This is the official blog of my Study Abroad Trip to Australia and New Zealand. I'll be leaving December 26th and returning home February 2nd.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 4-5: "What do they call that weak piss you blokes drink in the States? Oh that's right! Budweiser." -Samuel

Happy New Years! It's pretty cool to think we were one of the first groups to bring in 2012 in the whole world! I apologize for the coarse language in my blog title, but I believe it describes perfectly the pride Aussies take in their island of a country/continent in even the smallest things, in this case beer. It's for that reason I have immense respect for these people. I had an incredible New Years Eve that I'll never forget for the rest of my life.
Shark Encounter

We were fortunate enough to go to the Sydney Aquarium Saturday morning which was pretty awesome. Saw some pretty crazy animals, walked through the shark tunnel, held a tiger shark egg, and had the Great Barrier Reef "experience," and enjoyed some popcorn along the way! The diverse population of fish and marine wildlife in Australia is so cool. I kept finding myself poking at the tank just to see if I could get their attention by some chance. I think all the LEGO'S on the tour must have brought out the kid in me. I think that they must sponsor the Sydney Aquarium because there were giant LEGO'S models everywhere. Here's a couple pictures from that morning:
Blue Starfish?
365,000 LEGO'S later... Moby Dick appeared.

After an afternoon of preparations, our group made the trek down to the Harbour for the fireworks and New Years Eve celebration, so we bought two $5 bottles of wine apiece, grabbed a quick bite, rode the bus and walked about 15 blocks to Dawe's Point, with a clear view of the Harbour Bridge. Little did I know that this night would be one of the most fun and possibly one of the weirdest nights of my life. After consulting with the police officers about the safest place to drink bottled wine out of brown paper bags (Classy I know) without getting arrested, we posted up on a curb with the best possible view at 4:30 pm, with the first of two fireworks shows starting at 9:30 pm and of course the one at midnight. I met some of the most interesting/weird people that supplied me with some of the funniest and again weird events that I have ever encountered in my now apparent sheltered life.

I met Patricia, the crazy lady bug lady, and her husband Alfred the filthy rich construction manager (what are the odds) from the suburbs in Sydney. Alfred offered to charter us a bus to give us a tour around Sydney, convinced me that my next project was to design a mechanical camel for his wife to ride into their next dance competition, gave us his red and white polka-dot suspenders as a memento at the end of the night and watched as his wife proceeded to flirt and dance with everyone of the guys in our group. Patricia told me that she likes the state of the Alabama because "they have the most gorgeous and sexy young men in the States." Two girls from Sweden who spoke fluent English came up to us and hung out with us for a little while and were hilarious and met us out on the beach on Sunday. I met Samuel, a 6 foot 5 inch man from Melbourne who thought the United States was boring because he had a niece that was from "Oh-hi-y-io," (I'm not sure of the proper conversion from Aussie to Webster's pronunciation) and we earned some respect from some hardcore Aussies by the end of the evening. We brought in the New Year with hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world, including my personal favorite, a Scottish fellow who ran through the crowd with his propeller-topped beanie screaming "I'm William Wallace! Merry Christmas!"

Those were just a few of the great people I met that evening that contributed to a night that I will remember for the rest of my life. There's a video of the midnight fireworks that I'll upload later and a picture of the area we camped out in posted below. The night ended with lots of laughs, Subway, tired legs, a 4 am bedtime.

"Make memories because no one can take them away."

Dawe's Point Perfect Fireworks Vantage Point

Well, after getting to sleep in for the first time since I've been here, I slept until about 11 am and then got ready for the Auburn bowl game, which I kept up with via any free Wi-Fi I could find on the way out the beach. 43-24, War Damn to that. We were headed out to Bondi (pronounced "Bon-DIE") Beach, a bus ride and a 25 minute train ride to Bondi Junction. When we reached the beach, it was breathtaking. 75 degrees, a light breeze, and there were thousands of people laying out the beach and swimming in the ocean. It was a people-watcher's delight. I think that everyone in Australia is tan, absolutely jacked or looks like they have the body of an Olympic sprinter. I embraced my Farmhouse-induced belly and pastiness with pride as I stepped out onto the beach and enjoyed the sun for almost 6 hours. A few guys and myself swam out in the FREEZING ocean and battled the waves and actually lived! No encounters sharks, deadly jellyfish, or anything that could kill me thankfully. Got a healthy dose of Vitamin-D and a little sunburn on my shin but no harm done. Our group enjoyed an amazing dinner of raw oysters and homemade cheesebread at a Seafood and Italian restaurant on the boardwalk right off the beach. Finished the evening with a little Gelato treat and hopped the train and made our way back home. I have an early morning tomorrow to say the least. We have to leave the college by 6:30 am to catch a two-hour train ride to the beautiful Blue Mountains outside of Sydney. Thanks for reading and I'll check in tomorrow. War Eagle!

The Walk-Up to Bondi Beach
There were at least 1,000 men wearing Speedo's in this area...
The crane is currently aiding in the construction of my new beach condo


  1. Very eloquently written, Stu. We may just have a new writer in the fam. Glad you survived New Year's Eve down unda!!

  2. Your video says it's 'private" and will not play. Is there something we need to do on our end or do you need to check your blog settings. Enjoyed the pictures and your new years was a bit more exciting than ours. We watched the the Auburn game (great way to end 2011 and see Trotter have some fun, did you get to see any of the game?)and listened to Dick Clark do his count down. Dad (USMA79)

  3. am trying to comment again (my 1st response to this blog didin't go thru) now that dad has officially made me a google acct. Some things never change!!--legos still fascinate you and you still love making "new friends"-i.e. the new years eve entourage!!! sounds like you all are doing great! sorry for the mom comments! love - m