I landed in Brisbane at 5:15am local time. The flight lasted over 15 hours! Notice the date, as I literally lost a day of my life traveling over the International Date Line. Don’t worry; I’ll get it back on my way home. I sat next to a really nice guy, originally from New Zealand, but had lived in most major Australian cities and travelled a lot. He told me that Aussies like to tease you and “knock you down” when they first meet you, but you shouldn’t be offended as that’s just how they make everyone equals. He said each city is different since there aren’t many of them, Perth being huge into the environment and sustainability. He also said that everyone will want to hear us talk to hear our accents and ask us our political views. I watched several movies on the plane, and was really impressed by the touch screens in each seat that offered tons of entertainment from a wide selection of movies and television shows, to games and music. I also slept eight hours on the flight, thanks to a late night airline dinner and a free Bundaberg (Australian Rum that I later learned is hated by most locals) and Coke.
I chilled in the Brisbane airport for a while after going through customs and ordered a coffee. By 8:20am I was off on my way to Perth. I thought the flight was going to be a little over three hours, but ended up being slightly over five hours because of a two-hour time change I hadn’t considered. This flight was a little rough since I was so excited to get to Perth. I landed in Perth around noon local time and was met by Paul, my program director, and Emma, one of the three others in the program. My baggage came through as scheduled, unlike Emma who didn’t end up getting hers till around 10 that night. Paul bought us lunch, and we waited until Chloe arrived. Peyton, the other guy in the group, missed his flight to Perth and didn’t arrive till around 4pm.
Paul drove us to our houses next. The girls live in a very cool house that they share with 3 other couples. Each girl has their own room, and the backyard is awesome with a lemon tree, grill, big patio, and even a trampoline. Just down the road a couple blocks is where Peyton and I will be living during our time in Fremantle. Our house is almost as cool. We share it with three other guys who I have yet to even see. Peyton and I share a big room for the first couple nights until one of the guys moves out, but we each have our own bed.
Paul and his wife took us to dinner at Clancy’s Fish Pub in Fremantle where I ordered my first beer! We all ordered fish and chips and got to know Kate, Paul’s wife, who is our academic advisor and is teaching our Conservation Biology course.
After dinner we walked around downtown Fremantle, trying to get a feel for the nightlife. We found out the best bar/club is called Newport and the best nights are Wednesday and Saturday. We will have to go back. We took the bus back to our house with the girls. We have pre-paid cards where we simply scan on and off the bus for a reasonable fare (If you think $2.50 each way to school is reasonable). The bus is about the only thing I think is reasonable, as we are quickly learning that the locals aren’t lying when they say Perth is one of the most expensive cities in the world. We walked from our house to the girl’s house where we met their roommates. We sat on the back patio and sipped all of the main Australian beers from each area. Aaron, one of the roommates, was extremely generous with his beers even though the alcohol prices are outrageous ($16 a six pack if you’re lucky). He wanted to expose us Americans to what Australia had to offer. Overall it was a great night and great day.