hello again. it's been forever. almost a week, yeah? seems like forever between now and then. funny to think how the time gets away.
So as most of you know, I'm done with the work part of the trip, which saddens me greatly. It has been my favorite part thus far. We've been moving around and seeing different parts of the east coast and learning tons and tons about Australia and its culture...it's actually REALLY fascinating. I'm obsessed with learning about the aboriginals here, such a neat thing. We also get to do some cool things along the way which i'll get to nowish.
Let's see...last Monday morning we arrived in Byron Bay. It is a surf town with lots of hippies and surfers, it's wonderful. It has one main street and our hostel was pretty cool, right on the beach. We got there Monday morning and I did a bit of walking around and got some lunch and took a nap on the beach. Then some of us went to a 2 hour surf lesson. We walked to the surf school, which this guy runs out of his house, and we all had to put on wet suits and take a drive down to the beach. I've never worn a wet suit before, it was a bit tight, and everyone was laughing at each other. Except everyone kept saying I pulled off the surfer look, I doubt that highly. So they taught us how to catch a wave while still laying with our tummy on the board, that wasn't too difficult, especially since they would give us a nice push before. The hardest part was paddling with your arms, and since i'm in the worst shape of my life i'm finding, I was having a tough time at first. But my body got used to it, after that they taught us how to stand so we got the last hour and a half to try getting up on the waves. I got the living crap beat out of me out there, as did everyone else, but it was a riot. SO MUCH FUN. I got up a few times. It was crazy. You may ask "well wasn't the water freezing because of it being winter", but I find here I don't notice the temperature of water or anything when i'm in the ocean on this side of the world. I'm just thinking about my keeping myself alive the next minute.
That night the guy who owns the surf school out of his house had a bbq for us all, 41 people stuffed into his backyard, but it was SO good. After that we walked back to the hostel and had a few drinks at the bar there. I didn't actually, I was exhausted and went to bed. As I seem to do a lot here :)
The next day was a free day. I live for the free days on this trip since we're constantly on the go. That day I went shopping. Spent lots and lots of money on souvenirs :) i'm so excited! Then I went ZORBING. I"m sure none of you know what that is but it's where you get in a huge rubber ball (imagine what you would put a hampster in) and you get strapped in and roll down a huge hill. It was hillarious. Yet very dodgey (sketchy in Australian slang). The guy drove us out to this cow pasture, no joke. He actually almost hit a cow while going only 4 miles an hour. We were a bit confused. Then we see this huge ball sitting at the top of this hill and these broken off seats that used to be on legs of a chair but they were just placed in the grass. So we sit down and watch as each one of us get pushed in this ball down the hill. It was a hillarious site. Especially since when you stop at the bottom, youre laying helplessly in the ball until the guy drives down to pick the ball up to bring it back to the top. So strange but fun nonetheless. That night there was a trivia night at the bar, so we took part in that. I thought we did pretty good but we ended up not winning, but another group from our ISV trip did...so go them :)
Wednesday we left for Fraser Island. The biggest sand island in the world. EVERYTHING is sand. They drive on the beach. It's craziness. It only has 54 permanent residents. It was awesome. We weren't allowed to swim in the ocean because it's a huge breeding place for tons of marine life, sharks especially. So no one goes in the ocean. We got there that evening and settled in to our rooms and the bar was right next to where our condos were conveniently so a bunch of us went there to watch a pool tournament. The next day was one of my favorites. We had a tour guide while on fraser so he took us around the beach. We first stopped off at what is called the Ocean Pools. Where there are rocks that form pools from where the ocean waves go over the rocks. It was really really neat, so we swam there and got to eat lunch. That day we also went to this place called Indian Head. We walked up this huge, huge cliff and got to sit up there for a couple of hours looking over the ocean, it was the prettiest site i've ever witnessed I decided. We also saw whales belly flopping and playing for about an hour. Saw a couple sting rays as well. No sharks though. I went off on my own and layed down over the cliff. It was a good time to take to myself. Sittin on top of the world with my legs hanging free. For those of you who don't know, my grandma died. So i'm having kind of a hard time keeping a smile in front of everyone 24/7 here because I hate the fact that i'm not home right now. So trying to balance making the most here and thinking about things back home is hard. (Keep my family in your prayers, espeically my dad...)
After that we walked back to the bus and on the way down we saw the biggest pool of fish...it was crazy, i've never seen anything like that. It was amazing. We then went to this place called Eli creek. Anotherplace to swim on the island which is nice because you can't swim in the ocean. It was so beautiful. IT was a little creek through a part of some rainforest (they have subrainforests on fraser). You could just float through, it was like a movie. After that they took us to these huge sand dunes. We walked about 200 meters up the steepest hill ever (made of sand so it was a thousand times harder) then we all just sprinted down. It was so fun/funny. I can't wait to put up pictures of that. My legs are still hurting from it.
That night we had a costume party, you had to think of costumes that started with the words I S or V. Me and MK were sleepy, and wore our PJs haha. A couple of girls were vegemite and they spread it all over their bodies and stuck crackers to it and the labels as well. Gross but hillarious. It was pretty funny.
The next day before we left Fraser we went to a lake on the island that started with a G i forget the name, but it was green and beautiful. It was at the bottom of a huge sanddune so of course we all sprinted down and dove in. After that we took a walk back to the bus and headed over to this rainforest. Definitely my favorite part so far. The most beautiful thing EVER. I can't even describe it. I got sort of scolded by everyone because me and MK hung back and decided to go swinging on vines and walking on huge logs and we took so long and held up the group but I couldn't help it...and i was just like "Guys, i'm in a rainforest...c'mon now" seriously though. It was great Haha there was a creek going through the whole forest with some of the freshest water in the world, walking through the water...coming up through my toes to my ankles to my head to my soul. :) name that song..i can't get enough of it right now. Um, after that...this is crazy...we went to this lake with a very low ph level and sand that is so fine and white. They took us there to bathe because we wouldn't get to shower for another day due to travel and time schedules and stuff. So the water was so so so clean, we washed our hair and teeth with this sand and it was like a super condition with this stuff. It was crazy how great it felt. I felt so cleansed afterwards. It makes me laugh thinking that I bathed in a lake like that but whatever it was great.
So we had a 15 hour bus ride and arrived in Arlee bEach yesterday morning. We ate some breakie and headed out to go ocean rafting. What it was, was this speed boat that they did all these twists and turns with and going over huge waves, you had to hold on for dear life. We went around to some of the whitsunday islands. We also went to an aboriginal cave which was really neat. After that they took us to do about an hour of snorkeling on a part of the great barrier reef. It was so pretty. Kind of scary cause i have some sort of fear of underwater things, even at the lake, but it was neat. I scratched my leg on the reef, So tht kind of hurts when I get in the water, stings. I hope it scars so I can look at it forever :). Then we got to lay on a beach for three hours and eat an amazing lunch. We were on the whitest sand in the world. It was so neat.
Last night we chilled out and I went to bed early cause i was exhausted. Today we drove to Cairns, just got here about an hour ago. This week we're going snorkeling/scuba diving, tomorrow we're going to an aboriginal thing and get to learn how to throw boomerangs and on my birthday (thursday) we're going white water rafting which is what i've been looking most forward to on this trip. so should be a good week.
everything is going really well other than what we've been doing. I've met some really cool people. I'm a bit homesick but it's easy to get off my mind with everything going on. I love the australian culture so much. We get to do everything barefoot, being barefoot is completely acceptable here..I LOVE IT. I have a couple of bruises though, nothing to complain about though. It's going to be bittersweet leaving here. :( well i need to go get ready for dinner. Much love to you all and i hope you are all okay, okay, okay.