Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Back from Outer Space!

I'm back in good ol' cali! My home sweet home. ah *sigh* its good to be home ^^

After my last final, which I tried to finish as soon I got it, I packed my bags, cleaned up my room, (threw away tons of stuff that would make my luggage overweight....) and headed to the airport to cairns with sean!

we took murrays bus, a 3 hour ride to sydney from canberra, (only 15 bucks, hella cheap) and flew from sydney to canberra, another 3ish hours. immediately even before we landed, cairns looked like a tropical paradise =D lush green mountains, water, humid and wet with tons of palm trees lol, ah ^^ perfect for vacation esp right after a final. we checked in to a hostel complete with a small lagoon-ish pool, hammocks and overhead fans in every room. it was pretty hard to fall asleep at night lol it was so hot even tho it's technically winter in australia! that's cause cairns in pretty far north, which brings us real close to the equator, hence its tropical rain forests and warm waters all year round.

the city is kinda dead at night, well at least compared to sydney or something but i guess it wont be fair to compare. they do have a night market but we just strolled along the esplanade- a promenade along the water edge, hehe pretty romantic, "summer"'s balmy air and everyone wearing flip flops and shorts and the sea melts into complete black in the horizon. (it was kinda scary tho lol seemed like the world just ended right there) oh when ur walking down the esplanade, one side is the ocean, and the other is a huge public pool, they call it a lagoon, so seriously, the pool is right there up against the beach!

the only bad thing was that i kept getting lots of nosebleeds every day (i tallied it up and the total number was 9 nosebleeds in 5 days XD yikes!) in my family, im pretty known getting nosebleeds alot but it sure freaked sean out alot!

we only spent really a few days in cairns and i wish we could stay longer, mostly to snorkel some more ^^ the second day, we joined a tour group to visit milla milla falls and other sights south of cairns- mostly lots of waterfalls and rainforests lol. it was alot of fun cause our tour guide was a funny man and kept us entertained and informed at the same time. everyone on the tour were like us in their 20's and traveling around. we went to 2 crater lakes, of which one, most everyone jumped in for a swim (i didnt go in but everyone said the water was really cold! lol) and we also trekked through some rainforest. it was really nice and cool in there under the shade ^^ but like 90% of the stuff in there is poisonous XD. then we went to see a gigantic fig tree randomly in the rain forest. basically it towers over overthing else lol and the root system is all u see. its kinda cool finally we went to a series of waterfalls- one is the famous milla milla falls-apparently the most photographed waterfalls in australia, some of us on the tour group went in for a swim again. i didnt but sean did and he said it was completely freezing! lol then we went to a national park and visited some more extremely picturesque waterfalls and a deep gorge which leads to god knows what. we threw a rock down it, it had water with green algae at the bottom and it took 6 seconds for the rock to hit bottom, once it had, it made a hole in the algae and seconds later, the hole would be refilled with algae! crazy! to get to the park, we went up a road that had more than 200+ turns in it. lol needless to say, if you get carsick, im pretty sure you would throw up if u drove on this windy road...

the next day we reported at the pier, bright and early at 8am to check in at the boat to go snorkeling! we drive out 60km out from land, it takes about an hour and a half to get to the site. along the way, we get instructed on what to do, safety stuff and all that. of course the divers get more training and info. the ppl on the ship were pretty nice too and were very helpful. oh and they also give u lunch, cold meat and cold salads, very refreshing after a day swimming in the ocean. a word of advice tho, take their sea sick tablets. its only $1 insurance. sean got preeetty seasick and snorkeling made it worse. so yea. just to be cautious and not jeopardize your day of amazing sightseeing swimming amongst some incredible stuff.

we all got wetsuits, snorkel masks and flippers and me and sean rented waterproof camera and got prescription masks. they took us to two different places out on the reef and gave u more than an hour to swim at ur leisure. it was reeeeallly amazing the first time you see the coral reef. it's so up close and intricate and the water is totally clear- u can see all the way to the bottom- and its a long way to the white sandy bottom. you see all the fish swimming about and eating at the coral- i saw nemo and even a sea turtle! i was so stoked!! lol we had guides in the water to point us in the right direction and tell us if they sighted anything interesting. they even have hand signals to signify shark, nemo, etc fishes. and no there werent any jellyfish around and i heard there was some small sharks but i didnt see them. it was really nice ah...crystal clear water, clear blue skies and the beautiful reef right below you stretching in all directions and fish, large, small and colourful darting about. i absolutely loved it. everyone should have this experience. it's really breathtaking!

it was also exhausting lol esp if u wander off too far. ud be surprised when u finally lift your head up out of the water and find yourself waaay far from your boat! i know that everyone does diving but i have my own personal problems lol but id encourage ppl to go diving! you only really see 10% if u go snorkeling. it's still an amazing 10% that i saw!! you definately wont be dissapointed. it's like swimming in a huge aquarium, cept it's actually really the pacific ocean lol.

the last night in australia, or rather, in a real city we splurged and ate some quality australian steak, also had australian game platter haha- kangarroo, crocodile, emu and barramundi fillet. and we randomly had some czech beer to wash everything down. for dessert, we had pavlova and gelato.

the next day we flew back to sydney and then on to sfo. we spent the night at an airport hotel cause our flights were a good 15 hours apart. our flight back, i sat at the exit row. lol and i had a blast there. i had a priest and a lady, both from sydney sitting in my row. facing us there were also seats for 2 flight attendants and they kept us laughing with good conversation. so, all in all, it wasnt a bad trip back. oh and as we left, we flew right over the sydney opera house and bridge! even the lady next to me was amazed, she'd never seen the sight from up in the plane before!

i had a great time overall studying abroad, especially the traveling bit lol. i have tons of memories and sorry cheriz, i didnt party like an animal cause u kno im not like that but i had lots of fun and ill definitely be going back.