Well I finally made it!!! . . . my luggage did not. My connecting flight arrived so close to when my flight for Australia left that they didn't have enough time to transfer the luggage, as it is I was lucky I made the flight; I had to leave the airport, hop on the train to take me to the international terminal and go through security again I walked on to the plane and the closed the doors right behind me. Hopefully it comes by tomorrow evening. The service on Qantas airways was wonderful; the plane held over 500 people with an upstairs where duty free items were sold. The people at baggage claim were also very helpful in tracking my luggage and gave me a $100 visa gift card to compensate for the inconveniences. After I sorted everything out I went through customs where I was greeted by a few of our orientation leaders. I am in Sydney right now and I will be here for orientation until the 16th,then I will fly to Perth where I will have orientation at the University.
We are currently staying at a youth hostel called YHA in the rocks district; it has many locations throughout Australia and New Zealand. The hostel was built on stilts around the ruins of one of the very first British colonies in Australia and a live dig is currently happening. We had our first group meeting with basic housekeeping information, received our cell phones and our room assignments. There are four people to a room with bunk beds, a bathroom with a shower and four bins that can be locked for our belongings. Everyone was pretty exhausted from traveling for the past 20 hours so we went to an early dinner in a town called darling harbor right on the water. Unfortunately we saw our first kangaroo - it was our dinner (we are going to a park with live ones tomorrow). All of the kangaroos are free range and the government actually supports them being killed and eaten because there are so many kangaroos in Australia that it is not safe for the kangaroos. Also, kangaroo meat is supposed to be one of the healthiest types of meet because it has very little fat. Even vegetarians will eat kangaroo meat because the animals were treated properly and the meat is so healthy. We had the rest of the evening free and were encouraged to not go to bed until after 9:00 so that we could start adjusting to the time change. So most of us just walked around exploring the area.