Archive for the 'Australia' Category

Adios Australia, Hello Papua New Guinea!

January 29, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I’m writing from my hotel here in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. I flew through Brisbane, and my flight got delayed about two hours. The hotel is nice, and the airport pickup shuttle was waiting for me and one other woman just as we arrived. So far, so good! The plane that carried us to Port Moresby was called a Fokker 100. Ha! Fokker.

Yesterday was just a work day. I had meetings, finished up my survey, and packed up. All in all, I had a very positive experience surveying in Australia. I started another Words With Friends game with Bubbie and she’s already kicking my ass after three turns (I know… attitude!) I’m not sure I’ll be able to play here though because I can only use the Internet on one device and the computer takes priority.

Internet usage is also outrageously expensive here – it’s 100 Kina, 40 USD for 160 MB downloaded. I’m honestly unsure how many hours of checking email, g chatting, and blogging that 160 MB is going to get me, but we’ll see. If anyone reading this knows, please comment!  Do you think i’d be able to stream TV shows without it running out? If you go on a certain floor and buy a pass for that floor, you can use unlimited internet for the day on that floor and have access to breakfast and a happy hour. I’ll probably do that one day.

I’m really looking forward to work tomorrow!

Love, Annie

Working Monday in Perth

January 27, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you are well. This bird in the picture was really enjoying itself in the wind with its wings out. IMG_0830I woke up this morning feeling much better, ate breakfast and worked. Really that was about it. I ate lunch at the place I tried to eat dinner last night and had a much better experience. It was sunny today and I enjoyed walking to the different outlets in the nice weather. Tomorrow, some meetings!

Love, Annie

Happy Australia Day!

January 26, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you are well. Today is Australia Day here. Even though it’s just after 7, I have to get to bed. I’m feeling sick and IMG_0822I think it’s from being overtired and too much sun. This morning I got up really early and dealt with some issues concerning my apartment at home. My parents and Lev were so helpful and supportive and I want to thank them. I tried to go back to sleep but that didn’t work very well. I went to dim sum a bit later and it was okay, it’s better when you are with people.

After that I took the train to Cottesloe beach, which was the perfect thing to do on this day. IMG_0810There were many orange sandal shaped rafts rafts because Havaianias was having a promotion or event there. It was so crowded at one area, but there are miles and miles of beach to walk on, which is really cool, so it was easy to have a quiet area to walk around and swim. I got to swim in the ocean, one of my favorite activities ever, and the water was nice and warm. The waves were huge! People on the beach were friendly. I had a spray sunscreen so I only got burned on some areas. I had to be extra careful because I’ll be meeting with a client soon and didn’t want to look like an idiot who doesn’t use sunscreen properly. The wind as so strong on the beach that you couldn’t lie on the sand because the sand blew in your face. I understand why people brought tents and protective things to help shield them from the wind.

Near the end of the day, I started feeling sick with a pounding headache. IMG_0807I started to feel nauseated waiting for the train ride home and overly sensitive to smells. I prayed that I would not throw up on the train and thankfully did not. I tried to eat dinner at an italian restaurant and wasn’t able to even eat a small appetizer of tiny peppers stuffed with ricotta cheese, something I thought I was craving and would love. I ate some bread and drank seltzer water but kept feeling sicker. I confirmed something was definitely wrong because I could not eat, one of my other favorite activities. I purchased some Panadol on the walk back to the hotel. When I got to the room I threw up and showered and feel slightly better – better enough to write this – but still sick.

Tomorrow I will probably get up early and look forward to a productive work day.

Love, Annie

Hello Perth!

January 25, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you are having a nice weekend. It’s 1 AM on Sydney time, and I’m exhausted. I woke up at 5:15 this morning to get the flight. Before the flight got to talk to my dad who has started his recovery. 🙂 The flight went well. I read the whole time. I’m still reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and it’s so good. I read another of her books, Half of a Yellow Sun, during my most recent Africa survey in August, and loved it as well.

The hotel is not as good as I expected. That’s one thing that can really mess you up while traveling, at least for me – having expectations that are not met. IMG_0791I try to not have expectations for things I really know nothing about, but sometimes I slip up. I worked all afternoon, taking a break at a Korean restaurant for lunch to get one of my favorite foods, bibimbap. It was fine, but the place we go to with my Bubbie, Misono in Brookline, MA, is better.

After working I took a walk down the Riverside drive near the water. It was somewhat obstructed due to construction … there is so much construction going on here. The walk was beautiful. After that walk and a short work out, I headed for dinner. I passed Chinatown and some good (standard) looking dim sum places. IMG_0796I kind of want to eat dim sum tomorrow but may not because that might be pretty depressing to have it by yourself. I went to a trendy Japanese restaurant where they definitely forgot one of my dishes so I was waiting a while. It occured to me that sitting alone in a restaurant like this one is pretty odd. It’s more obvious that you’re alone when everyone is speaking the language you can understand.

I got back to my room and heard “party rockers” (the song) really loud coming from the room next to me. There were some loud guys next door that were clearly here to party. I asked to switch rooms so now I’m in a different room but it’s next to the elevator, they said that’s the only one they have that still honors the upgrade I was given upon check in. I don’t care (it’s just minimally annoying) because it’s better to hear the elevator than to hear loud guys. I was pretty nervous, uncomfortable even, about what I might have heard later on in the evening.

I’m so lucky to be doing what I do that it seems unreasonable to be upset or in a sad mood like I am now. But I sometimes get stressed and homesick, and I don’t want to share any sad thoughts or cry to the people I love the most because I don’t want to worry them. I think tomorrow will be a better day, it’s a Sunday so a day off. Also, it’s Australia day.


See ya, Sydney!

January 24, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you are well. My last day in Sydney was very nice. Sydney is one of the most pleasant (and most expensive) places I’ve ever surveyed! I’m feeling very lucky to have come here for work and not on my own expense. Today I worked in the morning, stopped for a sushi lunch, and finished work around 2:00 p.m.

IMG_0769For my half day free, I took the bus to Bondi beach. It was an interesting ride and didn’t take very long. The beach was really wide open and only crowded in some spaces. I walked around on the beach  and got the bottom of my jeans wet and then went in to some shops. I bought a bathing suit because I had forgotten to bring mine.

I talked with the women working at the store, they were really nice. IMG_0771They must have noticed that I was surprised at how nice and helpful they were being and we discussed how many people who work in retail around Sydney, especially in the rich areas, tend to ignore you and come off really mean. This has certainly been my experience. IMG_0778My job requires going in to a lot of stores, so I think I’m an expert, and I’ve noticed that people here have been way more unhelpful in stores around Sydney than in stores in any other city I can remember.

After that, I did the coastal walk from Bondi beach to Bronte beach. It was an excellent experience. The pictures so far are from Bondi beach and the coastal walk. This next one is inside the Queen Victoria Building. The walk was

IMG_0748so beautiful and just the right length, taking about a half hour to forty five minutes. It wasn’t too sunny so it didn’t get uncomfortably hot. To get back, I took the bus back to Bondi Junction train stop, and took the train back to Town Hall station, right near the hotel.

I had an earlier dinner at Chef’s Gallery Chinese fusion food again because there were more things on the menu I wanted to try. IMG_0781I didn’t have to wait in line because it was only around six. It was delicious. After dinner I did some more walking around and spent a while in a Japanese bookstore with cool pens and pen cases, and then packed up. Tomorrow morning I head to Perth. This trip will be similar in length to the trip from Boston to California, a three hour time difference!

Perth is in the same time zone as Hong Kong so it’s a little easier to figure out, 13 hours ahead. Sydney is 16, and Port Moresby is 15. Auckland is 18. I hadn’t written that out before so maybe it will be helpful for my family. See you from the other side of Australia!


Thirsty Thursdy in Sydney

January 23, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,


I hope you are well. Today was another great day. It’s hard to believe that this is only the second full day in Sydney. Back at home, my dad is getting surgery in a few hours on his shoulder, so please as you read this send him some good luck vibes for a successful procedure and speedy recovery!!!!

I had meetings in the morning and afternoon and worked in between the meetings.

IMG_0675The first meeting was in a suburb of Sydney and I took the metro there. It was expensive but easy to use and very clean. The second meeting was in a different suburb of Sydney called Double Bay. After the meetings, I had a mani pedi at a very reasonable shop, then worked out.


In the evening, I walked around Circular Quay, the area with the opera house. I went IN the opera house! For dinner, I went back to the Rocks area to a very fancy Japanese restaurant where one roll of maki costs 20 dollars. I had a delicious cocktail there with gin, jalepeño, and cucumber. Pictured are the “sashimi tacos” that were paired with sake.

Right now, I’m cold and really excited to get in to bed. I have just a bit more to finish tomorrow and then will probably have time to do something relaxing.

Love, Annie

Working Around Sydney

January 22, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you are having a nice week. Today was pleasant and productive. In the morning, I had a meeting over coffee. The woman I met with made it so easy – she picked me up at my hotel!


While waiting for her, I had a nice chat with the doorman/ suitcase grabber of the hotel who told me all about picking up girls in Sydney and in Perth. He let me know that there are plenty of cute girls in Sydney but even more cute girls in Perth. After the meeting, I did a lot of price collecting in a few department stores, some hotels, and a grocery store. I stopped for lunch a Japanese restaurant and had ramen and sushi.

In the afternoon, I worked from my hotel and then for dinner ate at Chef’s Gallery, a cool restaurant that serves contemporary chinese food. IMG_0671In the picture, you can see Peking Duck Roti, one of the specialties. While those were fantastic, I thought some of the other food was only okay. I got some lightly dressed cucumbers as an appetizer (they have that on a lot of menus and I needed some veggies) but they weren’t nearly as good as the ones Lev’s dad made just the other day. Now I am excited to catch up on shows and then go to sleep.

So far, here are some impressions of Sydney so far:

IMG_0660It’s extremely expensive here, especially for food in restaurants. My really basic lunch today at a not fancy restaurant was 26 dollars. I ate four pieces of sushi, a bowl of regular ramen, and a can of unsweetened green tea.

-The city is pretty clean and the downtown district is very walkable.

-The white Australians I’ve spoken with all seem to have a problem with the number of Chinese people living here, and blame them for the high real estate prices.

-It’s not as hot as I expected, and in the nights you need a light jacket.

-Most of the people walking around are in excellent shape!

Love, Annie

Hello and Good Evening from Sydney!

January 21, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope you are well. I’m now on the February survey writing from Sydney, Australia. IMG_0635It was pretty difficult to get here, but worth it. This survey, I will be in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and New Zealand. Then, after a break, to Dominican Republic and Trinidad. It’s quite the trip, and even more exciting because it’s so wintery at home. Today was a recovery (from travel) day in Sydney.


Before I was able to get into my hotel room, I walked around downtown and around the Rocks area. For lunch, I had a bento box. I got a glimpse of the famous opera house but didn’t get the greatest view.

After checking in to my room, I did a little bit of work and then worked out. IMG_0649I’m trying to quickly get on Sydney time. In the evening, I took a walk around Chinatown and ate dinner at Din Tai Fung, my favorite soup dumpling chain restaurant that I discovered in Taiwan over one year ago. I got really excited that they have branches in Sydney. I missed the smell of the ginger + vinegar + soy dipping sauce.

I’ll write more about first impressions of Australia when I’m less tired.

Love, Annie