G’day from Brisbane - we are here! We arrived on Wednesday at around 9 a.m. in Sydney (Australian time – about 7 p.m. Tuesday for those of you back in the US). The trip, albeit long, was for the most part uneventful. It was a bit odd to be woken up at 3 a.m. (the time in our minds) for supper and then a few hours later for a “snack”, but otherwise it went well.
Our flight from Vancouver was a little delayed, which resulted in us missing our connector flight to Brisbane. They rebooked us on a flight that was only an hour later and we arrived finally in Brisbane around 2 p.m. After a short bus ride we finally arrived at the hotel and checked in, took VERY much needed showers, went grocery shopping for breakfast foods for the week, and finally had the chance to lay down horizontally after a long journey!
On the schedule for tomorrow is our first business visit – DiBella Coffees. They are going to give us a tour of their roasting and production facilities, packaging operation, and then take us in to have our own individual coffees special brewed to sample and teach us how to brew coffees using some of their newest brewing technologies. Usually, even students who do not like coffee at home appreciate the different flavor of coffee here when brewed properly (they explained to us last year that drip brewed coffees are generally bitter, which requires most people to hide the true flavor of the coffees using sugar – most people here use little or no sugar in their coffee because it alone has a pleasant taste)…
This is a really interesting company that was started by a young (early) 30’s entrepreneur, Philip DiBella several years ago and has grown to be among the most popular and recognizable brands of coffee in Australia. They have grown exponentially here with franchised cafés popping up everywhere (much like Tim Horton’s in Canada and New York State). Last year during our visit, they told us that within the next year or two they expected to begin exporting to the US. Some of their innovative products include a liquid coffee concentrate, canned coffee-energy drinks, and cold-brewed coffees.
After our tour, we will have a light lunch in the company café (along with more coffees!) and then travel back to the hotel to change and begin the first of the 3 scavenger hunts (a triple header played out over 3 weeks and 3 cities!) each having a unique twist to it... This one will be “the race” – the students will be in groups and have around 3 hours to find and travel to various cultural locations throughout the city. In order to find out what the location is or where it is located, they have to solve a short puzzle or riddle. Once there, they have to answer some type of question that can only be answered by being at the location and take a group picture (or get a local person to take one for them) of everyone in the group in front of the puzzle answer location.
The first team to answer the last question (which is to “Find the Ormsbees” and return with all of the right answers and pictures at the correct locations will win the “First Place Prize” (we go and pick up some type of souvenir for each team member – the best part of which is bragging rights!). The other teams also each get some type of souvenir, but not the bragging rights! This event has been among the most popular among the groups in the past and fosters (no pun intended!) some pretty heavy competition! Once everyone makes it to the location we will buy them dinner and then go off to explore more of the city.
We had planned to schedule a rain forest tour for Friday, but decided since we are only here for 2 full days that we would reschedule our day-long tour to the week we are in Sydney and visit the Blue Mountains. That way the students can have a chance to do something here they are interested in before we depart for Melbourne. So Friday will be a free day – some students have talked about doing the rain forest tour, a trip to Morton Island (where they can go sand surfing and snorkeling), going to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, visiting the man-made beach, or just exploring the CBD (Central Business District). Saturday afternoon we travel down to Melbourne. More later!