Thursday, October 4, 2007

under down under

so this is it. i aim to finish telling you EVERYTHING i did on mid semester take some time. or go and come back. whatever your choice...but here we go.

so i left off with Monday night. so once we got back to hobart, we checked into our crappy/dodgy hostel (it was ok though because the four roomed together) and then headed off with the majority of team IES to get some dinner. we went to this cute Japanese restaurant which was quite good. that night is when my life got turned upside down though. we were at the end of little miss sunshine (good movie, yess i know), when i got a phone call from sharice telling me if i had talked to that night. i said yes, i had because talked to them maybe a couple of hours earlier. then she proceeded to tell me that my grandma had passed the night before. that rocked my world. i really am not going to go much further with this because for those of you who know me, know that i am very close to my grandma. so yea. but that changed my spring break because i ended up having to go back to the states...which i will get to eventually.

tuesday: we went white water rafting which was awesome...the river rapids weren't that intense but our guides were awesome (especially woody who was in our boat) and it was especially fun because "the 6" was in a boat together. so we tacked the rapids and eventually as we were making our way down to the river it just ends up being boat battles with people jumping from boat to boat trying to get people to fall in the river (it was very shallow). we had one official boat race and of course the 6 won. thats right, the girls kicked butt. per usual. but yes, that was a great way to get my mind off of things and just enjoy the day. we then headed off to the airwalk which was a 2 hour bus ride away but everyone passed out so it was good. then when we got to the airwalk, we had this MASSIVE bbq lunch awaiting us with my favorite aussie sausages and tons of delicious food. pleasant surprise. but it was awesome and then we went on this airwalk (walking among the tall trees) and it was beautiful. like the rest of australia. but it was great. we then headed back to hobart for dinner and such and had a low key night before going to bed.

wednesday: FREE DAY! woo hoo! 5 of us girls decided to go to the spa for the day which was awesome! it was only 20 dollars for a 3 hour spa treatment of sorts which was great. funny story. so for some reason (because i guess its like this in the states), we assumed that you go to those in your birthday suits. so, change our clothes, put on robes and on our way out the door we see the sign that says "Bathers must be worn". OOPS. lucky for us, we saw the sign because if we hadn't that would have just been a little embarrasing. a little. so we send kristen running back to the hostel to pick up all of our bathing suits and then we proceed to enjoy our spa day. close call. very close call. we walked around the city for the rest of the day before grabbing lunch at subway and going to the telegraph hotel that night. the telegraph was a pretty sweet bar which had a special that night which at 5, jugs were $5 and 6, jugs were $6 and so on and so on. the whole IES crew was there so it was definitely a fun night and we found where all of hobart was hiding out! sweet.

thursday: best day ever. it was definitely a save the best for last kinda day. so that morning we set off in our bus up to mount wellington, the highest point in tasmania. a whopping 4000 ft. it was pretty unbelievable. the view was magnificent and then we hopped on our bikes with our cool tour guides and got ready to ride down the mountain. UNBELIEVABLE. nothing but the wind in your face and i was going...i don't even know how fast but it was definitely pretty fast with nothing but me and the mountain. it was such an amazing rush and i loved every minute of it. we were on the roads with a few pit stops along the way until we started going on our off road ride. that was insaneee. it was awesome and i didn't fall but lots of people in our group because it was crazy steep and sooo many rocks and gravel and such. it definitely felt like you didn't have control of the bike at points but i felt pretty extreme doing it. it was crazy because we ended up all the way down by salamanca markets (where we were the first day) and all we could do was look all the way back up and not even believe that we just biked down it. awesome.

it only got better. thursday afternoon we headed to the cadbury factory which was honestly one of the highlights of the trip before we even left melbourne. although the tour could have been better, the factory was awesome and it was definitely chocolate mania. as soon as you walked in, you tons of free little chocolates and then the the cadbury store was AWESOME. soo much cabdury and so cheap= the best thing ever. so it was also nicely planned because i was able to bring my chocolate back with me to the states the following day to share with my family one of the many joys of australia.

that night we had our final IES dinner of the trip which was delicious and sad all at the same time. sad because this awesome trip was over but we went to this delicious Indian restaurant called Saffron that was on the river and it was delicious. i love indian food so it was definitely a fantastic final dinner. after stuffing ourselves, the 6 decided we would take a night stroll to walk off some of our food and just enjoy our time together before we all departed ways for the next week of holiday. it was definitely a great idea and a good ending to a great trip.

friday: time to go. so i was flying from hobart to sydney, from sydney to san francisco, from san fran to st. louis and st. louis to columbus. boy. sounds like a trip. well it was. it was nice because my flight didn't leave that much longer after the rest of team IES made their way back to i didn't have a lot of time to get sad or bored in the airport. flying overall...although long was fine. the issues however arose when coming to my bags. this is going to be fun.

so i get into san francisco, make my way through customs which fine (i had a really nice customs officer who even knew what tim tams were!), and then go on to baggage claim. i get to baggage claim and I had about 2 hours before my flight from SF left for St. i'm waiting and waiting and waiting for my bag. it takes a long time for them to get all the bags off of the flight because the flights are so after about 45 minutes, an hour they are finally done getting all of the bags out but wait, no bag for karri. sweet. so i go to baggage claim, put in my baggage request...qantas didn't even give me any money because i am an american citizen! yes. it sucked. so they said my bag would come to columbus the following day. fine. thats alright. so the next day was the funeral (very good, my family is amazing and it was good to see EVERYONE) but they were supposed to call when it got in. saturday rolled bag. sunday rolled around, no bag. we keep and keep calling and no one is really able to tell me anything. so monday, my mom had to drop some fam off at the airport...and so she goes down to baggage claim to see if my bag is there. and guess what, it was. sitting there since saturday because the idiots at qantas never told the american baggage claim who to bill the delivery of my bag to. so they never delivered it. ahh. awful. lucky for me...because i was heading back to melbourne the following day. so i got my bag just in the nick of time.
going back to australia: so seeing the family was great for a couple of day but i was definitely ready to get back to the australia. so i left around mid day from columbus to chicago to san fran to LA (stupid american airlines) to sydney to brisbane because i was planning to meet back up with monica and alycia and make our way to the reef. so the agent at american was very nice and she checked my bag all the way through to brisbane. so i make it from columbus to chicago fine and all and everything is dandy until the time comes around for boarding. not boarding yet because their is a thunderstorm and the plane that we're supposed to be getting on can't come in yet. so the plane finally gets in (delayed), and then the electricity goes out on the plane (before we got on), so we have to wait for another plane. more delays. i started getting a little worried because we were starting to push it close to when i was supposed to be leaving san fran for LA. so we finally get out and get into san fran but i was too late. this sucks. i go to the american airlines agent and there is no more flights going out to LA before the flight from LA leaves for sydney. BOOO. this is when i almost cried because i realized that my plans for the reef and vaca were starting to go down the drain. so i ask them what is going on with my bag and so the agent put in a request that they put my bag up so i can go get it at baggage claim before i got to the hotel. so i get my food vouchers, and go down to baggage claim...and guess what. no bag. surprise surprise. they said that my bag should be coming in on the next flight from chicago and they would bring it to the hotel. alright. solid. so i head off to the crowne plaza (very very nice) and wait for my bag. nothing. no bag all night long. so the next day when i make my way back to the airport for my flight, i go down to baggage services first to see what happened. they said that most likely my bag went onto brisbane without me because it is not showing up in the system. so i said alright. so my flight to LA was fine and i go and check with the qantas agent and they same thing. alright so fast forward to brisbane. i get into brisbane and go straight to baggage services, and of course my bag isn't there. i put my claim in (they gave me $100 this time..woo hoo), and make my way down to southport and surfers paradise for the evening. i had decided to go on a two day fraser coast tour from saturday to sunday because i really wanted to see it and i thought it was about time for me to do some true travelling on my own. i get to southport, head the hostel that i was staying at dropped my bags off and went to get some clothes ( i had NONE). southport and surfers was amazing. i met some really cool people at my hostel that night and took a nice trip to the surfers beach with them that night. solid times. everyone here is honestly soooo nice and not sketch and it was just a really cool evening. i had to be up super early the next day to make my way to the pick up spot for my trip. so i'm there and get picked up and get really excited for my trip. we eventually get back to brisbane and head off to fraser island.

this is saturday if everyone is a little confused. so it takes us about 3.5 hours total to get to fraser island (the largest sand island in the world), and it was amazing. before we got to frasers, we stopped at rainbow beach which was beautiful. i'm just so convinced that the pacific is definitely prettier from this side. so onto fraser island. i'm going to try and keep this pretty succinct. NOT.

so fraser island not only doesn't have any paved roads but it also is only accessible by barge. on fraser island, you take the barge over with your four wheel drive vehicle. its pretty insane. the barge was really cool and i have never been on anything like it. so as soon as we get on the island oh boy. oh boy. so the sand was supposedly really soft that day which made it extra bumpy...crazy. what a ride. so we rode on the sand (which is the only way to ride) on 75 mile beach which was unbelievable. we obviously didn't ride the whole 75 miles but i'll say we covered at least 40 of it. but just imagine a beach that just stretches and stretches and stretches. and the ocean is unbelievable. the water is sooo blue. its not carribean clear just the most unbelievable blue that you will ever see. and the sand is so soft. ahh. it was pretty much paradise. fraser island is so reknown and unique because not only is the worlds largest sand island but it is also the only place in the world where the rain forest grows out of the sand. yes, the rainforest. so on saturday we stopped at eli creek (this cool spot where a creek from inside the rainforest of the mountain leads out to the ocean which was pretty sweet. we also saw the colored sands which is also known as the pinnacles which almost look like a mountain of solid different color sands. crazy beautiful. we also took a very bumpy ride into the rainforest to one of the many lakes on the island (this island is pretty HUGE by the way) and saw little snapping turtles! soo cool! and let me tell you about the lakes on the island. just like the ocean...all the lakes, streems and rivers are crystal clear. you can see to the bottom of everything. i have never seen anything like it before. ahh paradise. oh, and the drives into the rainforest are definitely the most insane ones. its probably 30-40 minutes of your life that you honestly think your stomach is going to literally come out of your throat. but it was still awesome and definitely worth the small uncomfort. we also visited the maheno shipwreck which is honestly a old rusted ship that crashed into the island and has just deteriorated on the island. it was soo sweet. you'll have to check out the pictures to understand how cool it was.

that night we checked into the resort, had dinner and then watched the moon rise. sooo cool. i had never seen the moon rise from the ocean before and it was just unbelievable. not only how it turns from red to white but just everything. ahh so cool. then we headed to the beach bar at the resort where everyone was hanging out (all the people from various tours and such) and then karaoke started. that was actually a really fun time. i made friends with three other people on my tour...vanessa from hong kong who went to UVA and now is a consultant and nick and patty two cool irish guys. so i pretty much hung out with them on sunday. but yeah, the beach bar karaoke was a lot of fun. i actually sang "summer of 69" and it was all in all a good day and good night. oh, and i saw the most beautiful boy/guy i have ever seen in my ENTIRE life. he should've been walking down a runway in italy compared to being a crew for a tour company. but yeah. thats beside the point.

on sunday we had a couple of more stops before heading back to brisbane. we went into the rainforest and went to central station which we just learned a lot about the history of the island and such. we then went to this gorgeous creek where the water is pretty much drinkable because you can see to the bottom. you can't even see the water sometimes because its so clear. another interesting fact about fraser island is that they produce their own water from random streams from all over the island. oh, and i got bit by soooo many bugs in the rainforest. minor detail. we then headed to lake birabeen which was gorgeous (check out pictures later), and that was awesome. we went swimming in the lake...the most popular lake is lake mckenzie but birabeen is known to be better because its the same thing without all of the people in 3 times the space. so that was definitely a great way to end the fraser island adventure.

we made our way back to brisbane via the barge, via rainbow beach. we stopped at rainbow beach for lunch and had a delicious t-bone steak with chips( fries) and a salad all for $ 11...which was also overlooking the beach and the ocean. sweet life. we then hopped back on the bus and made another stop in matilda where our bus broke down. but i was hanging out inside talking on the phone when ALYCIA sits down next to me. and then monica! it was great seeing them because it had been almost two weeks since i had seen any members of the 6 and i missed them a lot and i mean...a rest stop in matilda? i'll take it. eventually i made it back to brisbane (still with no bag), and then they were supposed to deliver my bag that night to the hostel but of course it never came and i was leaving at 6 am back to melbourne on monday. monday i made it back to melbourne and started to stress out about my paper and chem assignment that i had due that i hadn't started yet. i got both of them handed in on time which was solid which has now finally allowed me time to write in this blog. oh and about my bag. i got it on monday night back in melbourne...thank god. but i got it and at that point...that was all that matters.

this week hasn't really been that exciting. its been great being back with the crew and the girls but i've been locked in the library finishing my work which is now thankfully done! oh and yeah, my mom, bishop and yvette got into australia on wednesday. they've been in brisbane and i am meeting them tomorrow (friday) in sydney for the weekend before heading back to melbourne. so. now i am done. and i will be now more frequently writing. it probably wont be until monday... but i will be back! cheers!

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