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oct 24, 2000
Train to Auckland- Parnell sites and Waiheke Island ... (more)

oct 21, 2000
City scenes and a run for rings in Wellington ... (more)

oct 19, 2000
Sunny in Abel Tasman and fine wine in Nelson ... (more)

oct 17, 2000
Hokitika, Punakaiti, beaches, pancakes, horses, and caves ... (more)

oct 15, 2000
Wanaka and rainy days at Franz Josef Glacier... (more)

oct 14, 2000
Natalie arrives! Te Anau & a night on Milford Sound ... (more)

oct 12, 2000
Invercargill, Athol flat tires, and snow on the long route to Queenstown ... (more)
october 26, 2000
I have survived the all night scene at the Auckland Airport. At 10:40 PM I sadly saw Natalie's plane lift off on its way back to Phoenix (without a boarding pass I could not go with her through customs to the gate). au location map

I ventured back to the terminal, grabbed a "long black" (espresso) and found a table to perch on for the next few hours, catching up on the web site updates. Gradually the last passengers boarded planes at 11:00 PM, midnight, 1:00 AM, the shops winked off, and the silent cleaning crew moved across the floors. By 5:00 AM, the place started coming back to life, and I quickly checked in and headed through customs. There is this odd thing here where you have to stop by a bank line and purchase a $22 departure fee. Oh well.

The flight to Australia was calm and uneventful, exactly what one desires perched in a 747 flying several hundred miles per hour across open ocean. The view into Sydney was clear and I began trying to pick out the buildings I thought I knew from the Olympics.

At the gate, I was met by John, my contact for my visit to Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT)-- he had kindly left home at 5:30 Am to meet me! John took me for a detour into downtown Sydney, seeing the varied architecture, Olympic remnants, and lots of people rushing around. The roads around here are pretty confusing, so i was glad I was not behind the wheel.

today's photos
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o o Canberra

Eventually the highways lead out of the last urban/suburban fringes of sydney into open and vast tracts of forest ("gum trees"), ranches, and distant grey/black subdued mountains. photo here We stopped for lunch in the town of Goulburn, at a place with a humongous and terribly ugly statue of a Merino sheep. I was told that Australia is full of towns with oversized tributes to oysters, bananas, prawn, and other outlandish objects.

We got to Canberra, the government capital of Australia, which is a planned city/state similar to Washington DC. I'll have more to write about Canberra as I get to see more, but at first glance it is a place full of well maintained homes and buildings, large corporate and government facilities, all lush with greenery and bush of assorted other colors.

John took me for a brief visit to his work place at the Southside CIT campus and then met up with Allan, who would be hosting me at his house for my stay here. photo here After dinner at Allan's house, he took me to a nearby paddock where he keeps his horse, Tom. Allan rescued the horse from a one-way trip to a certain type of factory when Tom's horse trotting days were over.

photo here But the grand finale was seeing the bounding welcome committee- a group of kangaroos that hang out near the horses. What a hoot for me as a tourist! The are one of the oddest sites to see especially as they take off bouncing like furry covered springs, like some comical animal tossed together out of spare parts.

The next day I settled into a corner of John's office at CIT. For lunch, I got to meet with a group of "Flexible Learning Leaders", photo here a group of staff from institutions all over Australia participating in a fellowship type program that provides professional growth as people supporting distance/technology enhanced learning. We had a tasty lunch at the CIT Reid Campus, where their hospitality program students have a cafe.

After lunch, we convened to another room to share their projects and then I got a chance to talk a bit about my role at Maricopa. This was a valuable connection as several participants are at institutions that are on or near my travel over the next few weeks.

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