Chapter 1: Humidity sucks

February is the warmest month of the year here, and coming from Arizona where February is usually one of the colder months, the humidity is deadly. Every Australian I’ve seen thus far has had a perfect golden brown tan, the kind you usually only see on chocolate chip cookies. So far everybody I’ve talked to has been super helpful, and Uber drivers should really be considered tour companies.

I haven’t really had a chance to meet any other exchange students, but chalk that up to being completely out of my element, in what seems like a similar, yet different world.

I’ve learned so far that Australians speak in much simpler terms. They cuss a lot, and past noon almost nobody has a shirt on (unless you have a beautiful famers tan, like me). I was at the beach wednesday and one girl told me I had a “sticker” on the back of my leg. I asked “what does it say?”. She giggled and said to just look. It was not a sticker, it was a jellyfish. As I was walking down the beach it must have been knocked up by a wave and landed square on the back of my calf.

Surfers Paradise beach

Further north lies Surfers Paradise, a beautiful stretch of beach meets downtown city. The urban area is more like a giant outdoor mall with tons of shops, restaurants, and bars. There was something to do for just about everyone, but the hot sand and beating humidity made it difficult to just be in the sand.

Food in the area had anything you wanted. Pub style food, which was all a bit too American for me. Unique restaurants with Asian/Middle Eastern inspired menus and a handful of small mom-and-pop cafes. I found one restaurant in the Lonely Planet’s guide to Australia (the best publisher of travel books in my opinion) recommended this one Italian restaurant called Baritalia, and I found it completely by accident.

Words cannot describe how good it was

It was delicious. Mussels in a tomato and white wine sauce and cheesy bread to boot. Tucson readers can find a similar dish, and amazing flavor at Kingfisher (not a paid ad for Kingfisher).

Next up on the calendar is a Pre-Orientation trip to Byron Bay, the eastern most point of Australia. If you haven’t already followed me on Instagram @_samlocke I will be trying to post a picture of my adventure down under every day (that I’m not studying).