G’day from Down Under

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I’m writing this post whilst lying down on the beach waiting for the sun to set over the ocean. That’s pretty cool, huh.

It’s all a bit crazy. I’m on the other side of the planet from most of the people I know; we’re in the middle of winter, but earlier I was sunbathing in twenty degree heat and went for a dip in the sea; as I entered the beach, there was a sign – “Snakes on this reserve”. Not like a ‘Danger! Snakes!’, but more like a casual ‘meh, snakes’, like that is the least of your animal worries. I guess the great white sharks aren’t far from the coast.

 Welcome to Paradise

Welcome to Paradise

I am extremely lucky to be able to study engineering (if somehow I can go to lectures instead of the beach) at the University of Western Australia, in Perth – a replacement of my third year at Durham University. The plan at the moment is to stay in the southern hemisphere for the next fourteen months, travelling when I’m not studying. I’ll scribble (/type) in this blog so I have something to look back on when I’m back in Durham and forget what the sun looks like. The blog is also for my friends and family to see what I’m up to (I might as well just tell you now, it’ll basically just involve beaches, the sun, sunsets, the stars, dangerous/furry animal sightings, and more beaches). Ok, there’ll probably be some studying too. Lastly, I hope this blog will also encourage those first and second years, from Durham or any other university, to apply for a year abroad – maybe for some unknown reason you’d want to escape the British weather and live by the beach.

Look, it's a beach

Look, it’s a beach

I’ve only been here for a day now, but I’m already loving it. A free transfer service from the University dropped me and a couple other Durham students off yesterday night at our beach apartment that we are staying in for a week, and like little kiddies with the chance to go to a playground, we rushed off to the beach, despite the time of day. The stars were unbelievably bright – one thing you’ll probably learn about me as the blog progresses, I’m weirdly fascinated by the stars. So to lie down for an hour and actually watch the milky way for the first time in my life was the best start to my year I could ever ask for. An incredible shooting star was the cherry on top. I think I got some cool pics too.

Perth is awesome

Perth is awesome (Click to enlarge!)

I’ve spent the whole of today beachside. One thing that struck me apart from the endless expanse of beaches was that everyone is so friendly. The unwritten rule of no eye contact on the London tube that I was experiencing last week couldn’t be further (both metaphorically and literally) from how it is here. The waiter at our lunch restaurant, despite photobombing my foodpic, couldn’t have been funnier or more helpful. Perth also seems very ‘outdoorsy’, everyone is in running or cycling gear, or doing burpees on the beach. How couldn’t you when the worst of the winter weather is like a British summertime? People are also so chilled, I don’t think they’d ever say no to a barby on the beach in the arvo with a bevvy (I apologise, I can’t do the accent to save my life so have to resort to ‘aussie lingo’). I also saw a stereotype aussie today as I was walking to the beach – a surfer dude with long hair, a wetsuit and a surfboard tucked under his arm. I said hi, hoping he’d complete the stereotype and say ‘g’day’. Unfortunately he only went with a ‘what’s up man’. How disappointing.

The sun has just set, I better be getting inside to have dinner. I’ll write again soon, but I promise I won’t mention the beach another 15 times. I’m just quite excited to live right next to the ocean for a year.

The first of many ocean sunsets

The first of many ocean sunsets

This place is pretty perthfect.

Neal

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