Follow current students as they explore the world beyond St. John Fisher College.
Yesterday was one of the greatest days of my life. I really am blessed with all these great experiences here this semester. I went to the Blues n Roots festival in Freo. It was basically a music festival headlined by Dave Matthews Band and John Mayer. However, there were about 16 bands/artist there that played 11am-10pm.
We got to the festival right around 11. All the bands were alternative pretty much. Generally they were “feel good” musicians. I wasn’t really into that type of music, but I had a blast. There were vendors there with food, drinks and clothes/gifts. There were two different stages. We visited the stage under the tent and saw Jake Bugg and a couple other small bands.
John Mayer and DMB were playing on the outdoor one, so we got there around 2ish to get right in the front row. We claimed our spots and stayed there until John Mayer came on at 6. It was wicked hot. There was not a cloud in the sky, but at least it wasn’t raining. While waiting for John Mayer we saw Gary Clark Jr who was pretty good. I didn’t know any of his songs though. Then came on Matt Corby who is beautiful. He is so cute and his songs are good too. Then was Elvis Costello & the Imposters. He was older, and boring. Definitely not who should “open” for John. But after him was JOHN MAYER! We were front row for him and he made eye contact with me. I thought I was dreaming. He is such a cutie. He played my favorite song, “waitin’ on the world to change”. I melted! People were pushing into us the entire time but we tried to hold our ground because after all, we had been there for hours in the heat.
After John came DMB. We were still in the same spots because we weren’t going to move for anything. However, our feet hurt. By then it was 8pm. We hadn’t eaten, it was hot and we needed water. Alicia, Dev and I decided that we should probably go get food, water and a seat before one of us passed out. So we left around 8.45pm. We got a little food and went over to the other stage to see Michael Franti & Spearhead. We sat in the lawn for a while. We saw a man propose to his girlfriend on stage and a man in a wheelchair crowd-surf. It was really entertaining so at 9.40 we decided to actually go into the tent. We got really close, really fast. It was like a giant dance party. He was a great entertainer. He came running out into the crowd and I touched his arm! It was extremely sweaty, but how many people can say they actually touched him! It ended at 10 and we got lucky by getting a transperth bus back to Murdoch for free.
Basically, my life keeps getting better and better, and I don’t even know how. I was on cloud 9 when I was in Fiji and there have been so many remarkable moments since then. Every day seems to be a new adventure that ends up in a story. I love it here. At this moment in time I’m mostly looking forward to the fact that my parents come in a week!!!! They leave Friday (NY time) and get here Sunday morning. I’m flying over to Sydney to meet them and I literally couldn’t be more excited. I feel like I haven’t seen them in ages. We will spend a week traveling the east coast and then they come over to see what Perth is all about. I can’t wait for them to meet all the incredible people I’ve met here!
Other than the festival, I’ve been spending more time at the pool like after classes and what not. A bunch of us went to Cottesloe Beach last Friday for the day. Remember how I said it was getting colder? Well yeah, it’s definitely getting hotter again. I could get used to the “fall” season being 90 degrees.
Classes are going well….haha. They are harder but there is definitely less time spent in the actual classroom. The tutors don’t really seem to care that we don’t know the Australian grading system when we get our papers back, but oh well. There seems to be more work piling on because we are in week 8 of a 14 week semester.
It won’t let me post any pictures of DMB or John Mayer…..so I’ll just post a picture of the girls and I before the festival!
The following week was a fun one!
After class was over on Tuesday it was planned that everyone that went on the Northwest trip was to meet up in Northbridge (an area of restaurants and bars) and we would all go get dinner and go out together Wednesday night. That’s just what we did. We met at an area with a bunch of different types of cuisine. I ended up eating Indian?! - I know who am I? It actually wasn’t that scary I didn’t really know what I was eating but it was chicken, cabbage and some kind of yogurt or sauce? Whatever it was it was good. Later we went to a bar called Mustang and it was super great to see everyone and our tour guides again! The next day my friends went shopping and decided on a taco thursday night and watched the movie Frozen, it was a relaxed and fun night! Following that weekend we went to a local island called Rottnest where you can ride your bikes around, walk or take a bus. There is zero emissions on the whole entire island and its completely protected. It was a beautiful day and we walked the whole entire thing. We swam in the water and saw the local animals “quokas” the only place in the world where they exist naturally. They’re like cute rats or something!! They’re super friendly and I loved every minute.
Let’s see the week after traveling it sure was nice not having a 6:00 A.M. wake up call every morning…
Things I did this week were - catch up on homework: I went into the town over (Freo) and sat at a local cafe, had a smoothie and a sandwich and attempted to update some of blog. Afterwards I caught up on my school work. The following days I went to King’s park and botanical garden at 4:00 A.M. and waited until the sunrose at 6:00. It was the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen King’s park views the whole entire city and you can just watch the sun rise right through the city. Once the sun was up we walked around and looked at the gardens and memorials. From there it was a beach day - we took the train all the way to one of my favorite beaches (Scarborough and fell asleep from about 9-3) YIKES! I was burned but also severely tan. It was a perfect day. I then went downtown one of the nights with my girl friends and we went and had drinks. It was super fun! Also, strange being legal here! The next few days were spent in Freo shopping around and going to the market. Nothing crazy! I also visited one of the local malls of the area one of the days (it rained like hell and I was not a happy camper)!
After a few glorious beach days it was time to get to the real outback of Australia.
We traveled inland to Hamersley Range which is one of the world’s oldest mountain ranges at about 3 billion years old. From there we saw the amazing scenery of the famous Karijini National Park. It was a jammed day of hiking on top of hiking. We explored Weano and Hancock gorges, Handrall pool, Joffre Falls and Dales gorge. This day was a fitness test for sure. The hiking was endless and we even had to scale the walls of rock structures. It was an extremely hot, hot day but so well worth it. We got to go in fresh water pools that were gorgeous and jump from top of rocks into the pool. The pools were magnificent but difficult to get to, some were down steep steps of rocks, others were extremely slippery (I fell once - surprise) and another one we had to do a spider walk to get into! There was an option to do another hike after the first half of the afternoon commenced and I chose to. We hiked down far into the mountain range and then traveled through where we stumbled upon more fresh pools of water (it was fresh enough to drink and some people did) We climbed a tree and dove into the water it felt amazing! We were all so hot and dirty and there was no where to shower these days - so the fresh water we encountered was our showering for the days. Also, there was no proper bathrooms either so we used a little outhouse that was dark and scary and guess what there was a poisonous spidering dangling over the toilet!! It was red and black and huge and its web sat right above the toilet, I braved it one time and decided that probably wasn’t the best idea! It rained that night, I was sad but apparently it was the first rain in a very long time for the area and so they rejoiced. My friend and I’s tent swayed the whole night and the sides caved in smacking us in the head every time a gust of wind came by - hahah it was fantastic.
Next morning we went to swim at Fortescue falls which was gorgeous but I wasn’t feeling up for a swim to be wet all day on the bus. We drove through the mining town of Newman and went to Kumarina which is where stayed overnight. Nothing really great this night except it DOWNPOURED so terribly all night long. Good thing we bought cheap clothing and shoes because everything was basically ruined by this point. The dirt stained everything and you were lucky if your stuff wasn’t soaked by the monsoon by now. My friend and I huddled up into the center of the tent at night to stay dry and barricaded some of our towels to the sides so they would keep the rain out. Safe to say those towels were drenched and ended up in the garbage along with my dirty sneakers.
The following morning, the flies were unbearable. We actually wore our fly nets almost everyday we traveled. Since it rained the night before they were all out and ready to play. Some of their favorite games are attempting to fly into your eyes (why?) or trying to fit into your nose, ears or mouth. There isn’t just one fly doing this to you at once either its about a family of 50. So, to be the winner at this game you must wear your fly net and quickly lift it up and shove food into your mouth and then pull it back down as you chew to avoid eating flies. Forget your food its already drenched in them by the time you eat it. By the time we boarded the bus I think we adopted 20 of the flies (they sit on your clothing and when you try and get on the bus its hard to get them all off) and they rode with us all the way to our next destination -_-
We headed off to the mining town of Meekatharra and passed through cattle stations on our way to Wogarno station. We got to see where the gold mine is and wow the mining business is currently booming right now in Perth. It has provided a lot of income and a lot of money for the area. This night we spent the night at a farm which may seem a little strange but it was actually one of my favorite nights. This area had zero light pollution, so this meant at night time the sky was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my whole entire life. You could see every single star there was in the sky and even the milky way was visible. I saw several and I mean several shooting stars throughout the night I could not believe my eyes. The tour guide said to close your eyes for 30 seconds then reopen them and all of the stars would be even more clear. Everyone really enjoyed this night, most people slept on top of the bus or outside on the grass to fall asleep gazing up. It was a remarkable experience.
The last day of traveling was just filled with well, traveling. We drove back and arrived in Perth in the mid-afternoon. What a great trip full of plenty of experiences. I learned how to put up a tent, deal with flies and poisonous spiders, swim with sharks, face my fears and sit back and have a good time! I’m getting used to this lifestyle … so much I might never come home.
After my short 4 days of being back home I was on the road again except this time in the completely opposite direction! I started off waking up extremely early in the morning at about 5:30 (this became normal everyday following) We loaded up the buses and said our goodbyes - no internet or wi-fi for 10 days was actually quite liberating. There was no reason for my phone or technology and it was a stress free venture on the bus!
Basically I’ll give the general jist of things and break up the posts because we did SO much stuff.
Our first day was mostly spent traveling. We did stop at a memorial dome for fallen soldiers that was absolutely beautiful. It was a gorgeous day and the weather was very nice. This day was mostly intended for traveling to get as far as possible on the journey. We ended our travels and set up camp for the night. We stayed at a sheep farming area and we could see them from our tents! This was the first time I had ever been real camping tent and all. My friends and I had to put up our own tents every night and take them down every morning. It got easier as the days went by. This evening was spent cooking and hanging out. Oh - and the fly nets I mentioned in an early post were totally MANDATORY. This was only the first day so it wasn’t too bad but as the week went on the flies got worse…
The next day we ventured up towards Kalbarri and were supposed to explore a river gorge. Unfortunately there was wild fire and we could not make it into the park for the day. We instead headed to camp early which was at Hamelin pool. Nothing too exciting this day except the weather was getting warmer and the flies were multiplying.
And so my favorite days of the trip are the next two. We woke up and traveled to Monkey Mia where dolphins swim right up to the shore! You have a chance to feed them fish and they frolic in the sun for everyone to see. One even had a baby! Afterwards we spent some time on the beach in the sun - my favorite thing ever. We had the opportunity to go on a cruise called the Aristocrat 2. We spent the afternoon on the boat sunbathing and looking out for dolphins, dugongs and sea turtles. There definitely were some! It was pure bliss. After that we got to go to a pearl farm where they showed us their new way of harvesting pearls. The pearl harvesting was out on a dock surrounded by water. In the waters there were piranhas! We were told one fall in and you were a goner - great! After the pearl tour we were back on the boat the next activity was a tad scary. There were nets on the back of the boat that went over the waves. We had the opportunity to sit in the net in the water and go over the waves. I watched a multitude of people go in and get thrown all over the place due to the boats speed and the amount of waves. I was deathly afraid because you could fall off in the right circumstance - you had to hold onto the nets with dear life and position yourself so you didnt drown in the waves - LOL some people were really struggling. Oh you also had to put your bathing suit on super tight because some people’s fell off. I was SO scared of sharks so I was really reluctant but I did it anyway and I was so proud of myself. Little did I know the next day I would actually be swimming with them :-O The rest of the afternoon after the boat ride we went into the fishing town of Denham, Eagle bluff and headed to Shell beach where you guessed it the whole entire beach is made of shells! This was a protected area so you couldn’t take any of the shells but it was so beautiful.
The next day we travelled to Coral Bay. We stopped on the way to see the stromatolites which are extremely old. They were so pretty to look at but it was a no swimming zone and it was super hot out. Once upon Coral bay we had the option of what we wanted to do for the day. I chose to go on a glass boat bottom tour and snorkeling adventure. I took a boat out in the morning and the bottom was completely glass so I could see all the coral as we drove out into open water. Our first snorkel was near an area of coral where reef sharks go to clean themselves. We snorkeled through a huge gap in the coral and then sat at the top as the reefs swam and brushed up against the coral. It was the SCARIEST thing I’ve ever done. I stared and am not sure if I even breathed but I made sure I knew where the sharks were at all times. From there we made our way back to the boat where we got biscuits (cookies) and tea. We rode the boat out to another area in the water called the turtle sanctuary where all the sea turtles go. We were back into the water and looking through the coral. I saw some big sea turtles it was amazing. I also accidentally swam next to a reef shark. I was snorkeling and looked to my side and saw a huge shark next to me - panicking (forgetting everything I’ve learned on shark week) I swam away as fast as I possibly could. Once I thought I was safe I relaxed and started talking to my friends. The joke was on me because they looked down and said “Jess you need to swim away right now because there is a shark underneath you” … safe to say the shark followed me and I swam back to the boat and didn’t plan on getting off ever again. Glad to say I can check swimming with sharks off my list :-) After touching land, thank god, my friends and I went out for lunch at one of the restaurants. We then found a spot near some cool rock formations on the beach and decided to tan for the rest of the evening. It was a beautiful day. Dinner was ready to be cooked and our night ended at Bayview Coral Bay Caravan Park.
Pictures to follow … follow my next post for a continuation of the Northwest trip and details on my hiking adventures!