Saturday, 16 March 2013

Good Times

G'day everyone,

I'm back again with more information and more fotos on what I've been doing in Australia for the last weeks!

After Mardi Gras, I had a quiet Sunday before going back to uni on Monday. I skype with my family every Sunday - so this is just a hint for you in case you want to talk to me: I am online every Sunday night (Sydney time). Of course the time difference will vary according to where in the world you are, but Germany is 10 hours ahead of Australia, i.e. 10 am in Germany is 8 pm in Sydney.
However, when Australia is switching back to standard time, Germany will change to daylight savings time, resulting in a mere 8 hours of difference - remember: "Spring forward, fall back!" =) So Sydney's turning their clocks back an hour, Germany's advancing them!
But it gets even crazier: not all Australian territories have daylight saving time. The reason for this: the tropics do not have seasons, i.e. their days do not become longer or shorter. Consequently, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia do not have daylight saving whereas South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) do! That means that Sydney and Darwin, for instance, are either half an hour or one and a half hours apart. Take a look at these maps - maybe that clarifies a lot of what I have just explained:

Time zones as they are now

Time zones as of April 7th

So there you go, now you can work out the exact time difference to Australia from where you are! =)

The past weeks at uni have been rather intense I must say. Seminars here take 2 full hours as opposed to 1.5 hours in Germany. And different from the seminars and lectures at Paderborn University, everyone is quiet and keeps taking notes - which will be essential for passing the courses!
In the meantime, I have completed my first assignment which is a 500 word summary of a book chapter. It does not sound like much, I know, but you go ahead and try to summarize 30 pages in 500 words in academic English! There are two more assignments to finish within March and the first big ones are due at the beginning of April. Seems like I won't be searching for Easter eggs this year... but I will be staying here at the house to study while my landlord and her daughters are off to Fiji for a week.

Last week, I was finally able to pick up my Student ID (that is a credit card at the same time) - which looks like this in Australia:

Christian Koop - officially a USyd student! =)
Talking about uni and the academic context - this is what I found in one of Sydney Uni's toilets and wanted to share with you. Apart from the explicit context, note the difference between a regular and an elite university. They still draw genitalia BUT add a text to it:

Text: "Drawing Genitalia - As writing one on toilet walls is neither done for critical acclaims nor financial rewards, it is the purest form of art. Discuss."

Last Friday was also Pub Crawl day! Since I joined the USyd Photography Society, we could participate in a Pub Crawl all around Newtown - right at my doorstep. The pubs and bars were numerous, the people were all very nice and we finally got to know some locals (as the majority of students in my programme are of Asian origin). However, what would a PhotoSoc Pub Crawl be without cameras? So the idea was to divide us into groups of 4 and each group was given a disposable camera to take pictures. But not just any kind of pictures - we had a list of activities that we were asked to take fotos of including awkward scenes like "noodle-chopstick mess", "ghetto scene", "Titanic" aaaaand "Get a bartender's kiss!". Well and guess who did that one... =D The challenge to get the kiss was at a Thai restaurant - which was even harder! But you don't believe what Australians are ready to do if you just ask them... Oh and caaaalm everyone: I went for a kiss on the cheek. Just for the foto! The fotos are supposed to be uploaded on facebook soon, so I'll see what I can do to share them.

The next day literally asked for a visit to the beach since there was not a cloud in the sky. 28°C / 82°F are also not unusual for what they call "autumn" here. The ferry crossing to Manly was just amazing - so I thought I'd share a few impressions with you:

Sydney Opera House

A different perspective

Path through the dunes towards Curl Curl Beach

Curl Curl Beach

Panoramic View of Curl Curl Beach (click to enlarge)

Franzi and I @ Curl Curl Beach
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sunset in Sydney

Yesterday, Franzi and I actually booked our travels for July: almost two weeks of exploring the Australian Outback! We'll be leaving on July 5th and fly from Sydney to Ayers Rock Airport to join a 3-day tour around Ayers Rock/Uluru, Kings Canyon, Kata Tjuta National Park and Alice Springs where we'll be dropped off for one night. We will then continue our journey by flying to Darwin and exploring the Northern Territory's capital and its surroundings (Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park, ...) before flying back to Sydney. Here are a few impressions - just a little taste of what is yet to come:

Thanks for reading and look forward to fotos of a short trip around Easter =)
Stay tuned!


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