Leaving on a Jet Plane

This morning I went to the Queensland Museum. It was just supposed to be an interesting way to kill a couple of hours and it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I got here. It ended up being a really fascinating way to tie what I learned this semester together. First I went down to the “Sciencentre”. There are lots of interactive displays about transportation, physics and the human body. It was (of course) overrun by giggling primary school students, running around and pressing all the buttons and pulling all the levers. Thankfully, I wasn’t in one of my “I hate kids” moods. I wandered among them for a while, feeling very out of place and making chaperons nervous. I had enough of that, and decided to explore the rest of the museum. At every display, I could hear my professor’s voices saying the things I read on the exhibits. An entire room was dedicated to one of the questions on our marine biology final: Why are turtles endangered, despite their nesting spots being protected? There was a WWII exhibit that had Murray’s voice bouncing around my head, and the model of a strangler fig brought John’s botany lectures front and center. It was pretty incredible to see things stuffed and mounted that I had seen living and breathing in their natural environment. It was so cool to see so many of the things I learned about this semester under one roof, and I’m really glad I went.

After the museum, I wandered through the “rainforest walk” on south bank to the Brisbane Wheel. When I first laid eyes on it, I was determined to ride the big Ferris Wheel. It was officially on my bucket list. My enthusiasm was dampened a little when I found out it was $15 to ride it. But, I decided YOVAO, I’ll probably never get the chance again so I might as well. It was a really cool experience. The little gondolas are enclosed, air conditioned pods with speakers that play an audio tour of Brisbane, pointing out major landmarks. I got some really cool pictures. Maybe not worth what I spent, but it’s all good. After the ferris wheel ride, I continued wandering down the south bank of the Brisbane River. I got some pizza at a cafe and sat next to a water feature. As I ate lunch, I was amused by the antics of the ibises that splashed around in the fountain. The pizza was pretty good by Australian standards (definitely can’t wait for some real pizza when I get home). I walked down to the ferry terminal and sat in the shade reading until the ferry came. That was the next thing I wanted to check off my bucket list. My plan was to just go one stop down the river to get back to the CBD and do some shopping. Of course, I got on the ferry going the wrong direction. I decided to scrap the idea of shopping and instead just enjoyed the ride and took a bunch of pictures of the city from the river. The ferris wheel and the ferry combo was a really great way to say goodbye to Brissy. I got to see a lot of the city in a short period of time and took some cool pictures. 

Once I finally got back to the CBD, I met Sarah and we took our last 109 bus to Uni. She had all of her gear with her and looked like she was running away from home (which she kind of did, since she couldn’t find our host parents to say goodbye). We met with everyone for a farewell dinner. It was a really lovely evening. The food was fantastic. It was really great to have the chance to say goodbye to the program staff and our professors. John Hall recited one last poem and told one last joke. Tom Cribb tried to convince us why staying in Australia was a better idea than moving on to New Zealand. We got lots of pictures, told stories and recounted memories and wished everyone safe travels. The group is splintering off and heading in several different directions. Most people are going to either Sydney or the South Island of New Zealand.

Since I’m going to Sydney with my parents later and I’m not really one for hiking and backpacking, I’m going to Cairns with Cierra. I knew at this point in the semester, the only thing I’d really want to do is to relax, preferably on a sunny beach with a fruity drink. Since it’s just the two of us going, we booked the flights and hostel and are going to be winging it when it comes to the day to day. I really want to go snorkeling, I’d love to do some day hiking, and swimming and laying on the beach are definite must-dos. Hopefully it all works out!

After the dinner, I made my way back home to Ashgrove. It was very strange riding alone. Sarah’s starting her adventures a day earlier than me, and is spending the night in the airport in order to catch her ridiculously early flight. I’m not leaving until Saturday morning, so I have an entire extra day without her at our homestay. It’s weird being without my partner in crime. (It’s definitely for the best that we’re doing different things for the break. I wouldn’t have been as happy if I was backpacking in South Island, and she wouldn’t have been as happy if she was coming with me to Cairns.) I’m really looking forward to reconvening in New Zealand to hear everyone’s travel stories. 

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