Monday, February 2, 2009

Week Twenty-three

Apparently I moved to Death Valley. This week Melbourne became hotter than Bobby Knight's son at an NCAA basketball game. Temperatures consistently reached the low-to-lower-mid 40's, setting a record for three consecutive days of at least 43 degrees, and causing heaps of problems for commuters, fire fighters and everyone else, including me (As we all know, "Don" and "extremely hot weather" don't often go well together in the same sentence, and are often joined together by the phrases "practically dies in", "wants to vomit in", or "wants to pass out as a result of"). To escape the blistering heat, I went to the Australian Outback, where the average high was only 41 degrees. Unfortunately, there was no air conditioning at Uluru.

Most people from around the globe know that the Great Barrier Reef is one of the unique natural wonders of the world, but not as many are familiar with Uluru. The fact is, neither The Reef nor The Rock are one of the seven wonders, but both are on the shortlist to be named among the new seven wonders of the natural world.

Uluru, also referred to as Ayers Rock, is an 863-meter high sandstone rock formation in the middle of nowhere, is a world heritage site, and has tremendous sacred cultural significance to Aboriginals in Australia. It is also significant in terms of history, geology, flora and fauna, and more than 400,000 visitors each year come to Uluru to witness its beauty, hike its trails, camp in its wilderness and return home filled with new insight and an uncleanable stench of bugspray and sweat. I took a 27-minute shower when I got home and plan on taking three more 27-minute showers tomorrow as well.

My three-day backpacking and camping adventure was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. Each night I slept outside underneath the stars with a half-dozen new friends, and each morning we woke up at 4 to hike King's Canyon, Uluru or Kata Tjuta, as well as to see the sunrise at Uluru. I was covered in filth, sweat and 7,489 flies, and surrounded by insects larger than a 600ml bottle of Diet Coke, yet enjoyed the entire experience.

Well, the 23rd week was probably the most active week I've had in quite some time, ironic since it was the hottest week I've ever had, ever. Monday was Australia Day, when I went to Federation Square to watch the fireworks and chant "Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi". Tuesday I had lunch with my wonderful former B-M colleagues, and Wednesday I spent all day at the Australian Open, watching Serena and Verdasco win their quarterfinal matches at Rod Laver Arena. Then Thursday morning I headed to Alice Springs, spending three days on the camping and hiking tour, before spending Saturday night at Bojangles in Alice Springs. And Sunday, of course, I watched the fantastic final between Federer and Nadal.

Oh, and I also accepted a new job. Today I officially joined the corporate practice in the Melbourne office of the world's largest independent public relations agency. It's a six month contract with a possibility to stay longer, which will at the very least be able to keep me in Australia a little bit longer and enable me to fulfill the length of my visa. I'm excited to join Edelman and look forward to working with some of the best minds in the Australian PR industry. Going back to work, however, ughhh...
So Don's seven week holiday is finally at its end, and it was definitely a fun seven weeks. Seven flights, seven days of sailing and nearly seven thousand Australian dollars spent in the seven weeks of holiday, which means it's probably time I get back into the swing of things working the 9-to-6 again. I think my dry cleaner had already forgotten me. And if you're a Pittsburgh Steeler fan, you can just stop. You may be a national champion but city is still boring and you still have the Pirates. Twenty-three weeks down, 29 to go.

Week Twenty-three Summary:
Weather: The hottest week in the history of everything
New observation: It seems as though more Europeans, Americans and Asians make the trek to Uluru than Australians
New activity(ies): Outback camping, filthy hostel showering, dodgy cheap Australian airlines
New food: spaghetti stir-fry
New word(s): "to be sure to be sure" ~ token Irish girl on the tour
New people: a dozen Europeans on the Uluru tour
What I miss: being on holiday, Super Bowl commercials, having a big bedroom, MySpace, everyone from Contiki 1, driving on the right side of the road

1 comment:

Jasmine said...

I can't believe you're missing Black History Month.

Celebrating black people isn't the same without you.... :(