And then they were in Australia!!

Well, here we are in the middle of a global pandemic and we find ourselves in Australia - after being in Thailand! I know... many people are thinking "Are you crazy?". Well, the short answer is, the test result isn't back yet on that...

However, I can tell you, especially concerned parents with students on the trip, we are being extremely cautious, have altered our itinerary, and we as well as Clarkson are monitoring the news and government websites for breaking changes and news and will react to them as they occur. We are working on trying to get an earlier flight back, but so far haven't been able to, but we are working on it.

I can also tell you that while the news tells a story of Zombie Apocalypse-like events, the general tone and mood here and in Thailand has been cautious, yet relatively calm. Several of our company visits cancelled, but we are making the most of the time we have here in order to convey as much about the culture and business here in Australia as we can, given the circumstances.

Now - on to the stuff you want to hear about - what have been up to...

First and foremost, putting miles on! Both in the air and on our feet. Those of us with monitoring devices (not the kind you get when you are in trouble! FitBits and Apple Watches...) recorded about 60 miles of walking in total while we were on the ground in Bangkok. We average 1 or 2 miles in the airports. And today in Sydney, we put on about 5 miles after our climb on that little structure known as the Sydney Harbour Bridge... more on that in a bit..

So our day in Singapore ended up being a bust. Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to NOT spend the day in Singapore, but rather just change planes there on our way to Sydney. We figured that no one would benefit from a 23 hour day of wandering around in equatorial heat and sunshine, and then get on an 8 hour flight here only to hit the ground running,.

Now the good stuff - enough of this SouthEast Asia stuff Professor MacKinnon always touts in his blog about that part of the trip since he arranges that....

Here we are - we arrived in Sydney and we were ready for a full week of company visits and cultural and fun stuff....

But wait - there is that whole virus thing...

So it ended up that our companies cancelled our visits out of an abundance of caution for both our safety and that of their workers. "Fair dinkum" or "Good on ya" as the Aussie say. We are working on arranging a virtual visit with one of the companies that had to cancel, and we are working on alternative ways for the students to learn about business here.

We did however get to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

After some apprehension, we all started our climb experience. The climb was awesome - it was cloudy, rained a bit, and wasn't roasting hot but everyone made it and had a great time. We each got a copy of our group's photo, some individual pictures, and a climb completion certificate. Although you can't see it in the picture, the Sydney Opera House is behind us, and actually below us!

After the climb, we had arranged for our climb leaders to join us for "Pub Trivia, Pizza and a Pint" - an Aussie tradition. Once we were done changing back into our street clothes and out of those fashionable jumpsuits (colored so that you blend in with the bridge and not distract traffic below), our leaders brought us to "The Australian Hotel" - a very old and historic establishment in The Rocks area of the city. We each got our own pizza - some with VERY exotic toppings like emu, kangaroo, prawn, etc. and a pint. As we ate, the climb leaders asked trivia questions and had us compete in 3 teams... The team I was on just so happened to win...

Once done, we broke the students into different random teams and sent them on a scavenger hunt. The hunt took them to a variety of places - some historic, some fun - and had them interact in some cases with local people.

Today is St. Patrick's Day here. Any large-scale event has been cancelled out of health precautions, so our schedule today is to tour the ANZ Olympic Stadium. This was the home of the 2000 Olympics and is the only Olympic Facility to be profitable! Stay tuned for pictures from the tour!

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