I have now been in the land down under for approximately one week and things are going just swimmingly. It is quite similar to the U.S. but at the same time quite different. After this first week there are specifically 3 things I have learned that one needs to be aware of at all times. First, the phrase "How ya going?" has absolutely nothing to do with where you are going or how you are going about getting there. So don't respond, the bathroom, why are you wondering? In fact it is the U.S. equivalent to the classic question "How are you doing?" Secondly, and this may actually be the most important, KEEP LEFT AT ALL COSTS. Whether you are running, skipping, jumping, rolling, diving or driving it is essential that you stay to the left. Otherwise there is a very good chance you will be giving a complete stranger a solid chest bump for no apparent reason and that's very hard to recover from or play off like it was on purpose. Lastly, thongs are flip flops not underwear. So if somebody ever tells you they are going to put their thongs on don't give them a weird look because they are a guy, and don't give them a weirder look because they are putting on more than one. Remember these three things at all times and you will be alright.
Sara, Hayley and I arrived last Sunday and spent our first day/night in a hostel in Surfers Paradise which is a pretty self explanatory name for a city. The hostel was surprisingly nice as it was equipped with a lobby and patio area where most of the hostel goers gathered at night just to hang around and meet some of the other travelers. The room itself was about the size of an airplane bathroom, but since we were only there one night it was no big deal.
We got to the Uni (University is a lot of syllables so they shorten it) on Monday and it is basically the High Point of Austraya-the "L" disappears when you arrive here. The campus was finished being built in 1987 so everything looks very new and it even has its very own man made lake. The dorm rooms are pretty straight forward except for the fact that there are cleaning ladies that come through and clean the rooms once a week. Yea, cleaning ladies, balls in your court High Point.
Now onto the beaches. The first thing you notice at the beach is the incredible cleanliness of them. It almost makes you wonder what is really going on with the beaches in the U.S. and definitely warrants a little skepticism towards them. That being said though, I would still much rather be swimming in the U.S. waters. Now I know what people are thinking, but the water there is cleaner, the water is warmer and surf rescue is an actual sport so your chances of drowning are virtually impossible. I'll have you know that there are much bigger worries about swimming in the water here, bigger being the key word. I was not in the water for more than 5 minutes before I was greeted by a jelly fish that, honest to God, had to be at least 3 feet in diameter. Oh and it will sting you if you get too close. Not to mention it was poisonous. Basically all the while you are in the water your head should be on a swivel looking out for these mammoth floating death traps and other creatures of the deep.
All in all the first week here has been a grand success as I have made a lot of Aussie friends. I'm sure as long as the sea creatures and other deadly creatures don't get me I will have a fantastic time here so feel free to check back week to week and read about my endeavors so long as they don't bore you.