Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Geelong sights

Geelong is the city in Victoria in which I live and work, and I don't think I could have asked for a better place to live in Australia.  It's a moderately-sized city with about 150,000 people.  It's one of those towns where people might not lock their front doors.  I haven't yet experienced the bus system, but I'm told it works quite well to get around town.  Something that I noticed as soon as I arrived, a lot of the houses are decorated with white wrought-iron or plastic lattice along the trim.  It's a very popular decoration style, one that makes lots of the houses look like dollhouses (in my opinion).

A typical house in Geelong, complete with a front garden and fence
Another thing I noticed as well, there are houses here and there that are for sale, but they're being sold at auction rather than through a traditional relator as in the States.  Actually, one of the houses across the street from my host house was auctioned off, and I went outside to watch the proceedings.  Evidentially, people sell their houses here via auction to get a better price compared to traditionally selling a house.  I found it very bizarre, but I think that's just because I think of the only reason to auction off a house would be if the bank was trying to sell it.  Also, I think it's a matter of living near the ocean, properties here are much smaller and the houses are quite close together.

More familiar Geelong sights

One of the first things I did when I arrived in Geelong was find the closest Catholic church.  I was very happy to find that there was a church 20 minutes' walk away.  And not just a church, but a Basilica at that!  St. Mary's Basilica has quite beautiful architecture.  It reminds me of the Netherlands a bit (though I've never been there).  There are other buildings in town that use lighter-colored brick, and with peaks and towers it feels very European.

St. Mary's

A kindergarden center
There are lots of tropical-looking trees and foilage around.  A large palm tree sits in front of CSIRO (my work building), and I always take notice of it when I walk in and out of work.  It's weird to be living in an area with palm trees!  And the other day while walking to the grocery store, I walked by a house with a front garden that had bird of paradise growing in it (but I didn't take any photos of it).

View from inside CISRO, looking out onto the reflecting pond in front of the building
There are black crows and pigeons present all over town, but what surprised me was the large amount of magpies that are present.  They are everywhere, and if you don't see them then you hear them!  Sinead, my host mom, really hates them, because they dive-bomb the kids when they are outside.  I'm told that people out walking their dogs have to watch out for the magpies too.  It's a common sight to see people out riding their bikes, and their helmet is covered with zip-ties tied tight and the long ends sticking out (just like how they put small spikes on statues to discourage pigeons).  I might eventually get sick of them, but right now I get a kick out of the magpies.  They are pretty birds and they are quite musical (but they can also be obnoxious as well).

Last week, at the end of my first week of work, I was treated to my first Australian rainbow outside work.  It had been a rainy week and the sight of the sun finally coming out along with the rainbow was a very welcome sight.

The photo below is of the river near where I live, and in the distance you can see the white lights of the Aussie rules football stadium peaking over the treeline.  This coming weekend is the footie final, aka the superbowl of Australia.  I'm not much of a sports fan, but I am interested to learn about the sport as well as enjoy the Australian culture surrounding it.  If you don't attend the game then you definitely watch it, and the tradition is to have a big party with BBQ, lots of beer, family, and friends.  I was very fortunate to be invited by a new Australian friend, Selena.  She's invited me to her family's property about 45 min outside Geelong to enjoy a traditional Aussie BBQ and watch some good footie.  I'll have more stories next week!

No comments:

Post a Comment