Australia Visit: Days 8-9

Day 8: Visit to James Cook U – Townsville:

In the morning, my colleague from JCU picked me up at the hotel and we drove to the Townsville campus. There, I had a coffee, met with some other colleagues, toured the campus, had lunch, and met with the head of international student support. This last meeting was particularly interesting. She might be a good colleague to collaborate with on some research about mental health during study abroad. She has a background in psychology, working with people in transition, and had some really great ideas and strategies on how to ease students’ transitions into Australian Uni life. I’ll definitely have to contact her again.

After my campus visit, which ended at about 1, I went into town to buy a new suitcase, and later took a ferry to Magnetic Island to look around and watch the sunset. The ferry took about 20 minutes and it was delightful. On Maggie Island, I took a bus to Horseshoe Bay, found myself a rock to sit on on the beach, and watched the sun set over the water, which is rare in Eastern Australia! It was quite beautiful. Caught the ferry back, and on the top level it was just me and a couple of tradies. It was a bit chilly, but it was nice and quiet and offered a great view of the night sky during the ride. I had sort of forgotten that the sky would look different at night!

Ship at Townsville’s port, view from Maggie Island ferry

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Day 9: Townsville – Sydney via Brisbane

Airport, plane, airport, plane, airport, train. Someone quoted some theorist or another to me once, who noted that travel has changed from journeying through spaces to waiting in non-spaces. Non-spaces are things like airports and train stations, which look the same no matter where you are, and often are technically not even considered part of the country they are in. I’m inclined to agree, and this type of travel is necessary, but quite unfortunate. I’d much rather ride for 6 hours on a bus than go wait at an airport for an hour and sit on a plane for an hour.

I got into Sydney about 3pm, got situated in my hotel, and then went out exploring. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so I didn’t take any pictures, but I saw the Sydney Harbor, and the Opera House and all that. From what I got to see of it (not much; I was only ever in Sydney after dark, really), I didn’t care much for Sydney. It is the financial capital of Australia, and you can tell – it feels very corporate. The Harbor and Harbor Bridge were very pretty, and the Opera House is cool, but my favorite part (that I saw) was the Rocks area – the original part of the city. They’ve refurbished it a lot and have modern businesses in the historical buildings, but they’ve done a really good job at keeping the historical feel to the buildings. I’d have liked to explore it a bit more during the day, but the daylight hours on Day 10 were filled by my visit to University of Wollongong.

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