HGU on the 22 or August or earlier, if exploring Korea isn't as fun as it sounds. I may actually go to HGU, check in, then go exploring, as exploring with 100lbs of luggage may not be as fun as it sounds.

Anyway, that's the plan. Please pray that everything will go smoothly and that I won't have any language-based difficulties. This will be my first time traveling to a non-English speaking country.