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nov 22, 2000
Three Days in Sydney... (more)

nov 18, 2000
Camping and Fishing on the Kiewa... (more)

nov 16, 2000
Rafting and TAFE-ing in New South Wales... (more)

nov 08, 2000
Wine, Horse Races, Roos on the Ridge and, yes! a bit of work... (more)

nov 05, 2000
3 B's Tour east of Canberra: Bywong, Braidwood, and Batemans Bay... (more)

nov 03, 2000
A day at the galleries... (more)
november 26, 2000
This section hops around a bit, so hold on to your maps! After a return from Sydney to Wagga Wagga on Wednesday, I got an early morning ride south to Albury with a TAFE teacher from Wagga who had business down south. It was a day to hang around the offices at the Riverina TAFE Albury, catch up on some computer work, and meet some more colleagues.

The evening was a special event. Back at home they were celebrating Thanksgiving, but for obvious reasons, that is not celebrated here. photo here But tonight was a dinner for the students graduating with their diplomas in Information Technologies (IT), and a celebration was planned at the college's on campus restaurant that is run and served by students in the hospitality program.

today's photos
- all photos   o o o o

o o CSU Albury / TAFE diploma night
starting # 45
o o Melbourne

All of the students had completed 6 months field projects, where they assisted local businesses and schools in networking, setting up databases, installing software/hardware, etc. The clients were invited to celebrate as well, and in between scrumptious food the students featured their projects in a creative and entertaining) multimedia show. This is an extremely effective program all around, for the students gaining real world experience, and for the community in receiving valuable IT support.

For Friday morning, my host from Albury TAFE, Gail, took me for a visit to the unique local campus of Charles Sturt University at w. Located in a green valley north of Albury, photo here this new facility was designed from the ground up to be photo here environmentally sound, energy efficient, and very much a place for learning in a peaceful setting. We were treated to a tour by lecturer Rob S, who has spent time researching number theory at University of Arizona, of all places! The campus walls are constructed of rammed earth, and chimneys, temperature controlled vents, and heat exchange are used to cool and warm the building without using electricity. Rain water is gathered in tanks for re-use, and grey water is biologically cleaned in a series of ponds. The main classroom building features several modern classrooms and a very large lecture hall that is in harmony with the rest of the campuses use of light and space.

In the late afternoon I was packed and ready to go for the 3:00 PM train to Melbourne... unfortunately, the train was not and did not show up until 4:15! Oh well. The ride to Melbourne, about 3 hours, was uneventful as it soared through more Australian countryside, and endless parade of farms, trees, and cattle.

But all of this melted away as we approached the edges of sprawling Melbourne, a large city of more than 3 million. From the first glances of warehouses and shopping centers, I thought I was in America! It took another 30 minutes to reach the downtown Spencer St train station, where I rolled off, and attempted to find the correct local train to my next destination. Melbourne has "heaps" of public transportation- trains, subways, trams, buses, and it is one confusing mess to me!

I was aiming for the St Alban's train line, and got three different suggestions from three different people. A loudspeaker announces the departing trains in an unintelligible accent distorted completely by blown audio speakers. Finally, I caught on and began asking the conductors of the trains that pulled into the station. Around 8:30 I rolled off at the West Footscray stop and met up with Minty, a multimedia developer I know through email only.

We walked around the corner to his house, which is also contains a studio that houses his multimedia company, nectarine. We went for a fantastic dinner at a local Vietnamese restaurant, making a mess of a delicious pile of food. The neighborhood is technically s suburb of Melbourne, though not far from downtown (train knowledge aside), and is ethnically diverse of Vietnamese, Ethiopian and about 100 other nationalities. photo here The next morning we walked to a local fresh meat and produce market, a crowded vibrant atmosphere of people hawking "3 dollar 3 dollar!" "Fresh calamari, right here!" of all locally grown or caught items. Later we took a hike along nearby Stony Creek, a small slice of nature cutting through the city. In the evening we went to a genuine Ozzie barbie (barbecue) in the St Kilda neighborhood and later walked out to the St Kilda pier to watch the city lights.

photo here Sunday morning we grabbed an early train to downtown to take in the city sights, starting at Southbank, across the Yarra river from the Flinders St Station. photo here From here, one has an eyefull of the Melbourne city skyline, a mixture of classic, before turn of the century buildings such as the train station and the modern glass and steel skyscrapers. The river is full of energetic people rowing up and down under the barking orders of a coach with a megaphone. There are crafts for sale beneath the shade of the bridges.

photo here We walk to the Shrine of Remembrance, a memorial to veterans of World War I, set among an open expanse of gardens. It is a foreboding structure; inside there photo here are displays of books with handwritten listings of all soldiers who fought the "war to end all wars" (well, that is before WWII). The interior is dark with a small skylight, and the brochures state that at 11:00 on November 11th (Australia's Remembrance Day to honor soldiers), the beam of light shines down on a plaque on the floor, with the beam hitting the word "love" in the plaque. The top of the shrine has a commanding view of downtown Melbourne.

photo here We take in the Botanical Gardens, Federal Square, and some shops in the central city, then hop a tram to a neighborhood near University of Melbourne to meet up with Minty's partner Bek, for lunch at an Italian Bistro. From there we drive out to a spot on the Yarra River where we spend an hour canoeing up the river.

Once again, it was a bit of a rush at 5:30 Pm to pack the bags, and catch another train, this time the Pakenham line. photo here The ride from downtown was an hour, to the village of "Berwick"... which is for no apparent reason not pronounced "burr-Wick" but "Bare-ick". I was here to meet up with Jan, a colleague I knew from Maricopa who moved here for good in 1994, where she makes a living providing educational consulting. Jan invited me to her home and a few days of sightseeing, and to meet her buddy, a (retired) greyhound named Thena.

But that travel comes under another day's news...

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