Right now a friend of mine named Sarah is living temporarily in Australia with her daughter and her husband while he is on a work assignment. She blogs about her outings in Australia and it has been a true treat for me because I once went there. All of the sharing back and forth with her got me all nostalgic and so I busted out the photo album and thought I'd tell you a bit about the trip. When I was a junior in high school I got a thing in the mail for the People to People Student Ambassador program. We looked into it and ultimately I got signed up for a month long adventure in Australia. We traveled over there with people from our area and met up with people all over the US. We then traveled by bus for a month going from Cairns to Canberra. We'll start off with just getting there. We were given a uniform shirt and told to wear khaki pants so we would all be in a "uniform" and easy to spot. I was 17, I didn't wear khaki. I decided that the terrible bright turquoise shirt was going to be good enough to spot me from a mile away so off to the airport I headed in this.Bright turquoise polo shirt..check! Khaki pants....uh, how about cut off jeans instead? Of course, I couldn't blend in either because I set off every damn alarm in every damn airport. This was due to something you can't see....the GIGANTIC hiking boots! They insisted we had hiking boots and at the time I don't think I wore anything other than Birkenstocks so it was a huge stretch for me.
Once we got there and settled into our first hotel in Cairns two things were discovered right away, the food was terrible and stuff was expensive! We didn't have to buy our own food, but the buffet was so terrible that we thought if we went to the bar and bought our food it might be a tad better. Unfortunately after trying to bite into a neon pink hot dog that would not cooperate because the casing it was wrapped in was the consistency of a balloon we realized that we were screwed in the food department. I think I lost almost 15 pounds on this trip and lived on a diet of mostly Pringles. When you drive cross country you stop in a TON of gas stations and it is safe to go for food that looks American!
While it was supposed to be educational on this trip, it was mostly just site seeing. We started by going to the Great Barrier Reef.That, my friends, is the one and only time you will see a photo of yours truly in a bikini posted on this blog. If you must know...it was a burgundy velvet bikini! Did I think I was a porn star? To my left is a girl named Natalie and to my right Jeff. Oh heaven, those that know me know that Jeff could be a whole blog entry in himself. We shall just move on. Before boarding for the Great Barrier Reef we were given this frightening lecture on the dangers of the coral. One scratch and you would definitely come down with gangrene. So, to protect us they sprayed our legs and calves with a safety coating.Yeah, this was really just green food coloring in water which left our legs stained for a couple days. Haha, Australians: 1, Americans: 0!
We also went to the outback, a billion zoos, museums and even a couple home stays where we would visit schools in the area. I held a bat for the first time and a koala. This left me more frightened of koalas than bats. That thing stunk worse than anything I have ever held and I immediately threw away my sweatshirt to avoid having to pack the stink around with me. We tried doing things that some of the locals do, playing a didgeridoo and throwing a boomerang.Hopefully you can tell by the look on my face...I'm not really getting how this boomerang thing works. What is with my outfit?! Jeans and a button down...tucked in at that. This was definitely during the wear men's clothing period.
I also have a ton of pictures of stuff like this...The Australian Surfer. We traveled along the coast and the surfers were a plenty. I actually got hit on by one in the airport on the way there. He wanted to sit next to me on the plane, but we were forced to "sit with the group." So, instead of sitting next to whom I am sure was Heath Ledger I had to sit next to the guy that read the Popular Science Magazine the whole time!
All in all the trip was fantastic and I did have a great time. I can truly say that it was a life changing experience and did assist in some of the decisions I made later in life. That's another blog for another time. Oh, one more thing. This is by far the rarest thing I found in the photos. Something that hasn't been seen again in at least 16 years!My natural hair color! Peace out.