Getting Oriented: Turning Right Side Up In the Land Down Under

Posted by: valerina

February 22nd, 2011 >> Australia, Sydney

Getting Oriented Via Orientation

After being picked up from the airport we were taken to a hotel conference room at the Vibe Hotel in downtown Sydney. We were given the chance to pick up pre purchased cell phones or buy one ourselves and then were given an overview of what would happen for the next few days.

Then we were given our hotel room assignments and our roommates and walked over to the hotel we were actually staying at which was a block or two down the road. While everyone else struggled to cross streets and get into elevators with their luggage, this was not an obstacle for me seeing as I was still without mine.

Our hotel accommodations for orientation are at the Meriton World Towers, which is GORGEOUS. It is one of the highest buildings in Sydney and no one in our orientation group is on a floor below 68. The rooms are more like apartements, each one consisting of a full kitchen, three bedrooms, a common room with couches, tv, and dining area, two full bathrooms with steam showers and Jacuzzi tubs and a washer and dryer. And all of this is set on a backdrop of the whole city. The views from every window of our room are spectacular. From my bedroom window I have a sweeping view of the whole city clear to the ocean. I can even see the Olympic stadium. At night it is even more stunning.

We were given a few hours to shower and change before we had to be back downstairs for dinner. Not having any clean clothes to change into I washed the ones I had on and then put them back on after I had showered. Once back downstairs we were led downtown to Darling Harbor where we had our first meal at the Yellow Bird Café which faces the water.

We were encouraged to order Kangaroo off of the menu. Apparently there is a national movement to eat more kangaroo meat since it has only 2% fat and a much higher protein content than traditional beef. Kangaroos are also not farmed or raised commercially; they are just so plentiful that they can be caught out of the wild. I didn’t order it, but almost all the boys did and the consensus seemed to be that it tasted a lot like steak, but since the fat content of it is so low it can’t be cooked for very long, so it is served fairly rare.

While I passed on the kangaroo I did not pass up an opportunity to get my first legal cocktail. I felt so dangerous ordering one. But here in Australia where the drinking age is 18 I am legal and apparently they are not nearly as uptight about carding as they are in the US. I ordered a drink called a “greek date” which had mango liquor in it along with lime, lemon, peach and something else. It was quite tasty, and the view we had of the ocean only made it that much better.

It is an odd thing that happens when you put a large group of people together who do not know eachother, but they tend to typically separate by gender. It’s like kindergarden all over again, they boys sit with the boys and the girls sit with the girls. At dinner our group of 80 or so were given four very long tables to sit at. There were three tables of mostly girls and one table of mostly guys. There were a few exceptions but generally speaking you would think we were afraid of cooties or something.

After dinner we were given the rest of the night to do as we pleased. While a few people wanted to go out and explore the nightlife, I knew that jet lag was soon to catch up with me and deliver a swift kick to the arse, so I headed back to the hotel and checked on the status of my luggage. The front desk informed me that it would arrive that night between 7-10 pm, and since it was close to 9pm at the time I figured I could stay awake till 10. Wrong. I attempted to watch television for about 4 minutes before beginning to nod off and then I finally gave in and crawled into bed. Seconds after my head hit the pillow I was fast asleep….

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 at 10:32 pm and is filed under Australia, Sydney. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
One Response to “Getting Oriented: Turning Right Side Up In the Land Down Under”

Your trip already sounds so glamorous yet relaxing! I’m sitting here shaking my head and smiling because you are halfway across the world right now.