Well, after 32 hours of travel, we finally arrived at our hotel in Melbourne - the first city of our 16 day whirlwind tour of Australia. We will eventually make our way to Cairns and Sydney before heading home.
We departed Clarkson on Monday at 3:00 p.m. bound for our first flight from Montreal, Quebec. A short 5 hours later found us in Vancouver, BC boarding our flight across the Pacific to Sydney, Australia. After a short 15 hour flight, we arrived in Sydney and then boarded our final flight of this leg of the trip for Melbourne.
Interestingly, Melbourne happens to be the home town of Tony Collins, the President of Clarkson University. It also is the hometown of Dr. Bruce Stillman, a biochemist and cancer researcher. Dr. Stillman was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Clarkson this year... There must be something to be said about the Yarra River water!
Everyone settled into their rooms and took much needed showers (not sure if they knew how badly they needed them... just sayin'...)... and prepared for our first adventure on Melbourne's famous tram system. Our adventure this evening would find us at the Carlton United Brewery's Brewhouse for a tour of their beer production and packaging facilities, some beer sampling and tasting, and a wonderful dinner.
Carlton brews a variety of beers for both domestic and international distribution. They are licensed to brew and distribute Budweiser from the US and Stella Artois from Belgium. They also produce the world famous Aussie beer "Foster's" (although most Aussie's don't drink it). Long story short, the Aussie people felt that they were being taken for granted in Carlton's "Foster's... Australian for beer" ads in the 80's and moved on to other Carlton brands!
Foster's along with the likes of "Crocodile Dundee", Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter), AC/DC, INXS, and Men at Work (best known for the 80's song "Land Down Under" - which if you know the song, it is now stuck in your for the rest of the day!) brought Australia to the forefront of many American's minds and onto their "bucket list" of places to visit.
Now tell me you wouldn't run if you saw this motley looking crew headed towards you down the street!
After a great meal, our hostesses were kind enough to haul out "the beer costumes" for some pictures - it isn't a brewery tour without dressing up like a pint or bottle!
Thank you again to our hostesses and tour guide - great job and awesome meal!
Tomorrow (Thursday here - well, today for me - it is 4 a.m. and jetlag allows for getting much done in the wee hours of the night!) is a busy day with visits to KPMG, IBM, the US Consulate Office, and a scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt has the students exploring and finding a variety of cultural, business, and historical locations by solving clues. A great way to get the students to see some different parts of the city.
Not bad for being on the ground for under 30 hours!
This evening the students have some free time to go back to see some of the locations they found on the scavenger hunt as well as explore more of the fantastic and eclectic culture that Melbourne has to offer... everything you could imagine from alley artwork, alleyway cafe's and bistros and pubs, high-end shopping and dining, to a beautiful waterfront development area known as SouthBank (where IBM's corporate offices are located).
Everyone appears to be enjoying their trip so far... The weather is cool here (50's), but not rainy. We will be in the tropics next week in Cairns...
A shout to "that other trip" - I hear they had a wonderful visit to a zoo in a torrential thunder and lightening storm.... What could be more fun than to walk around dodging lightening and smelling zoo animals in high humidity and tropic temperatures - all while walking around in soaked clothes! Just sayin'...
For those of you who might not be familiar with the various trips, there is a long-standing friendly "feud" between the professor who sponsors the SouthEast Asia trip and myself (the Australia trip) over who has the "best trip"... I think it's obvious which is cooler... (And for the record, he and I combine our trips for the MBA program for a trip in March...)
More on how today's events unfold and our upcoming adventures to follow... We are going to try to post something each day or every other day (I also post live updates on our FaceBook page "Kataroo Goes To Australia" if you want more up-to date information - so stay tuned...