Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Australia continued

The last day in Australia proved to be a little hectic one as we rushed to make our different plane connections. But we finished the entire trip by relaxing, shopping, and venturing to Luna Park, an amusement park in Sydney, Friday night. The night and the rest of the next morning was dedicated to packing and preparing to travel half way around the world. We left at 930 saturday morning and made it back to Savannah by 930 Saturday night- CONFUSING? I think so, but I would rather not adress the time zone issues as I am prone to headaches. We waited in the Sydney airport for a few hours and went shopping in their very expensive stores- they had huge name brands, top of the line- they had a Mac store, Armani, Victoria Sectret- in the airport!!!! We madjavascript:void(0)e it to San Francisco on time and rushed to make our connecting flight- which was later delayed...but it was delayed so much that we were going to possibly miss our connecting flight that would take us to Savannah!-we were nervous, but luckily we had some hook ups and we were bused from one airplane to another and we made it!!!! We made our flight and though there was some turbulence from the few thunderstorms in the area we made it once again- just in the nick of time. We were all so happy to have experieced such a wonderful trip and extremely appreciative to all our Diamond Club sponsors, the school, the coaches, and of course the Williams Family who did a fabulous job housing 13 girls in their house for approxinately a week. A photoalbum of combined images from the trip is currently being put together and the inspiration that this excursion provided will definately be appearing in some of our work.

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Thursday, 24 March 2011
Surfing AUS!
Today we caught an early bus, and those of us who weren't afraid of water learned how to surf! The waves were breaking hard but we all stood up at one point in time. Who knew we were so talented. The water was so blue and clear it was beautiful. The town we were in was called Manly and it another big tourist destination. There were tons of shops, art galleries, and beaches. The rest of the day was spent swimming, tanning, and relaxing. Some of us will be attending a play tonight at the Sydney Opera house and are so happy that we were given this once in a lifetime opportunity. Thank you again to all of our supporters- you are greatly appreciated!
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We were all so happy that the rain stopped and the fields were good enough to play on. But the day was crazy before we even got to play. In the morning we went to Narabeen Lake and took out a dragon boat. It was really cool because some of us had never been in a paddle boat before let alone a lake! The task was all about teamwork and timing and I am proud to say that we did amazing! We then went home got ready and drove to the Koala Park! We got to pet a koala named Shawn who was seven years old and was born and raised in captivity. We traveled around the park looking at all the other Australian native animals but the best part would have to be the kangaroo feeding. We got to pet and feed straw to kangaroos of all sizes some were more aggressive than others but it was a once in a life time experience. We followed up by going to the games at the Olympic Park. We played two local teams and I am happy to say that we dominated. The first games final score was 15 or 16 to 0 and the second game was 9 to 4. Everyone hit and played well. We exchanged gifts with both teams and we received pins and keychains. For dinner we did a classic BBQ at the Olympic Park-it was amazing. We didn't make it home until late but we were all so happy that we came and conquered. (we have lots of pictures but we are currently sorting through them- the girls are trying to decide which ones to show)
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The rain has finally stopped!!!! Just long enough for a few of us to make it to the beach to watch surfers attempt to ride the waves. The real highlight of the day was the visitation of Julie Janson who is a teacher of indigenous culture and history of Sydney. Mrs. Janson has lived in Arnhamland for many years with the Yolngu people. She speaks to groups of people about the history, religion, and practices of the native peoples of Sydney. Mrs. Janson taught us how to make baskets using dead palm leaves. We decorated them using twine, ochre ( colored clays), shells, and feathers. Our two graphic designers on the team, Jackie and Kiara, ran with the idea and used these baskets as a package design for Australian wine. The name of their product was TWINE. After the cultural experience the Williams cooked us an Aussie BBQ offering Aussie sausage, kangaroo, and Pavlova for dessert. We had an amazing day relaxing and learning about the culture of Australia.

Jackie and Kiara's baskets for TWINE

the sky safari up the mountain at the zoo...Jasmine, Jess, Courtney, and Jared (creepin)

a part of the casino last night... the staircase...look at the form!!!! 
This is Mrs. Janson's website.
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Adventure Day!!!
At this point in time the rain is no surprise. But luckily it slowed enough for groups to adventure out into Sydney and have a blast. One group took two ferries and a bus ride to get to the Taronga Zoo. The park had was built on the side of a hill and had a ski lift that took you to the top of the hill. On the way up we went over the park seeing animals as well as the cityscape in the horizon. We had so much fun. There were lions, and tigers, and yes there was a bear but he was lazy and sleeping in a corner. The zoo had a large number of baby animals. There were three baby elephants who were very active and a product of the zoo's conservation efforts. We also saw a baby pigmy hippo (so he was mini) and a baby giraffe. Those that were not interested in attending the zoo went on their own adventure into downtown Sydney. They went by the opera house and to the botanic gardens. There thousands of bats sleeping in trees screaming at each other for territory. The two groups met back together and went on a guided bus tour of Sydney. We learned about the wharves, the political buildings, the statues, and Sydney's red light district. For dinner we went to the Star City casino for an all you can eat buffet-which was AMAZING. Then after a long day we traveled back home (it took like 2 hours) but the entire time we played word puzzles and had a blast.
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Well the rain has struck again!!!- Our games were cancelled. Instead we got a late start and headed off to Parkley Market where we spent a few hours shopping for Australian souvenirs. We then went to Blacktown, where the Olympic fields were located. We looked around the complex then headed back home to relax. We then headed off to the beach and got a first hand lesson on how to play criquet from Mr. Fred Williams.  Playing in the surf, building sand castles, and running around was the end to our day. We will see what tomorrow has in store as our games have been rescheduled until Wednesday.
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Day 2-Sydney!!!!!

exterior of a shoe shop in the Westview mall

Posing on modern concrete strucutres

An Ibis- we saw it trying to eat the sugar packets at a local outside cafe...some of us wanted to pet it because it seemed interesting but when we bent down to get close to it the bird started running at us!!!!!!!! apparently they are the vermin of Sydney- they eat out of the trash cans and are like vultures- at least that is what a man who passed by who was laughing extremely hard at the sight of us. 

team on ferry ride to Sydney!
After a difficult night of sleep-thank you jetlag- we woke up rearing and ready to go. Sadly, the weather had different plans for us but all hope was not lost! We took a long bus ride along the beaches then boarded a ferry that took us to Sydney. It was pooring rain the entire day but it did provide us an interesting ride on the high seas of Sydney Harbor. The day was spent immersing our selves in Australian urban culture. Some of us took the subway to different parts of the city, while others explored on foot admiring the urban life. Sydney was a hub for cultural and diverse exchanges between all forms animate and inanimate alike. The Westview Mall-a newly erected shopping mall in the middle of downtown city- provided an interesting outlook on Australian style. Though yes, the clothes were interesting, we spent our time admiring the material choices of the structure, the materiality, the advertising, and everything about this new found place. The mall itself was completely modern and up to date in every aspect and we enjoyed learning about the everyday lives of people in the city. We also tasted some interesting foods while in town. Several us took to the candy shop seeing the amazing different chocolates that the country had to offer, while others tasted new seafoods-octopus, my favorite-was the Australian meat pie :)-delicious! But all things must come to an end and after a long 12 hour day of walking, shopping, eating, exploring, learning, admiring, and traveling we are all ready to go to bed. We are very much looking forward to playing our games at Olympic park in the morning!!!-We can't wait!-We would also like to thank the Williams family for being such amazing hosts to the 2011 SCAD softball team.
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Leaving Dyson Parking lot

SCAD softball getting prepared in the Dallas airport  to fly to LA to catch our 14 hour flight. All smiles and giggles anticipating our weeklong adventure. 

The Sydney Harbor Bridge-seen on the way home. 

Team grabbing a bite to eat at the local market.-Don't they look happy!!!!!?????!?!?

Beautiful beach-Courtney and Krista were the only two to brave the rough waves and swim in uncharted waters.

grabbing lunch-eating a meat pie-an Australian delicacy

The local pool that lies right next to the ocean!!!! WOW! awesome views

After 24 hours of travel, three flights, two layovers, and a ton of packing, SCAD softball has finally arrived down under. For most of the fourteen hour flight we slept on the hugest aircraft that we'd ever seen. Our airplane was two stories!!!!!!!, and actually served us real food! But after being on the plane for so long it was a relief to land in a beautiful place such as this. The William's family was there to greet us with open arms as we loaded up into a bus that took us to their residence about an hour a way. On the drive home we saw just some of the amazing things Sydney had to offer and couldn't believe that people drove on the wrong side of the road. Once we all settled in we grabbed a bite to eat down at the local market and some of us walked to the local beach. The beach was absolutely stunning!-We explored tide pools, went swimming, took pictures, and had a blast. The rest of the day included down time and us getting used to Australian time. We could not be more grateful for the William's family hosting our excursion and providing us an amazing place to stay. We are also very grateful to all our sponsors, family, and friends for helping us to get to this place.
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