Sunday, September 19, 2010

The End

I wrote this blog as a journal, and I really hope it can be a resource as well. I know there's very little information about Guiyang online, and especially somewhat current stuff.

Next for me? I'm moving back home to Arizona, at least for now, to try and find a job and save up money. Who knows what's next after that, but travel will definitely be involved.

Sydney Photos

Brisbane and Sydney Photos

A few more photos

Sept 13th-16th: Sydney

Monday 13th- Sydney

I took the train back to the city Monday morning, where my friend Nicola met me. She's yet another camp friend who in fact had just arrived back from America that morning. She lives in Newtown, which is near her uni, with roommates. We toured the University of Sydney, which has a really nice traditional looking sort of campus. Perhaps we should have toured around more but I think we both enjoyed taking a break by watching Community and eating a block of Cadbury chocolate.

Tuesday 14th Sydney

Tuesday we walked around Newtown looking for a job for Nicola (good practice for what I'll be doing soon). Newtown is kind of a funky hipster type place- I like it. We met up with Nicola's friend and had Thai food for lunch. There's lots of Asian food around Newtown. It was really good. It was pouring rain and we went to her friend's house, hung out and ate dinner, and then went to see Going the Distance (at the discounted price of $11). The movie was much better than I expected. Not that I knew too much about it. I've been so out of what's new in movies and music and I've been trying to catch up in Australia, though they get everything later than America as well.

Wednesday 15th Sydney
Nicola and I took some nice Sydney Opera House photos and ate some coffee and cupcakes in the city. In the evening we went to pub trivia, a favorite activity of several of my Aussie friends.

Thursday 16th Sydney
Nicola and I had our coffee and cupcakes again and walked down Oxford Street, which is where they celebrate Mardi Gras- it's the “gay” area of the city. We had to try the kangaroo we bought for lunch so we cooked our kebabs. It's a game meat apparently so you aren't supposed to cook it over medium rare. It's supposed to be really healthy because there's little fat. We had a taste. It was alright but probably would have been better with more flavors or as a burger rather than plain. For lunch we really had pies, since apparently I had to try a pie before I left Australia. It was really delicious. And by pie I mean with meat or veggies inside. And then we basically just watched Community and hung out until I left.

I was definitely sad to leave Australia. I took the train to the airport and had a pretty easy ordeal to get on my plane. I flew with V Australia from Sydney to LA. It was pretty good. The food was pretty nice and the entertainment was great. You get your own touch screen monitor with lots of movies, both new and old, TV shows, entire albums of new music, and radio. I enjoyed it. The flight itself ended up being less than 13 hours which was fantastic.

Saturday-Sunday 11th- 12th Blue Mountains

I checked out of my hostel on Saturday and headed to the train station to catch a train to the Blue Mountains, where my camp friend Kristie lives. It was pretty far outside the city (a couple hours train ride) and immediately cooler in Katoomba where Kristie picked me up. We went to see the “Grand Canyon of Australia,” and the famous 3 Sisters (mountains? Big rocks?). We got some really nice views of the mountains, which by the way look blue because of the eucalyptus trees (see Kristie you totally taught me something!).

I stayed at Kristie's house and then the next day she drove us to Woolongong. After my city views of Australia this was more of a country drive. Woolongong is another gorgeous beach area with several beautiful beaches, and we got a sunny day to enjoy them. Then I tagged along to her nephew's birthday party before we did a long drive home in the dark.

Sept 9th-10th: Sydney

Thursday the 9th in Sydney

I slept in a bit and then decided to take the ferry to Manly, which was recommended to me by several people. So I walked back up to Circular Quay and caught the ferry. It's about a thirty minute ride with a nice view of the Opera House and the city. It was kind of cold and windy but I still braved it sitting outside to make the most.

Manly seems like a cool little place. It kind of has a village-y beach town feel. I walked over to the lovely beach. Sadly it was another cloudy and rainy Australian beach day for me. Still nice- clear water and white sand, once again. I walked around to Shelly Beach, and on my way back from that walk a man saw my sweatshirt and said, “Hey! You went to Bryn Mawr? That's a good school!”

Turns out he's from Pittsburgh and travels around doing a language exchange and lessons for free. It's always exciting when someone actually knows Bryn Mawr.

Friday 10th Sydney

On Friday I decided to go see the famous Bondi Beach. I went with an Australian guy I met at the hostel and we headed out on an adventure to find the proper bus to the beach. Eventually we made it and it was smaller than I expected but quite nice. And the sun finally came out! I think it might have been a bit cold for a swim, although there were the ever-present surfers. We just lied on the beach and watched the clouds fly by. It was surprisingly peaceful. Apparently it gets quite crowded in the summer.

Then we went for a hike over the rocks by the cliff and got some gorgeous views of the beach and the water. Australian beaches are really amazingly beautiful. At least on par with some of the Bali beaches I visited.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sydney, Australia

Fun Fact: In Australia they pronounce Megan like this: Mee-gan. weird eh?

I left Brisbane and arrived in Sydney last night. I took the train and pretty easily found my hostel. I basically just went to sleep last night.

This morning and into the afternoon I've just been walking around Sydney. It's the biggest city I've been to on this trip (Hong Kong's big but I know my way around) so I'm still finding my way around. It's a beautiful sunny day, though cooler than Brisbane, and I walked to Darling Harbour, The Rocks, Circular Quay, and around the park kind of in a circle back to the city and towards my hostel. Firstly Australians are really into exercise. I guess when you have beautiful weather and scenery it's nice to go running outside but man. They are all way too fit and it's making me feel bad.

It was a really nice walk with lots of nice views of the Opera House. There was a random Maori show by New Zealanders which had something to do with rugby apparently, and an Aboriginal group with a didgeridoo.

Tip for backpackers: For some reason MacDonald's in Australia has free wi-fi. It's awesome. Usually I wouldn't hang around MacDonald's too much but it's better than paying $1/15 minutes at the hostel. I can linger here over a coffee and also catch up on my pop music since I don't know any of the new songs that are out these days.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Brisbane has been really fun. Mostly I've followed Kristina around and hung out while she went to university. On Friday I went to her friend's 21st birthday party. On Saturday we went to Riverfire. We sat out on the grass all day, and ate and drank by the river. It was nice weather that day as well. There were lots of fireworks over the bridges on the river, which was cool.

On Sunday it was rainy, but we still had a good day. We went to Currumbin Sanctuary, which is a place that has all Australian animals. First we got to feed kangaroos. Kangaroos are pretty hilarious. They were just running around (hopping)everywhere as well. We saw koalas of course. And other Aussie animals.

After that we went to Gold Coast and took our umbrellas on the beach. Of course it's Australia so people were still surfing in the rain. I put my feet in the ocean and then we went and got gelato, of course.

Monday Kristina had uni most of the day so she dropped me in the city. I walked around a lot. I went to West End and went to a cafe my other Brisbane friend told me I should visit. Then I walked around the city a bit. It was a really nice, sunny day. People lay out on the fake beach and the grass at Southbank. I saw a movie to kill time- Vampires Suck. It was worth it just to see the Harry Potter 7 trailer. Then Kristina picked me up and I watched her play touch football, which isn't a sport I've seen before. I think it's pretty Australian.

Right now I'm at Kristina's uni. We had sushi for lunch and I fly to Sydney tonight at 8. I will stay at a hostel for 4 nights before I move in with my friend in the Blue Mountains for the weekend. Then I'll move in with my other camp friend in Syd before I head back to America!