Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Diving into the Australian Culture (or observing it)

   After arriving in Australia this past Thursday evening, I felt like I fell off of a cliff, landed on some rail road tracks and then was quickly smashed by a freight train. In short, the trip truly took every bit of zest out of my system. Frankly I am still surprised that the people I ate dinner with that night thought I was anything other than a prick because I was short and brief with conversation. Luckily, Friday morning I was able to muster up enough of "me" to meet some of the running group for "brekky" and a latte at Bruce's cafe' next to the running centre. As the days have passed, I have began to feel more and more like myself thankfully.
Ryan, Rosie, and Janna Friday AM

  Fighting sickness just before leaving the states did not help my transition down under, as I have been coughing up green stuff for nearly two weeks and I am honestly surprised that I have not progressed with my sickness. I have been feeling like I really need a solid anti-biotic to knock everything out and I was chatting with Janna about the local pharmacy's during her off day on Monday. In Australia, the drugstore's are called "chemist", it sounds a bit sketchy to me, but its a legit place for vitamins and medicine. Initially I am thinking of some odd ball drug dealer who has a little shack in the back alley and people call him "the chemist".  Janna seems to be about tired of my coughing up a lung and spitting globs of mucus out on the pavement at this point, so I am trying to rest up and take a solid dose of "Ultra preventative" pills I brought from the Greenapple Sports & Wellness Center.

Marcus and Alba Barton Look alike's
Cody pre-race
  Friday was a struggle for me mostly, I tried napping and also tried running, which both were very ineffective. Trying to nap when the sun light is out, really through me off and then running with my weak and broken down body proved to be a bad decision on my part. Once the late afternoon arrived, Janna and I met Cody and Neil aka Berrylicious at The Running Centre and promptly drove to one of the local tracks where the WA marathon club hosted a 10,000m race. Cody was registered and hoped I could pace him through the 5k in just over 16 minutes while obviously my body had different plans so I was relegated to calling splits and taking pictures. Gerry aka G-money was also racing the 10k, his first on the track so I was cheering him on and updating each as to their positions in the race. Roberto Bussi, the local road racer was looking to hit the sub 30:30 mark in order to qualify for the Emil Zatopek 10,000m on the track later this season, so we knew it would be a fast race.
Sydney Olympic games High jump pit
It was exciting watching a track race again, I was half out of it but it still was pretty cool. I missed some of Cody's splits for him and mostly took crappy photo's but I tried none the less< G-money went balls to the walls from the start with the leaders and hit 4:53 at the mile and still managed a 4th place finish and sub 33 10k. Cody ran a very even race, basically leading some guy for 22 laps around the track whom was wearing an ipod and then eventually sped off over the last 1/4m to put a nice gap on him. 32:46 was Cody's official time, good enough to win a toolbox at the end of the night. I was ready to leave as the weather was actually pretty cold and not what I anticipated. 
10k Start
Cody & Gerry battling

 All in all everyone did very well and then we had the after party at "Macca's" aka McDonald's, yes I said it. 8 of us made our way to McDonald's were I ordered a double big mac and Cody picked out a milkshake. I was able to experience the locals to a whole new level while eating with my new friends. Some younger people ran into the building, making all kinds of noise, obviously very intoxicated. this is when I realized that the drinking age is 18 here and I was notified that many of the teens had some serious drinking issues, from what I could see was evident.
Oh man I really want a cheeseburger, it has been so long!

On Saturday morning we met up at the running centre just before I would embark on my 1st driving experience "down under".  I had to take my bike across town to Matt Illingsworth in order to have it pieced together so that I can start training.

 Here I am just before starting the Hyundai Accent, driving on the left hand side of the road, and shifting gears with my left hand. It was weird to say the least and the funniest thing of all I thought of was, can anyone just get a car and drive? I mean I don't have an international permit or insurance, oh well, keep it on the hush

Janna showed me how to get to a small town called SobiacoWTF
Tastings burger in Sobiaco

After we left the cafe', we found our way to the market, and this my 1st experience in a farmers market in all my years actually. Wow was it insane, people everywhere and fresh fruit everywhere! The prices were much cheaper than they would be at the supermarket so Janna and I picked up a few things amongst the chaos.

 We made our way to our final destination, "woolworths" which is a grocery in Perth that Janna prefers. It was basically like any traditional shop back home with a few exceptions of course. I noticed they had a section labeled "cordials", what the hell is that? I look closer and it looks like dish soap or something, so I had to snap a picture naturally. Ok, so I find out its basically like a concentrated drink mix that you blend w/water. It's actually pretty tasty and similar to any fruit drink back home.

 Gerry and his family kindly invited all of us over to their home for a dinner feast of sorts. We had some kind of excellent fish accompanied with vegetables, potato's, some cheese and a good portion of bread. I wanted to check out this whole Vegemite thing, so Gerry hooked me up with a bit on my bread. Boom! It was actually good, not sure I anticipated that but it was. He said that I could not lather the bread with it as I naturally would have but just spread it very lightly. THANKS AGAIN to the Hill family for hosting us, the food was amazing and healthy to boot! 

Vegemite! Not too bad, try it out sometime! The enormous bowl of fruit and vanilla ice cream to follow was the real treat. Freshly cut fruit is always good and when its topped with ice cream, its heaven. I may ask the Hill family to adopt me simply because they have a pool, make a feast at dinner time and have cable tele!


  1. Keep the post coming Chris. Enjoying your journey through the net.

  2. Glad your getting settled CL, hit me ur address when you get a moment. Hold it down.. under. Mike