So… our first full day in Sydney… We call the trip “East Meets West” – and we call it that for a reason. Thailand is an exotic, edgy, hot, developing country full of mysteries, wonder, amazing foods, and vendors with a vastly different culture, language, and food culture!! It can be a little overwhelming for some people their first time there…
Australia on the other hand, tends to feel familiar for Americans – we don’t look any different than the people here… The foods are similar… the language is the same… the practices and values are the same… or are they??
Being a behaviorist, the differences between the US and Australia are glaring to me. Many students take some time to notice it... some never do. Little things like courtesies, consumption behavior, world view, view of themselves as global citizens, and not wanted to be a “stand out” are among the things I see.
Our first full day in Sydney had us first tour the ANZ Olympic Stadium. The only Olympic facility to have been funded privately and end up being profitable in the world also came in on budget and on time!
This is simply a breathtaking venue. We just missed Ed Sheeran (not a fan personally!) – he did 3 nights of shows that ended Saturday… and Bruno Mars was scheduled for 5 nights this week.
This is a busy venue. Not only do they host music events, they also offer rugby league and rugby union as well as cricket and soccer games. The students may attend a rugby game Friday night before we head home… Tickets to a pro game – about $15-20 Aussie dollars!
After our tour, we sent the students out on a scavenger hunt. My wife has worked on putting the items for the scavenger hunt together over the past 5 years – it is challenging and has the students have to make their way all over the city to find various venues and sites. This ensures they get to see a lot of areas of the city, as well as learning something about the area.
Some students like Hiedi Smith and Dan Huot were mentally prepared for the challenge ahead - poor Juan Perez was a little stunned when he saw the list.....
The next team was ready for competition. Kara McTamaney was stretching her neck and shoulders out to get ready for battle and trying to show a little "gangsta" attitude... plus they had Alec "Big Big" Rhodes - a true giant among men... at least in Thailand... on their team - how could they not win! And you can tell that Taylor Draper and Jacob Cook were confident - almost to the point of being cocky!
The third team was ready for a street fight.. Kyle Kuebler, Stephen Lewis and PJ Phillips had their game faces on so tight that they all jumped a little when they turned around a looked in the glass behind them at their reflection!
Not to be outdone, you can see the street cred just oozing from Lauren Nolan with those "You feeling lucky punk.... well.. are ya??" shades... Matt Nugent, Brett "The Egg Man" Giroux, and Brandon Teboe were just happy they were on her team and didn't have to compete against her!
They had to finish the scavenger hunt by 3:30 so that they could make their way to our tour of the Sydney Opera House – one of the most iconic and photographed buildings in the world. An amazing structure with an amazing story behind it! Our tour guide was awesome and explained so much about the business of running the opera house, the history, and architecture and engineering.
From there, we made a quick trip back the hotel to change and head to a group dinner at the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel. We had dinner, “graded” the results of the scavenger hunts, and distributed some prizes for their accomplishments.
We had to call it an early night – 6:20 a.m. departure for a breakfast function on Tuesday morning. More on that to follow! Stay tuned!!