Australia Visit, Day 2-3

In the morning, I got up to go back to the airport and meet the Week 9 (Macquarie University) students, and also inquire about my suitcase. It still wasn’t in, and a couple of the students were missing bags as well. But, it was over 24 hours for me, so I got 100AUD. Sweet!

We took the students back to the hostel so they could shower and relax for a little bit, before going to the first program session. I went early to the program session by cab with Ross so I could buy a few toiletries at Woolworth’s before the session started, so I did that and that, and when I got back Ross introduced me to Shane, the program presenter. He is a lifeguard, actor and model, so a bit of a local celebrity, not to mention a “real” Aussie, so he’s a great dynamic personality to get the students jazzed up.

After breakfast, we had the Academic program session. It started out with a bit of fun in the form of a Vegemite eating contest (glad I didn’t have to participate in that one…) and then launched into the serious stuff, about Australian academics, university facilities, joining clubs, volunteering, goal setting, etc. They did a really good job, and then after the serious part, there was a presentation by Beau, who works for a company called Mojo Surf that offers really cool learn-to-surf weekends for students. Beau was cool and super energetic, and his presentation started out with a bit of information on surf/ocean/beach safety before the plug for their trips.

Southwest Roadtrip, Days 3-4

Day 3 we drove from Glenwood Springs, CO to Maob, UT. We arrived at Arches National Park, just outside of Moab, in the early afternoon. We stopped for lunch in the park (we brought a cooler with fruit, cheese, beverages, etc in it, and some crackers and things for lunches, and only had to buy lunch 3 times in the 10-day trip) and then we drove to a few of the scenic points, and finally hiked up to the Delicate Arch. That hike was longer and more difficult than we expected (but really not THAT diffricult—we’re not experienced hikers), but it was worth it. The Delicate Arch (the one on the Utah license plate and all the travel brochures) is quite impressive. But holy cow, was it windy up there! I stood up to take a picture and literally almost got blown over. My husband had to crouch and hold hold onto my legs/knees to help me stand up! And the little plateau/viewpoint was only probably 10 feet wide (much longer), so if you fell over you stood a real chance of tumbling down the back of the cliff, or knocking someone else off of it. Eppe! I actually wasn’t really scared, but later my spouse told me he was actual afraid for his life. It was kind of cute. 🙂 Usually I am afraid of heights, so I don’t know what was up with me.

Lunch at Arches National Park

Delicate Arch

After our hike up and back down, we were hot and tired, so we just went and found a hotel, had dinner (somewhere not super interesting), and walked around the town a little bit. Then we stopped for ice cream, and I tried horchata ice cream—it was very yummy! We were both tired, though, so we went back to our hotel and hit the sack pretty early.

Horchata ice cream, mmm!

The next morning, we got up early (we were still on Central time zone time) and hit the road. We drove through southern Utah and the Navajo nation, which was simultaneously beautiful, depressing, boring, and intriguing. The red rock scenery was really striking, but after a few hours of driving though it, miles and miles between exits, we got tired and a bit bored. The Utah part of the rez didn’t seem to be terribly populous, either. We did see some roadside stands where Indians were selling jewelry and other crafts, but most of the stands seemed to be unoccupied, and there just weren’t a lot of people out and about.

We stopped right on the AZ border at Goulding’s Trading Post, a well-known but probably not the most authentic trading post. We saw goats, horses and cows just wandering free-range, and even a couple of coyotes! I bought a kachina doll (Roasted Corn Kachina). I have been interested in kachinas since I was very young, and I was excited to be able to buy one. It was a small one and Navajo-made, so not terribly expensive. The Hopi and Zuni tribes, make the only “authentic” kachinas, which are carved all out of the root of a certain kind of tree and painted to represent the embodiment of their gods. Navajos make the kachinas basically as a source of income, and they are made from pre-assembled parts decorated with paint, feather, leather, etc instead of hand-carved from wood. But actually I like the Navajo-made ones better—I like the leather and feathers and things. Plus there’s no way I could afford an “authentic” kachina!

After that, we continued on our way to Williams, AZ. Once we crossed the border into the Arizona side of the Navajo nation, it seemed a lot more lively. We drove through several small town areas, and saw a ton of Indians out hitchhiking. We stopped for gas in a bigger town, and at the station an older Navajo man approached me and asked me for $2. He said he was hitchhiking and wanted to get something to eat at the McDonald’s across the street. J I probably got conned, but it was $2, so I gave it to him. He seemed nice. I wish I’d have asked him where he was going.

We stopped for lunch at Cameron, near the East entrance to the Grand Canyon, then drove the last couple of hours through Flagstaff and into Williams, where we had booked a B&B for two nights. We got in before check-in time, so we went into town and looked around a bit before checking in. Williams is an interesting little place. It’s an odd mixture of Western/cowboy kitsch and Historic Route 66 memorabilia. I bought another, bigger Navajo kachina (Hoop Dance Kachina) at a shop in town. After checking in and meeting the owners of the Grand Canyon B&B, we rested for awhile and then went back into town for dinner at Cruiser’s Café, and then returned to our room. We were tired! We watched some TV and read for awhile, but were probably asleep before 10!

Southwest Roadtrip, Days 1-2

We basically spent the first day driving. We got up and got going by 8, made a couple stops in town for ice, coffee, etc, and then basically drove to Grand Island, NE (with a few stops for gas, food, bathroom breaks of course). We got into Grand Island about 5:30 pm and spent the evening with my husband cousin and family. It was very nice. We chatted for awhile and I really enjoyed interacting with my spouse’s cousin’s grandson, who’s 6 months old (my spouse’s cousin is quite a bit older than him). He is such a cute and happy baby! We had pizza for dinner and then played ladder golf [link] in the yard, then played Apples to Apples. It was a super fun night. We got a decent nights’ sleep, had breakfast with them, and got on the road at about 10am.

On Day 2, we made our way across Nebraska and into Colorado to the Rockies. Driving through the mountains was stressful (my spouse did all the mountain driving since we took his car, and it’s a manual transmission, and I’m not used to driving stick) but beautiful! We stopped in Colorado Springs for the night. We thought about going to the hot springs, but we were tired, it was busy there, and it was also expensive, so we just got a hotel and went in search of food. We ended up at The Bayou, a Cajun restaurant! Not only was the food deeeeelicious, but we also witnessed an impromptu dinner show, when a bunch of biker chicks there decided they wanted to earn their Mardi Gras beads the old fashioned way! (We got Mardi Gras beads too, but I didn’t have to show my boobs to anyone!) My spouse had jambalaya, and I had crawfish etouffee. Mmmm, mmm!

Copenhagen – Cuisine

Denmark isn’t really known for its cuisine, but I sure ate a lot of good food there!

For lunch one day DIS provided the famous open-face sandwiches, which were very pretty. I wish I would have taken pictures, but I didn’t. I tried 2 different kinds, and one was very tasty, but one had liver pate hidden underneath a slice of ham. I did not like that. Yuck.I think that one was called Veterinarian’s Treat or something– well, the dog would have liked it.

We also went to a traditional Danish restaurant one night. I had cabbage, very salty meatballs, and yellow potatoes. It was pretty good, but not terribly interesting, and it was very salty. I liked the potatoes the best.

But like I said, I did have some very yummy food in Copenhagen. One of my great food experiences was at this place:

Yummmmm! Tapas. On the left is squash, then beets, which I usually hate but this was really good, then scallop, then beef then some kind of ham, I think, with bleu cheese. I ate everything, and there was also lots of wine. Apparently Christel, the woman who planned the workshop, was afraid that “small plates” would not be enough food. Uh yeah, there was totally enough food–I was soooooo full!