The End

The End

I honestly do not want this experience to come to an end.  My friends and I have spoken about it with each other, and we all would be so satisfied if we could stay here an extra month and enjoy Australia thoroughly without the worry of school work getting in the way of our desire to explore more.  Unfortunately, the good times must come to an end at some point and in this case it is sooner rather than later.

I am so happy and so grateful for the time I was able to spend here in Sydney.  I was able to travel and see the Southern Hemisphere – something I might never be able to do again (once life sets in and responsibilities make it more difficult to see the world).  This experience has been truly unforgettable.  I have made friends here that I have no doubt I will carry back with me to America.  I was able to interact with locals, and befriend a couple of them, and learn a lot about the history of Australia and be immersed in its culture.

There are so many things I am going to miss while I am here.  For instance, the white sand beaches and clear blue waters, the normally very sunny weather, and the fact that ibis birds are as common on the streets of Sydney as pigeons are in NYC.  I am going to miss Woolsworth – also known as Woolie’s to locals – and walking down George street on my way to class every day.  I am going to miss how clean and fresh the produce feels and tastes, and being able to hop on a ferry to go to Manly beach whenever I want.  I will miss being able to look down into the water and see the bottom, or see all the lively fish swimming about – that is something that is impossible to see in the Hudson or West River back in Manhattan.

I thought I would miss New York City more than I did.  Manhattan will always be my home, but I did not feel a strong homesickness that incapacitated me.  Of course, whenever I saw a picture of home I would miss it, but it was always a fleeting heartache that would be quickly replaced with the joy of being here and trying new things.  Sydney is so much like NYC with its thriving metropolis and easy transportation system.  I always used to believe that I could never live anywhere but New York, but now I could picture myself here in Sydney should I ever have to leave Manhattan.

I am happy that I took this course as well.  Because I am not always faithful to writing in my journal every day, I am grateful that I had this course to more or less force me to reflect on my experiences here as they were happening, so that I will be able to come back a week, a month, a year, or a decade later and reread about my escapades traveling to New Zealand, or with Airbnb, or just my time here in general.  Thanks to this course, I will never forget Australia and I will always hold onto the memory dearly.

There is a word to describe something that I am fearing will happen when I return home: ruckkehrunruhe: “the feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness,” but with this course, I will be able to look back on my time here with great fondness.

The Wonderful Land of Oz

The Wonderful Land of Oz

Having been here for a full three months now and sadly finishing my fourth, I can proudly say I have made the most of my time abroad in Sydney, Australia. There is a lot to be explored here and unfortunately the truth of the matter is that you probably will be unable to see everything there is to see in the short time you have here. I was lucky enough to see most of my checklist, including New Zealand, Melbourne and Cairns, with a spattering of places within Sydney as well. Although I have less than a month left, I am hoping to squeeze in one last trip to the Gold Coast and Brisbane, although I was really hoping to see the Outback and explore some Bush.

Besides the undoubted urge you will have to explore this part of the Southern Hemisphere, there are a few things to take into account if you should choose to spend your study abroad experience here. For one, Australian colonial history is oddly similar to America. Instead of Native Americans, Australia is home to the Aborigines who have inhabited the land for 40,000 years. Some of the tribes still exist after European colonization, and there is extreme tension between the two parties that are still struggling for resolution today. Because of this, there are racist sentiments that still surprisingly exist here. Now in America, there are of course racial incidents that occur all the time, but the main difference between America and Australia is that there is more publicity and social outcry in the States when such racism happens. The media and the public are quick to voice their opinions about such matters, while in Australia that tendency is still rather weak. The casualness of some racist comments here was surprising to me. I’m unused to such ignorance having come from such a diverse and liberal city like New York.

Another very important thing to take into consideration is the thin layer of ozone protecting Australians from the harmful UV radiation of the sun. If you should choose to study here, it is of the utmost importance to slather on the sunscreen. When I first arrived and spent a day at the beach, I thought I had applied a fairly decent amount but wound up sunburned anyways (you must keep reapplying).

Finally, you will have to get accustomed to first looking right and then left when crossing a street. When I first got here, I nearly got run over by a taxi because I was so accustomed to the other way around. And when renting a car in New Zealand, our friend almost had us killed by an oncoming truck because she looked left and started driving instead of right.

Other than these three main points, there is absolutely nothing to fear or worry about when traveling to Australia. Yes, there are bugs that can get pretty large, but when you are in the city, specifically places like Sydney and Melbourne, you will be fine. And yes there are kangaroos and koalas and crocodiles, but unless you’re visiting the zoo or traversing the Bush or outback alone, you should be completely fine.

I had and am having a wonderful time here and I honestly wish I could stay longer. I have made friends that I am going to be sad to leave here in the land of Oz, but am so happy and grateful to have had the opportunity to meet them and be immersed in Australian culture. You’ll find that should you choose to study here, it is just different enough from America that you will have a refreshingly new and wonderful time.

Borders of Creativity

Borders of Creativity

I have been drawing ever since I was able to grasp a Crayola crayon in my hands.  I always knew I wanted to make something out of this passion of mine but I was often reminded about the struggling artist’s plight.  In high school, I discovered the world of computer art – specifically, graphic design and simple Adobe Flash animation.  I was hooked.  I realized that I was able to apply the skill I took the most pleasure to an actual industry that would allow me to thrive a notch or two above my fellow starving artist.  So I pursued that with as much drive as I could, taking on multiple internships and learning all about the Adobe Suite.

In college I found myself at a liberal arts school instead of a fine arts conservatory.  I maintained that I wanted to continue my graphic design vocation, but was sidetracked with general education courses.  Still, I took on multiple graphic design internships and kept that creative part of myself alive.  Being immersed in the professional world, I was pushed to try new techniques and develop my own brand and eventually I fell upon the art of hand drawn animation.  It started off as a piece of content for my company’s client, but then blossomed into a world of creativity I didn’t know existed.  I was sucked into the world of Instagram and Vine, publishing animations very regularly all of my Fall 2015 semester.  I’d put out new work two or three times a week and was on a roll, always thinking of new things I could work on.  Spanning the entire duration of the past two months, I have published a total of five animations.

When I got accepted into the Sydney Spring 2016 program, I was happy but also incredibly thrilled for my art.  I came to the southern hemisphere thinking that I would be constantly inspired by seeing new and beautiful things – things I had never seen before and would experience with fresh eyes.  And although this was true, I did in fact get a chance to look at amazing, gorgeous landscapes and try new and delicious foods, my art suffered.  At first I brushed it off as jetlag.  I excused my diminishing passion as an adjustment period to a completely new city and culture.  The unfamiliar vexed my spirit more than I had calculated it would, and I would lay in bed racking my brain for the motivation and creativity that flowed so easily back home in New York City.

It would seem as though once I passed through the Australian customs and set foot in Sydney, all the excitement and bright hopes I had for my animations disappeared.  I lost a lot of the drive I had and could not seem to get it back.

I wound up pushing myself a lot harder than I would ever have to do back in the States.  It became a pain to drag out my drawing tablet, boot up my computer and draw frame by frame each element of animation that I once found so relaxing and fun.  Regardless, I kept pushing through for the sake of my art career.

There were multiple times these past couple of months where my lack of motivation made me fretful.  I wanted to give up animation completely and figured throwing the towel in would be easier.  But fantastically enough, each time I felt like quitting something amazing would happen – an animation would be featured on Vine’s Twitter account or on Vine’s Art Page and I would feel as though all the hard work I have put in thus far has actually meant something.  These little nods of recognition would restore a little bit of the faith I had in myself back in NYC and it is that faith I have in myself that I have been clutching onto and using to produce what few animations I have created while being abroad.

Forgetting & the Future

Forgetting & the Future

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” We’ve all heard that question before, if not asked it personally.

When I was little, I didn’t really have a response to that. I knew what society expected of me, what my mother wanted me to do, and what all my friends were planning. And I think I adopted their expectations, succumbed to peer pressure and just did whatever everyone else was doing, claiming I wanted the same so as not to feel out of place.

Sometimes I look back on my life and the choices I have made that have gotten me to the point where I am today. Five years ago, little high schooler me would not have been able to fathom the place I am in today. It’s funny. When you’re young and in the present, all you can think about is a few days from the now. There was a part of me that realized back then that I had a lot to achieve and that things could change drastically for me if I kept working hard. But mostly during those years I was caught up in the moment and how stuck I was. Stuck in the same routine, stuck with the same people, stuck in the same city. At the time, there was a looming presence that made me feel trapped and suffocated – there was only so much I could do, so far I could go, before I was yanked back on my constraining leash.

Looking back now, I wish I could explain to my older self just how much can change in such a short period of time. There are ups and downs, but it all generally improves. I have a lot to be grateful for and a lot that I don’t want to forget, especially during my time abroad.

This is why, for the first time since third grade, I have dedicated myself to keeping a journal where I can record my thoughts, feelings and experiences while I am away. I want to remember everything, even the most minor detail of this trip. It pains me sometimes to look back and think about how quickly everything has passed by. I can distinctly remember being back in America and having my friends and family ask me about why I chose to study abroad in Australia. And now the time is winding down where I’ll be going home soon and the present that I am in will become the past and a fading memory. I’m worried that I won’t be able to hold onto this experience tightly enough and that I will forget.

So every few days, I do my best to write down what has happened here so that I will be able to look back in five years and remember my time here in Sydney.

I am 20. If you asked me where I see myself in five years, I still wouldn’t be able to give you a precise answer. So much has already changed for me in the past five years, so I can’t determine what will happen in the future. But I really hope that based on the trajectory of my past that I will continue on the positive path I’m following and can look back when I am 25 with fond memories and even more anticipation for the future.

 

Airbnb Debacle

Airbnb Debacle

It had been an exciting morning – everyone was packing up their weekend travel bags and suitcases with more clothes than they needed, more makeup than was necessary and more snacks than should be allowed.  Once our carry-ons were stuffed to the brim, we had all gone over our itineraries and checklists a seventh time before gathering together in the lobby of Urbanest, our home away from home, to wait for a taxi to take us to the airport.  We had managed to get a late flight out of Sydney very inexpensively, which was a pleasant surprise that we were all grateful for (we will all take as much sleep as we can get).  While waiting for our cab, we all chattered excitedly about what the next ten days had in store for us.  This was definitely going to be the most exciting Spring Break we have ever had.

The plan was New Zealand.  We were going to fly into Christchuch, on the southern island, and stay in an Airbnb for 5 days there before we flew to Auckland on the north island to finish our trip once again in an Airbnb.  With our large group of five people, our living accommodations were actually much cheaper than we had expected since we could split the cost amongst ourselves.  Although we wanted to have a good time, we did not want to spend all our money in one go.

The cab finally arrived and we were whisked away to the Sydney International Airport, where we hastily checked in and went through security only to find ourselves with plenty of time to spare.  Better safe than sorry, right?  The time came around for us to board our plane, and we were getting tired.  It was night time at this point, and when we landed in Christchurch it was actually 1AM (due to the 2 hour time difference).  We all gratefully got off the plane with our luggage and took a cab to our Airbnb, knowing that we had spoken specifically beforehand with the owner about our absurdly late/early check in time.

We got out of the cab and reread the check in instructions – there was supposed to be a key that was hidden near the door, but we could not find it.  We knocked on the door hesitantly, listening carefully and hearing the snoring of a man inside.  We knocked again.  The man woke up and came to the door, but would not open it or let us inside.  Instead, he yelled at us to get off the property.  We tried to plead our case, telling him of the Airbnb rental and how the owner, Neha, was supposed to know more about it.  He refused and got angrier, threatening to call the cops and one of our friends who was able to speak Hindi tried to calm him down but only managed to get him more riled up.

Upset, exhausted and just wanting to sleep, we were at a loss.  What do we do?  The man on the other side of the door kept screaming that he would call the cops, so in an attempt to strike first we called them instead and explained the entire situation.  They were friendly, but were unable to help us and instead called a cab company to pick us up and find a hotel for us.  At this point, it was 3AM and we were even more irritated at the entire situation.  A cab finally came and drove us around for an hour, trying to a motel that had a vacancy and that was open.  After a lot of searching, we finally found a place that could accommodate all five of us and settled down for the night.

But we were still upset – we had just been cheated out of a night at an Airbnb that we had specifically indicated would be an early/late check in time.  We messaged the owner, who also told us to get off the property long after we were already gone.  After an exchange of hostile messages infused with lack of sleep and irritation, we called Airbnb to establish our case.  Fortunately, they were able to read the messages between the owner and us and they saw that we were in fact in the right. We were promptly reimbursed for our stay with Neha, as well as our time in the hotel, and given a $100 voucher for future use at Airbnb.

All in all, the whole debacle ended very well because had it not happened, we would have been stuck in Christchurch with very little to do. Instead, we were able to have an impromptu road trip to Queenstown where we wound up having much more fun and seeing truly beautiful places.

The Songlines

The Songlines

Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines explores and gives light to two of the most uniquely Australian entities: the romanticized bush myth and the tension between the Aboriginals and white Australia. In The Songlines, Arkady is a man who loves to explore the Australian outback and bush and has a deep appreciation for the Aboriginals who inhabit the land. He is described as a “tireless bushwalker” (2) who could walk for miles at a time with very little food and water under the hot Australian sun. With this type of connection to the land, his admiration of Aboriginals is less than shocking. He learns many of the tribal dialects and seems to be very connected to the indigenous people and the land they live on, “He liked their grit and tenacity, and their artful ways of dealing with the white man. He had learnt, or half-learnt, a couple of their languages and had come away astonished by their intellectual vigor, their feats of memory and their capacity and will to survive” (2). Arkady winds up becoming a teacher and advocate for Aborginals, fighting for their “essential liberty: the liberty to remain poor, or, as he phrased it more tactfully, the space in which to be poor if they wished to be poor” (3).

This book is a fine example of the Australian bush myth. During the Second Industrial Revolution in the 1880s, Australia was beginning to establish its cultural identity, flourishing in the arts and literature. These artists and writers drew upon one of Australia’s most iconic natural wonders: the bush. The bush had an uncommon landscape and was filled with wild mystery and thus began to develop into a symbol of equality and freedom. This distinctly Australian landmark became a source of inspiration for many of these new artists and writers, and continued to be a hallmark for creativity. In Chatwin’s The Songlines, the bush is described as a vast landscape where Arkady can roam freely. Arkady is a man built to be free – he is not meant for some cramped office space. He explores and loves the bush and its people. He is the epitome of a bushman and contributes to the romanticized and idealized vision of the Australian bush.

The Songlines also explores the tensions between the indigenous people and their white invaders. As described in the book, the Australian government and mining companies are constantly trying to capitalize off of Aboriginal tribal land for its natural resources and the indigenous people are constantly forced to fight them off. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. But there is always a struggle between the two forces and a deep-seeded hatred that was present since the first white man stepped onto Australian soil and is still present today. There is an under current of racism that flows through Australia, which is ironic considering the government touts its multiculturalism. Unfortunately, the multiculturalism that the government is so proud of is not effective enough in making amends to the indigenous people from whom they stole all the land that we live on right now. And until that happens, there will always be a tug of war between the two entities

Traveling with Friends

Traveling with Friends

I just spent 10 consecutive days with friends I met two months ago. Two months does not seem like a long time, but being in a program where you tend to stay with the people you meet through it usually accelerates the friendship tenfold. Because I cook, eat, study, hang out and go to class with these people, I have naturally become closer to them much more quickly than I would have had I been back in New York. But here in Sydney, it feels as though we are almost glued to the hip.

Now this can be a good and bad thing. It can be difficult to find people you trust and are comfortable enough with. It is comforting to know you have a solid friend group that you can go to with your random thoughts and feelings, to explore with, to study with, or to even be surprised with when you happen to be sitting alone in your room and they come in with 1AM McDonald’s. And honestly, I am quite content with this closeness that we have established amongst our friend group, since I know that at the end of the day I can still come back to my room and have a moment to myself. Having privacy is important to me, and being a natural introvert I find that I need time to recharge away from friends and other people.

So what happens now that you have found your solid group of friends and Spring Break is coming up? Naturally you plan to spend it together, since you like these people and they like you. You plan out travel methods: cabs, planes, renting a car, public transportation, etc., and you plan out food, living accommodations and all of the sights you want to see at the different places you have picked out. You are going to do everything together 24/7 for 10 days without a break. A part of you is excited but another part of you dreads the idea of not having a moment of privacy.

The first day in, and everyone is doing alright. The car that you rented with your friends is small and a tight fit for five people but you make it work. Your sleeping schedules have been messed up because your flight landed at midnight and one of the Airbnb plans fell through, so you were stuck trying to find a hotel at 3AM. A few more days, and you have fun exploring your new surroundings and doing touristy things like visiting the Milford Sound (which is actually a fjord) and stargazing.

Halfway through the trip, you all take a 6AM flight from southern New Zealand to the north island. There was less than mediocre sleep for everyone at the airport, you’re all exhausted and not allowed to check into your Airbnb until the late afternoon. Everyone is running on adrenaline and is ready to crash later. Exhaustion kicks in and people start getting on each others’ nerves.

With a lot of much needed rest, things get a little better and everyone goes to see the many beautiful beaches natural landscapes that Auckland has to offer – such as Mount Eden and One Tree Hill. The last day of the trip, we finish things off at Hobbiton – a film set for the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit which is nestled into the hill side of northern New Zealand. Wrapping things up, the trip was overall fun but the lack of alone time and constantly being with your friends has tired you out and you’re ready to go back to the dorms so you can sleep in peace and shower without someone knocking on the door because they have to use the bathroom.

I just spent consecutive 10 days with my friends and I love them. But I am so glad to be back in my own bed and unwind away from them.

Spring Break

Spring Break

After an upsetting misunderstanding with a woman renting her house through Airbnb, we decided to leave Christchurch and road trip to Queenstown. The weather was cooler than we had expected so we bundled up and into the shabby pre-2003 Nissan Sunny that we rented. I remember that morning – we left at 6am and we were all exhausted. None of us were used to driving with a steering wheel on the right side of the car, and the one friend who volunteered was unconfident as a driver. Nervous, we had no other choice but to trust her. We stayed wide awake during the first half of the trip, backseat driving and reminding her to signal and check her mirrors.

Five of us crammed into the Nissan made for a tight and claustrophobic ride but with hourly breaks and plenty of snacks along the way, we managed to muddle through. At first we drove through small towns, but the buildings gave way to farmlands after a couple of hours. The different shades of green were more vibrant than I had seen in a while and the countless sheep and cattle we passed by grazed happily. The acres and acres of healthy farm animals reminded me how the meat we eat at home is inorganic and inhumanely treated. As we drove by, slowly the bright green meadows grew into hills and mountains that stood tall and stoic. We went through miles of winding roads and up and down hilly paths. Approaching our destination, we encountered a few natural water sources tinted a cerulean blue that seemed almost unreal. Of course we had to stop along the way and get out of the cramped car so we could inspect the beauty of the landscapes we were rushing through.

At a lake we did not manage to find the name of, we parked the car across the highway and made a run for it across the road so that we could get closer to the water. The rocks that led down to the water were large and built to be climbed so we scaled down them and got as close as we dared to the sandy and muddy banks. Upon closer inspection, I saw water clearer than I have ever seen before. Normally, I am used to murky, polluted water where if I am lucky I can almost see the bottom through a film of grime and dirt. But the small waves that lapped against the swampy shore were crystal clear and indicative of a healthy landscape. I could see right through the shimmering waters as the sun reflected against the surface. In the distance, there were happy ducks and geese swimming calling to each other in clumps and enjoying the cool afternoon. Glancing around, you could see mountains reaching towards the sky and pushing far into the distance, connecting with the lake and traveling beyond eyes’ reach. The sun tried its best to peek through stormy, grey clouds but was unsuccessful. The peaceful silence of the lake, with the exception of the occasional car passing on the highway, was chicken noodle soup for the soul.

I had only driven in America before with one of my parents’ in the passenger seat. But no one else wanted to make the drive and we all wanted to get the hell out of Christchurch after the Airbnb debacle, so I was more than happy to volunteer to drive us to Queenstown. It was a long, 6-hour drive that turned into 7 hours when we kept making so many pit stops. But along the way, we got to see so many beautiful landscapes. But I didn’t, because my friends kept yelling at me to focus on the ride and stay centered in my lane. The only chance I got to absorb and appreciate the scenery would probably be at the lake we stopped at. It was beautiful.

Travel 2.0

Travel 2.0

As explained in the Guardian’s article about travel today, researching and planning trips has become much easier by using a host of websites available to us now, as well as cutting out the middle man (travel agent). We no longer have to rely on hiring and paying someone else to lay out all of our travel plans for us and with sights like Kayak.com we are able to easily check all of our cheapest and most affordable options at the click of a button. As time progresses, people are becoming more willing and trusting to book online as these sights continue to prove their usefulness and reliability. For me personally, I initially planned my entire semester abroad without the help of a travel agent.

My case begins like the average traveler today. I knew I was going to Sydney, Australia and I knew the exact dates I was departing and coming back, so all I had to do was go online to Expedia.com and punch in my destination and my intended travel dates. I was told by many others and I have read in many places that the best time to book online is during the middle of the week. So on a Tuesday in November, I broke out my laptop to check out flights. In a matter of seconds, Expedia pulled up the cheapest flights it could find and I was able to select from an array of airlines that were affordable and fit in best with the times I needed to be in Sydney (we were required to arrive in the morning of our intended arrival date due to orientation activities). I booked my flight and presto! It was done and I did not have to worry about anything else for the next couple months.

Now this is where my story changes a bit. I was traveling down the coast of California for the month of January (I used Expedia to book my flights then too!) and when it came time for me to fly back from Los Angeles to NYC, I had a layover in Detroit. My Detroit to NYC flight was cancelled, however, due to the Jonas blizzard that rocked the east coast at the end of January. I tried my best to get back into the city (it was a stressful three days in the airport trying to rebook my flight many times) and when I eventually accepted that I was not getting back in time for my flight out of NYC to Sydney, I had to reschedule. I called all the phone numbers available on the China Southern Airlines website, all of which weirdly did not work. So I wound up getting in touch with a travel agent who was able to rebook my flight, for a fee of course.

Beyond the whole debacle of me actually getting to Sydney, I also have found a group of friends here who I wanted to travel with during Spring Break. We did not use any travel blogs to decide on our destinations, but did Google “cool things to do in New Zealand.” Once we had a general idea of where we were going to be in New Zealand, we went back to Expedia to find the cheapest flights. We also checked Jetstar, which is a website that focuses on cheap flights going out of Australia, to make sure we found the absolute cheapest options available to us.

Since we have two long weekends coming up, we are also planning on going to the Great Barrier Reef and Melbourne to explore. And when the time comes, we will undoubtedly use travel sites like Expedia and Jetstar to help get us there.

In the Land of Oz

In the Land of Oz

Howard Jacobson’s In the Land of Oz embarks on a journey around Australia with his wife, seeking out adventure and happily embracing all of the opportunities that will afford them on their trip. The reader is taken through his experiences as if the author was telling us a personal story while we were sitting over dinner with him, hearing about this long-winded journey through places like “the Northern Territory, the Western Seaboard, the Goldfields, the Wineries, the Outback, the Rainforests, the Red Centre, the Reef and the ineffable Bush” (5). He touches on all elements of his time in Australia, and even goes into specific details about his interactions with a grouchy custom’s officer and a nonchalant official who could care less about lost baggage.

The beginning of the story introduces us to the narrator and his wife, and their preparations for their journey. We get a little insight into the relationship he has with his wife, and the give and take that they must have with each other, especially when starting such a terrific adventure with one another. After they finally arrive in Australia, they are required to go through customs where Jacobson adopts a sense of humor in dealing with the stereotypically unfriendly customs officers. Like many before and after him, the experience is not a welcome one and he notices a “green bin, gaily decorated with paintings of innocent-seeming apples and oranges and bananas. The bin represented one’s last, one’s absolutely final, opportunity to get rid of all the apples and oranges and bananas secreted about one’s person before they were spotted sticking out of one’s pockets by vigilant quarantine and customs men. ‘Why risk a fine of $50,000?’ the bin asked” (8). It is funny and rather interesting that Jacobson zeroes in on this bin, recording such detail about it and finding it so fascinating. I had a similar experience when entering Australia and going through customs. There is something about the finality of being forced to get rid of fruits from the motherland and being so close to crossing the threshold of another country that feels almost monumental. When you are still on the plane, it does not really feel like you have left your homeland until you step onto foreign soil, and being so close when going through customs is that preliminary step to leaving behind your home for a new adventure.

Beyond this bumpy entrance into Australia, Jacobson seems to get exactly what he is looking for: an exciting journey jam packed with fun and interesting experiences. They find a guide named Tom to take them around on Aboriginal territory. Jacobson learns about the predicament of the Aboriginals and how they were the first to be in Australia before the white missionaries wormed their way into Aboriginal society, “’The white man thought the Aborigine was ignorant…But he wasn’t’,” (29). The narrator is later taken on a bus tour of Jabiru, a town that requires strict registration to enter supposedly based on the fact that is was built on Aboriginal tribal lands, but is really meant to help the Mining Companies that subsist there. The author and the reader see just how much the Aboriginals have been taken advantage of here, despite legal contracts between the corporate white Australia and the Aboriginals that are supposed to be fair. Jacobson admits that, “It wasn’t my intention to be provocative but I did want to say that according to all accounts most of the revenue that was meant to go to the Aborigines ended up in the hands of white lawyers and administrators,” (34). As I have witnessed through class excursions, Aboriginals are still treated as second-class citizens. There is extreme racism still prevalent today, separating whites from Aboriginals and leaving a similarly bitter taste in the mouths of the victims. Having spoken to a few of them myself, I know Aboriginals still believe the land to be their own and are angered and upset that the Australian government will not acknowledge it, nor pay to rectify the situation.

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