Where to begin... About a month in. / by Zachary Krahmer

Where to begin is a basic concept, but it’s been so long since my last post that I don’t particularly know where to start in describing Australia so far. I’ve met heaps of great people, and I’ve been having a great time so far.

I’ve been mountain biking 3-4 times a week up in the hills around campus. In the first week of school they were back burning the hills here because the army was doing some controlled burns on their land next door. Mostly that only meant that campus was full of smoke and snakes (they had no where else to go but down). My friend saw a Taipan sunbathing on the road during this time (these guys are something like 50x more toxic than a cobra).  The trails are maintained by the Townsville Rockwheelers and there’s some really great ones out there. Coming up in September is a 12 hour night ride from 6pm to 6am, looking to do that when it comes up. I’m getting to know the other riders here who are pretty insane. These guys ran a half marathon on Tuesday, played ultimate frisbee on Wednesday, biked on Thursday, then went out and ran a Sub 4 hour marathon on Sunday, without ANY previous running training. Sure they felt terrible after, but the fact that they were able to do that should say something about these guys.

In addition to the biking I’ve been playing on an Ultimate Frisbee team every Wednesday/Sunday and a Touch Rugby team every Monday night. Touch has probably been the most interesting as we’ve had the opportunity to decipher the strange complexity of rules that make up rugby. We just had our first game tonight andwere pretty bad as a team, but we should get better (this was a lot of our first times playing rugby).

Classes here are pretty good. I’m taking indigenous people & ecology, history of terrorism, conceptual portfolio, and biodiversity of tropical Australia. No one here talks about studying like they do in the states. They keep to themselves when it comes to school and get stuff without windgeing (complaining).  I’m getting a bit apprehensive about the portfolio course. Planning on traveling out to Alice Springs and photograph Aboriginal families if I can get my contacts in line. I’ve had a lot of conversations with others about indigenous persons and I don’t really know how to write up what I’ve heard without being politically incorrect. I’ll just let pictures speak for themselves when I finish the project in late October.

Let’s see.. There have been quite a few adventures lately. In the first week I met some rugby players at one of the larger Rugby league games against the Sydney Tigers. These guys took a few of us Americans out to Crystal Creek last weekend to jump off cliffs and relax by the water. There was one cliff, maybe 35 or 40 feet that was pretty nuts.  Also had a chance to drive on some windy dirt roads in a a car on the LEFT side of the road. After we layed out we went to watch Ethan play in his Rugby game then went back to Troy’s place and had a few beers and played back yard cricket. (Really not that bad of a game if you keep the pace up).

One thing Australian’s love is their alcohol. It seems like every party begins with a tout of drinking games that reminds me of my days in high school. Everyonehere drinks goon, which is most likely the cheapest alcohol available because of all the taxes. Goon is a not very delicious boxed wine beverage that comes in a variety of flavors ranging from Fresh Dry White to Fruity Lexia. The roughly $10 standard price makes for easy price comparisons when purchasing other items. If I’m not careful, I may soon be measuring the value of my purchases by the “boxes of goon”.

On the topic of money, I was able to get a job working 12 hours a week at a café on campus called Bambini’s. The work really isn’t the best but I’m getting paid minimum wage (aka $15 per hour AUD) which isn’t bad. I’m looking to also work a few hours in the cafeteria each week washing dishes which pays something like an absurd $22 an hour. I’ve found that working at Bambini’s has expanded my choice of words in such a way so that words such as Tah, Cheers, Long black, flat white and pasta pot are now common vocabulary. I’m not in Australia to work, but don’t think I won’t be making a few bucks while I’m here.

It’s been a great time so far and I’m really at a loss as to how to continue this entry. I’ll be sure to post again within the next week or so. The full moon party is coming up on Friday on Magnetic Island, and the Brisbane / Townsville Rugby league game is on Saturday so it should be an eventful weekend.

Backburns on campus

The sign from our climb up mt. stuart : p


stereotypical kangaroo shot from a few weeks ago

my room