Saturday, November 28, 2009

Giving Thanks

Australians don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but we had our own festivities and made it feel like home! The kitchen staff let us use all the stoves and cooking supplies to cook our favorite Thanksgiving dishes, and we ended up making enough food to feed a small army. I made green beans, since everyone else wanted to make stuffing or desserts.







Since we were representing Stanford, we followed the Stanford tradition of dressing rally gear and went crazy! It was super super fun!

Delicious plates of food:

Pasha, one of my favorite people EVER, dressed up like a koala!! It was her birthday too!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's Britney, B@%#*!

I have now seen Britney Spears in concert!! Lisa has a family friend who does security for music artists, and he got us 6 free tickets ON THE FLOOR!!!!! We were literally one row away from Birney and her fabulous dancers - I think she found the most attractive dancers in the world and hired them to be her backups.

We dressed in tutus and neon because the name of her concert is Circus, and we wanted to be roughly circus themed and definitely ridiculous because it's Britney Spears after all.

Posing in front of the Woman's College on campus (our dorms are in this building):

We were mostly convinced that when we arrived at the Brisbane Entertainment Center there wouldn't be any tickets. When something seems too good to be true, it probably is - BUT THERE WERE TICKETS!! 6 glorious tickets! AH!




Hailing our ticket goddess, Lisa:

We also posed with one of Britney's clowns!! We thought it was just some strange fan dressed up until we saw him on stage during her first act. Crazy!


The opening act was an awesome female DJ. She was gorgeous and played really good dance music - it was the perfect way to get pumped up for the show!

We were super close to the stage - there was literally just one row of people standing in front of us, so we had a prime view of everything. It was INCREDIBLE!

Don, our champion ticket-obtainer!

Countdown to the Circus:
Sufficed to say we were a little delirious with joy.

The main act opened with some phenomenal circus performances:

Apparently ninjas are now part of circuses. Pirates, beware!
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Crazy pole-jumping acrobats.
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THIS GUYS IS BLINDFOLDED. WHAT??
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Britney is a way better performer than I was expecting based on other people's recent concert experiences. A lot of the girls here saw her in the US, and she barely danced at all and didn't sing anything live. Her audience in Perth actually walked out in protest because they found her show so boring, but she put on a GREAT show in Brisbane!! She danced a lot and was smiling and engaging the whole time - go figure. She sang "Everything" live and sounded great, and sang live at the end too. I'm kind of glad she lip-synched because she dancing so much that she would've been out of breath by the 2nd song otherwise!

It's good to know that Britney can keep her male dancers in line! It's also the beginning of "If You Seek Amy":
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"Hit Me Baby One More Time" - it's an oldie, but a goodie!
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Everytime:

Womanizer:
FINALE and pyrotechnics. Very nice!
Anyways, it was a really wonderful experience and I can't believe I got to see Britney Spears give an enjoyable show! Haha I really thought her time was passed, but it was fun and yet another ridiculous Australia experience.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Canberra

We took a 3.5 hour bus ride from Sydney to Canberra, the capitol of Australia, to see all the federal museums and buildings. We spent a total of 2.5 days there and went to 4 huge museums/exhibits/buildings - who knew walking around could be so exhausting!

View of Canberra's layout from the top of Mount Ainslie:

We started at the War Memorial. It was a beautiful building and there was an awesome kids section that had uniforms and stages set up. Of course, this is where I gravitated after looking through all the real exhibits.

WWI:

Photos from the Vietnam War:





The Cold War:




The next day we went to Parliament, then an art gallery! Parliament was beautiful and we had a great tour.
Parliament is aligned perfectly with the old Parliament bulding and the War Memorial across the river. This is to remind politicians of the freedoms and rights that soldiers have died to preserve, and which they must uphold in all their legislation. Here's the front of Parliament:


The inner atrium is gorgeous! There's such beautiful woodwork all through Australia:
The House of Representatives is a blue-themed room, and there are 156 (I believe) representations from the different states and territories.

The Senate has a pink-theme. Teehee! These colors are REAL!

Standing on the roof of Parliament with Coop and looking to the south of the city (here's dress number 5!):

Standing on the roof! They have a beautiful grass lawn on the roof (crazy) and behind us you can see the War Memorial and Old Parliament building in the background.


The huge flag on top of Parliament - it's large enough that you can hide a double-decker bus behind the flag!

The last day in Canberra, we went to the AWESOME National Museum! It covered Australian history in amazing detail and had tons of amazing exhibits. It also had a really great current exhibit on what the present state of Australia is like, and how this might change in the future. It had lots of really interesting artifacts and a really great way of presenting it. Here's the inner courtyard:


Cool speakers that isolate sound so you can watch a video without bugging everyone else!


Fire prevention in Australia:

This truck is used for catching wild buffalo:


Crazy statue outside the museum:

We then flew from Canberra back to Brisbane in the afternoon, and ended up watching Big Game in the airport using someone's laptop and some speakers:

We were definitely pretty rowdy, but no one in the waiting area begrudged us our game because they could tell it was REALLY IMPORTANT. And then, in the last 30 seconds... well, I don't want to talk about it, it's too painful. But anyways, we settled down pretty quickly after the end of the game and had a nice quiet flight back to Brisbane. Now we're beginning the lecture series for the class - it isn't ALL fun and games (only 95% fun and games), but we're in the nicest facilities EVER! We're staying on the University of Queensland campus in dorms, and we get our OWN ROOMS. After living in research station bunks or hostels, it's so nice to have a little personal space. We'll be here for the remaining time in Brisbane and I'm so excited for what's still to come!

Friday, November 20, 2009

It Keeps Getting Better!

We headed to Bondi Beach – for CLASS – and had 4 hours of free time to wander around. I seriously can’t believe this is part of school! They had $10 bathing suits and awesome burgers, so I shopped a bit with the girls and feasted on an avocado, bacon, and cheese burger. It was perfection!! The weather was a bit breezy and chilly so we didn’t really want to stick around on the beach too much anyways, but we hiked around the shoreline and saw an awesome sculpture. It was really fun and super beautiful!


Dress number 3:

We then went on a walk around La Parousse, which is where Botany Bay is located and the first European settlers landed. We went on a walk with Vick, who is an aboriginal elder and he told us about the history of the people in that region.


The Powerhouse Museum was pretty interesting, it had lots of gadgets and technological innovations. Planes, trains and automobiles in Australia:

Crazy avante-gard garbage exhibit:



Then we went to the Aquarium!! We had a gorgeous walk through downtown Sydney

AND I SAW DUGONGS AND PLATYPUS!!! YAAAAAAAAYYY =)


Entering the aquarium:

Platypus video!! SO CUTE!

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Sleeping dugong:


My boyfriend in Sydney (he and Lisa got along pretty well too, but he was definitely into me):

Huge skate:


Delicious pizza for dinner! This is half roast duck with sesame, half EMU. That's right, EMU PIZZAAAA and it was so tasty!



We also went to the New South Wales Art Gallery:



And walked around the botanical gardens:

Then we visited old Convict barracks that afternoon. Here we are in the convict hammocks:


And finally we went to a nearby club to go dancing. I love this group of people and I have the best time with them! Here are photos from a few nights of going out (hence the different outfits):


Dress number 1 reappears:


Dress number 4!