Archive for February, 2010

Aboriginal Tour & Kangaroo

Sponsored by RMIT, I was able to participate in an Aboriginal tour through the Royal Botanic Gardens. I learned about the use of different plants and the spiritual connection of the Aboriginal culture with the spirit of the earth. The garden was extremely beautiful and near the heart of the city.

The Aborigines seem to have a similar situation such as the Native American Indians.

One interesting thing I learned was that the Aboriginal culture is the oldest in the world. They said between 40,000 and 60,000 years old. That is older than the Egyptian Pyramids! Kind of crazy.

After the tour, we went to lunch at the Tjanabi restaurant, which prides itself on cooking with seasonal, local produce accented with native Australian fruits, berries, herbs and spices. It was here that I had my first taste of kangaroo. First kangaroo sausage, then kangaroo steak. It taste very similar to steak, only more lean.

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Riding the Trains (Public Transport)

Australia is strict with their public transportation rules including trains, trams, and buses. One rule I have been constantly reminded of is to always have a valid ticket and my concession card.  Almost every time I have been on the train there has been an inspector checking tickets. If you do not follow transportation rules the fines are hefty ($150 Р$250) and inspectors have little forgiveness.

I have followed the transportation ticket rule closely, but there are other transportation rules I was less aware of.

I was on my way home from a visit to the National SIEMENS branch in Bayswater, Australia. It was an hour long train commute and my feet were tired from walking in heals all day. I tried crossing my legs, but my feet hit the side of the train as it jostled back and forth. Frustrated, I put my feet gently on the seat facing me. Finally, relief!

I was in a near sleep trance when a train inspector stepped on. I heard him say “would you take your feet off the seat”. No problem, I complied and did not think much of it, but he continued asking if I knew how rude it was. He also asked if I knew it was against transportation rules to place your feet on any seat. Of course, I had no idea it was against the official transportation rules.

I was slightly stunned about his attitude. He asked for my ticket then for my concession card. He looked them over, gave me a glare, and said not to do it again, then continued down the train checking other tickets. I nearly cried after he left because I felt so bad. I even started to get angry at how rude he handled the situation.

When I arrived home I told my house mates about the ordeal. I was shocked to learn that in Australia placing your feet on the seats is just as often a fined offense as not having a valid ticket. They informed me how lucky I was to not receiving a $160 fine.

It turned my entire perspective around on the event.

Lesson’s Learned:

Understand all transportation rules to avoid fines

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Energy in a New Country

I plugged in my iPod player/clock/radio and smoke started coming from the plug. Come to find out not all electronics are rated for 240V input… my player being one of them. Cost me $22 to buy a new plug rated for my appliance plus the cost of replacing my American plug once I come back home. All-in-all probably a $50 mistake =(

Lesson’s Learned:

Check if your plug-ins/electronics work with various voltage inputs or if you need a converter before you leave.

Bring a power cord & board.

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Lost Luggage

In general, I would consider myself  well traveled. In the past I have not included lost baggage as a worry during packing. My motto is keep your carry-on light. I figure lost baggage would be returned in about 24 hours. My thought was I would just rough it for 24 hours in case of lost luggage. Problem with that thinking while traveling internationally is that it might be 48 hours of traveling before you find your luggage has been lost! For me, 72 hours is too long to rough it!

My story:

Due to engine troubles in Denver, my flight was 2 hours late into Los Angeles (LAX). Convenient that I had a 2 hour lay over in LAX. Problem is, 2 hrs – 2 hrs = 0 hrs to change planes. I found myself luck when I arrived at LAX and made my connecting flight to Australia. To find out 14 hours later, I was not lucky enough for me luggage to make the exchange.

Imagine arriving in a new country with nothing but an address. No shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, make-up, make-up remover, brush, deodorant, cloths, etc…

Lesson’s Learned:

Pack some essentials in your carry-on and assume the worst case scenario

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