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Abroad Down Under!

Instead of sending out emails every now and then I figured this would be an easier and better way for everyone to keep up with my travels and what's been going on in my life while in Australia. Check out the pictures !

Diary Entries

Monday, 19 April 2010

Location: Fraser Island, Australia


It\'s so sad my experience here in Australia is coming to an end. I am starting to get depressed that I have to leave in less than a week. Thinking about packing is overwhelming me...Jessica, where are you when I need you?? I have only 2 more finals left to take on Wednesday and I am officially a Senior in college. Time is flying! I have procrastinated all day and am continuing by writing one of my last entries to all of you about Fraser Island!

A group of us went to Fraser Island, which is the largest sand island in Australia! We went a couple of weekends ago, and it was my favorite place i\'ve visited besides Byron Bay. The entire island from left to right was amazing. There was not one bad view of the island. We left campus at 7am and were in a 4WD for 5 hours until we got to the island. I was a bit terrified for our safety in this 4WD... let\'s just say it wasn\'t the safest vehicle i\'ve ever been in, but it was basically our best friend during the trip! We took a ferry from Rainbow beach to Fraser and finally arrived. We got on the island and drove for miles and miles and hours until we finally got to the resort we were staying at. It was basically the only place you can stay at on the island other than the only 2 areas of \"civilisation\" for the locals. We had lunch on the beach that was provided and spent a good couple of hours on the beach relaxing and playing games. We were introduced to Pippies and had pippy races! Pippies are basically a shell fish clam that dig themselves under the moist sand where they live. Pippy races is when you all find a pippy under the sand and dig them out.. then you put them all in a line where the water just slightly hits when it comes up to shore. When they feel the water they will slowly come out of their shells a little bit to grab hold of the sand and dig themselves back in. They have snail like bodies, and whoever lost had to eat it!! I was the winner though :) Later that day we did a lot of hiking. i mean a lot. I thought i was never going to get to this lake we were going to. I forget what it is called, i\'ll make sure to find out for when i come home, but we walked through what i thought was a desert because all there was around us was sand, but then, at the very end there was a lake. We ran and jumped in. The lake was the most fun that day. There were catfish, big catfish, that would just swim up to you and hang out. They creeped me out, but it was ok. We tried sandboarding down a giant hill, but that never worked out for some reason. the board we found wasn\'t really moving ...

The first night we went to the beach at night to have some drinks because apparently it was the only place we could consume alcohol other than the bar that would charge you over $10 for a beer. (as you can see, we are the only source of income for the island). But we didn\'t complain about the beach at night... i have never been able to see such a clear sky at night and see every star in the sky. The sky was so bright and filled with stars. I even saw the milky-way for the first time!! It was the coolest thing i\'ve ever seen. AND the most exciting part of the night were all the shooting stars we were able to see! Not just 1 but many!! (i\'ve been pretty excited about the littlest things these last couple weeks) -- for example, off topic, BUT Saturday I went to a new beach for the first time that is around me AND I FOUND A SAND DOLLAR! I was so excited, but when i finally got home that night, i took it out and it was broken :( ... such a downfall. Oh well, my friend is going to mail me another one when he finds one.

That night we met our friends that are insomniacs that live in the trees. These birds are the most beautiful birds i\\\\\\\'ve ever seen, but THE MOST ANNOYING birds in the entire universe. They do not stop chirping or talking or whatveer they do at all. From morning to night, thats all you hear. You wake up at 3am and hear them chirping away still. It was unbelievable.

Anyways, back to Fraser, the second day was jampacked. We started out with the rainforest, which was nice to see, but i don\'t get excited seeing the rainforest, instead i just get itchy and creeped out by all the spiders. HOWEVER, smart me put some bug spray on and avoided bug bites... that day. We saw the type of tree and the holes where the deadliest spiders in Australia live. The bigger the hole, the bigger the spider, and let me just tell you those holes were BIG. I feel like spiders are crawling on me just thinking about it! EEK. Finally finished the rainforest where our tour guide decided to show us some of her pole dancing moves on the swinging branches. Apparently, we found out, she is a professional pole dancer instructor. -- just a fun fact. Then we hiked up some cliffs to a beautiful look out point at the edge of a cliff. It was one of my favorite spots because all you could see was ocean going on and on forever. We estimated that the cliff was about 90-100ft. high. You\'ll see in the pictures how beautiful it actually was, but pictures still can\'t describe what it looked like! We decided to do more this day so we could spend more time at the lake the next day, so we drove to Eli Creek, which was cool. It was like a lazy river that you could just float down, if you had a tube.. we just walked, so it wasn\'t really relaxing or lazy for us. I got picked on and thrown in the creek many times. It wasn\'t fun having a load of sand in my bottoms, but the fun was worth it! Then we stopped off at the Pinnacles on the way home. The pinnacles are just what the name means. They are made out of the sand and the sand in this area is orange. When you looked at it you could actually see the sand falling down in some areas! Then the last stop before we got back to the resort was a shipwreck from years and years ago. Most of is is under the ground burried in sand, but what is left of it was a lot still. The ship name is The Mojito. It withstood the boat crash and a bombing. (must have not been the best bomb if it\\\\\\\'s still there, i thought.) BUT it was cool. You\'ll see pictures.

Finally after a tiring day we headed back to the resort and went swimming in the pool and had some drinks. Dinner both nights was really good by the way. Food was always the best part of our days, we are Americans and have American appetites even though we live in Australia don\'t forget. That night i must have been dinner for the mosquitoes though. By the end of the trip i had 30 bites on my right leg alone. 2 weeks later, i still have them. Chinese food must not be filling.

That same night I almost died from being attacked by dingos. YES dingos. I was on the beach with my friend watching the stars because i\'m obsessed with them, until we see a dingo just walking around. This is the time of year where they are marking their territory. We see it walk towards the water and think, ok we aren\'t in its territory it\'s just getting some water. THEN we see it walking towards us, and now im shaking and wanting to get the heck out of there, but we cant find a sandal! Searching and searching, i said the hell with it, lets get the hell out of here now because i\'m terrified of a little dog. so we start getting our things and walking calmly back until we see it walking towards us more and hear 4 other dingos howling! i never ran so fast before (i thought i wasn\'t moving at all because i was running in mounds of sand). That was my excitement with the dingos. The next day we saw what they looked like in daylight. I can\'t believe was so scared of a little dog. it literally was the size of a little dog! They look like puppies, they are so cute! Anyways, still terrified of them though.

Next day was a ton of fun. I wish i never had to leave that place that day. We went to Lake Birabeen. Lake Mackenzie is the lake that you\'re supposed to go when you\'re at Fraser, but it is such a touristy lake, that Birabeen is basically deserted and no one goes there, but looks identical to Mackenzie. The water was so clear, blue and calm. It was the most perfect lake to ever go to. The sand here is 70% pure so it was very white. So pure that you can clean your jewelry with it and supposedly whiten your teeth! And don\'t let me fool you, we did brush our teeth with the sand, we think they got whiter. That was the last place to visit and our trip was over. We sat in the 4WD for 5 hours again to head home. It was sad to leave, i just wish we had one more full day to spend at the lake. All and all the trip was successful and tons of fun! I even became closer to 2 UNH-ers! It felt good to spend a whole weekend with my closest friends here at Fraser island. The weekend was just perfect!

Now that this took me an hour to write, i am going to study for the rest of the night and hope i get somewhere with this.

Wish me luck and see you too sooon!

ps. ill put pictures up when i\'m bored or cant find any other ways to distract myself.

Tuesday, 06 April 2010

Location: Australia

Hey !

I have exactly 19 days left here. It's so sad to think about it because i'm having the time of my life and never want to leave this paradise! I've done so many things I could never imagine having the chance to ever do.

Tory arrived on a Thursday night and we went out to a club, but silly me forgot her ID so we had to take a taxi back home and ended up just going to a local bar which was a ton of fun! The whole weekend was a lot of fun with going to the beaches and just seeing a familiar face from home. Friday night we went to this vampire cabaret called Draculas. It was really cool. All the workers dressed up as scary vampires and would just try and scare you. We went through a haunted house and had a 3 course meal before the performance which was hilarious. It reminded me of the shakespearian play mom me and ally went to in Atlanta, only better! The last day we went to Currumbin where there are rock pools and cliffs to jump off of. It took me about 15 minutes to jump off the cliff... not that i was afraid of the height or the jump but i was scared i wasn't going to jump out far enough from the cliff because i couldn't tell if i would hit anything, BUT I DID IT !! We went to another area of the rock pools and we went on the rock slides where the waterfall just pushed you down. It was a lot of fun! The slides reminded me when we were in New Hampshire in the kangamangas i think it was ?? Anyways, it was a fun-filled weekend over all!

This past weekend was the most epic weekend of all since i went skydiving!! My friend Matty and I left school at 7am to skydive that morning. It was the most exhilarating experience. No words can describe it at all! I was the 2nd to jump out and was scared shitless when i was hanging over the edge of the plane. I honestly thought i was going to pee my pants! BUT.. I SURVIVED !! I free fell at 14,000 ft high for 60 seconds which felt way longer. My guy was spinning me around in circles during the free fall. I even got to use the parachute myself when it was time to direct us where to land! he, of course, took control and landed us because i would have crashed us. I got a dvd of pictures, almost 60 of them, so i will post some of them so you can get a taste of what i mean :)

The skydiving place gave us free transportation to everywhere we needed to go. They picked us up at school, drove us to the hostel we were staying at, and then drove us home on Sunday. They saved us at least $50! Talk about a bargain hunter i am, thanks to mom of course! The hostel called Nomads, which Allison's friend from college works at, was wicked sweet for location and the amenities. We rented bikes and attempted to bike ride up to see the lighthouse which is the most easterly point in Australia, but we never made it to that exact point but about 3/4 miles away! It was hot and we were thirsty and hungry so we just stopped off at a look out point instead, which was still an amazing view ! The beaches were fun because the waves weren't too big, but of course the moment we rent a surf board the waves are too big for us to get up on... so that was a failure, but still fun! Saturday was the Blues Festival, which we were waiting all weekend for! It was Matty's birthday at midnight so it was a fun celebration. We waited 5 hours and sat through a horrible spanish music performance while so parched like never before to get to where we were standing for Jack Johnson. We ended up being about 20 rows away!! It was a lot of fun, but he didn't play my favorite song till the very VERY LAST song. All and all a very successful night!

Sunday we woke up at 7am to pack and check out and go kayaking with dolphins... only there were no dolphins nor no sea turtles. We had to kayak through the break of the waves which i thought was never going to be possible with Matty and I's luck we were having. We were paddling out as hard as we could while the instructor was pushing us from behind and every wave we hit was HUGE. Probably the same height as me and every time, the wave would knock me off the kayak and then tip the whole thing over. We were the first ones to flip over and the only ones to flip over on our way out pass the break ...6 times. We had to turn around and take a break back on shore. We ended up going out last with one of the other instructors at the same time so we could do everything they were doing. It was a close call for flipping over again but we finally made it. it was such a pain in the ass, aggravating, and tiring that i almost said screw it and went home. Anyways, all that and no dolphins! I came to the realization that me and dolphins just aren't meant to be ...

Other than the no dolphins thing, it was one of my favorite places to visit. I am heading back to Byron for the day the 22nd after i finish my finals and before i have to head home to a not so pretty place...

I leave tomorrow (friday) morning at 7am for Fraser Island. I can't wait! I'm really excited. Once i get back from that next week Krissy Amie and I are going to Whitsunday's Island! Cross your fingers for not another cancellation !

Well, time to lay in the nice hot sun ! 8-)

Unfortunately, see you soon! (i just never want to leave this place, ever.)

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Recent Messages

From dad
with all of this fun, when do you find time for studies?
Response: well classes are over with now. i passed my philosophy final and the class and im going away to fraser this weekend and then whitsundays tues-fri and a final monday which is going to be easy so ill study that weekend for that and then i have 2 finals wednesday so ill study for those monday tues and wednesday morning :) under controlled. forget what it;s like to be a college student??
From Dad
skydiving pix's?
Response: i'm finishing up the blog for that weekend and putting pics up no worries!
From Caitlin
You can get change at the reception desk (where you get your mail) for laundry. Or at the post office on campus. I'm sure you will find yourself drying your clothes on your balcony or on your dryer rack instead of using the dryer... sooo expensive!
Response: ah i know! it took me a while to figure out i had to go to the front desk hahaha
From Heather
Ok since even Nana posted something on your blog, so do I!!! Glad to hear/read that you are enjoying yourself. Can't imagine what it's like to be on vacation for a whole semester! Stay safe, and I agree... don't forget sunscreen!

...I know ur craving Yea's "cheesey bugas"!

miss you, and love you tons!
Response: Yes, this is basically a huge vacation. i'm on a vacation for a year, if you think about it! Even celebrating the super bowl here is just as nuts as home :) i got to watch the replay of the game since i had to go to class and do things in the morning when it was on here monday. anyways, make sure you go to mom and dad's to skype me soon! love you!

ps. maybe freeze some chinese new year food for me for when i'm home, or we can just have another celebration in april :)
From Lori, John and Kids
WOW this looks wonderful! Glad you having such a good time!
Response: It's amazing here! i love everyone and everything about it! see you guys sooner than you know :)
From Nana
Hi Marissa it's Nana. It looks beautiful there. Make sure you use your sun tan lotion so you don't get burnt. Be safe and take care of yourself. I love you and miss you love Nana
Response: Nana! I'm impressed. You would think this is paradise. It is way better than anything Florida would EVER look like! But don't worry either, i've been taking care of myself and all of us friends take care of and look after each other. I love you so much!

love marissa
From Auntie Robin
Hi Marissa your pictures are awesome. I'm jealous, wish I was there. Hope you enjoy your time there as much as you can before you have to go home. Keep safe but have fun. Love you
Response: ahhh! it's amazing here. wish everyone could visit me, it's so beautiful here! don't worry, I'm staying safe and have made many friends that always are looking after me; they even check my apartment for cockroaches before bed :)

Love you too! -- marissa
From Niki
Dear #2,

I miss you dearly, however being in the apartment alone is pretty nice because whenever i cook something, your face doesn't pop up over my shoulder waiting to taste something and asking "what is that...what is that" and holding your mouth open hahah you know how much i like when you do that. ANYWAYS, I look at your pictures all the time and wish i was there! Its significantly less exciting in durham, new hampshire as you can imagine. The other girls should be coming back either today or tomorrow though, so i won't be so lonely! have funnnnn! misss youuu

Love, Niki
Response: you LOVE when you feed me your really good asian meals. i hope you have fun with your new roommate, just she better not replace me remember that. Anyways, GET A WEBCAM so you can see my beautiful face. Love you! tell the girls hi and have a good semester :)

love asian #1
From Caitlin
I wish I knew you could grocery shop online!!! That would have been SOOO much easier! lol
Response: yah! and you get to schedule the time of delivery too!
From Mom
Dear Marissa, I viewed the pictures with my class and they said, "Oohs and Aah!" They all want to make a comment about one of your pictures. What is the name of the zoo? Riley said that the koala and the kangaroo were cute. Lucy asked, How far could you see from your bedroom window? The view was awesome. Jenni wants to know why you were chasing a giant peacock. Jenni thought the pictures were cool. Charles wants to know if you finally caught the peacock. Jaden wants to know how the koala felt when you touched it. Jaden wished he could jump right into your pictures and be there. We hope to talk to you tomorrow to see if our questions were answered. Love and Kisses,
Response: Hi everyone! Well, to start off, I honestly do not know the name of the zoo because they only told us once and we were all really tired from a long day. But, the koalas were one of my favorite because I think they are so cute! They were very soft -- almost like a stuffed animal! The kangaroos were also my other favorite because i got to feed and play with them. I was chasing a peacock because I wanted a picture with it. It was running around the zoo aimlessly. I wasn't trying to "catch" the peacock but i did get a picture with it eventually! The view from my apartment is amazing. I can see as far as a few buildings on my campus. I can see one of the signs for Bond University. There are also sharks and manta ray in the body of water my building is on/overlooks. On campus there is also another part of this body of water where we saw a shark's fin at dusk! At dusk and dawn is the worst time to go to the beaches here because that is when the sharks come out. We have to follow the life saver's (life guards) advice and rules when they say it's dangerous to be swimming or where we are allowed to swim. They give us yellow and red flags for boundaries so we are safe and don't die. Living here is like a dream! It still doesn't feel real to me because it is paradise here! Have a good rest of the day and talk to you soon!

Love you mom, Marissa