Michael Sullivan Online


Mike Arrives in Australia and Explores a bit

CANBERRA AUSTRALIA - 11 May 2000 - In the event you haven't heard, Mike did indeed make it to Australia as scheduled. From most reports, his flight was uneventful. In fact, he has said that it seemed to "fly" by. Mike left Los Angeles at 10:30 on Sunday night and arrived 15 hours later in Sydney at 6am on Tuesday (all local times). It was dark throughout the flight so it just seemed like one night.

After shaking the jet lag, filling out lots of forms, and getting settled in at work during the rest of the week, Mike went grocery shopping on Friday night with his Canadian co-worker and her husband. It was quite an experience as Mike couldn't hardly recognize any brands, much less what was inside the packaging. With some guidance, Mike successfully acquired all necessary items to eat supper for the rest of the week.

On Saturday, 6 May 2000, Mike took to exploring the city of Canberra. He had planned to see one of the focuses of the city, Lake Burley Griffin. With the sun in the north, he proceeded to walk a mile or so in the wrong direction. Once he realized he was going away from the lake, he proceeded through downtown Canberra and finally encountered some water. The big water jet, Capt. Cook Memorial Jet, on the lake, which can shoot water 490ft in the air, is located by the National Library and one of two bridges. Being in the southern hemisphere means that the fall is March to June. With this in mind, the trees were starting to turn making for some beautiful scenery. As Mike wondered around the lake, he encountered plants and animals he had never seen. For example, there are water birds called swamp hens that have blue and black bodies and a bright orange bill. Never the less, it was quite an experience.

Now it may surprise you but Mike got a bit ambitious and walked the two miles up to the Parliament House; Canberra is the capital of Australia. It is located on top of a hill that overlooks the city. Above the building itself is a 250 ft. flag pole and a grassy area. From this spot, Mike could see for miles to the mountains in the distance.

By this time, Mike was pretty tired and wondered back to campus (he's staying in an apartment on campus). However, he happened across a group of people practicing softball. He sat and watched a bit then asked if he could field as they took batting practice. He promptly borrowed a glove and took to the field. After that was done, he became a runner as the team practiced their fielding. Mike ran back and forth and around for about a half hour; this was hard work for an old man like Mike but it was softball. What made it worse was the 10 or so miles he had walked before this.

After getting a good night's rest, Mike took it easy by going to the Australian National Botanical Gardens on Sunday. There he found out the names to a lot of the plants he had seen in Australia. He realized that most of the trees in the area are actually varieties of eucalyptus, or gum trees as some Australians call them. In addition, he saw many bright red parrots playing in the trees and brush.

From here, Mike climbed through the eucalyptus trees on the summit trail and reached the top of Black Mountain. Above the summit is one of Canberra's most distinctive landmark: Telstra Tower. It rises 600 ft above the summit and offers breathtaking views of the entire region. Needless to say, Mike took lots of pictures from here. Its main function is to provide communications facilities for the city including TV, radio and cell phone antennae. After this experience, Mike headed for home and relaxed the rest of the evening.

Here ends Mike's first week in Australia.

Week 1 Week 2 »