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Down Under Diaries - Shaina Zaidi
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  06/24/2005
Photo gallery - Day One

Dear Diary,

Hey, this is Shaina Zaidi, and I am writing to you from down under. We have just spent our first day in Australia touring the great city of Sydney. After an extremely long 14-hour flight, none of us were too excited to do much of anything, but once we got out cameras out and got in the great big tour bus, we were ready to see all that Sydney had to offer us. Our tour guide was friendly and informative, pointing out all the important monuments and landmarks of the historical town. Did you know that Australia was originally inhabited by convicts, because during the time of the American Revolution, the prisons were overcrowded in England, so Joseph Banks decided Australia, which at that time was known as New South Wales, would be a good place to send the surplus of convicts?

For our first day, we spent most of our time in the tour bus travelling all over Sydney and viewing all the historical buildings and taking pictures of the amazing views of the bays and the beach. My favorite sight was of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Our first hands-on experience came during breakfast when we went to eat at Bondi Beach. Apparently, Australians love this spread called vegemite. It is wrapped liked butter, so a few of us decided to try it, to see what all the fuss was about. Ughhh ewww nasty is all I have to say! Amanda Livingston and I were the first of few to actually try the spread. I don't know how the Aussie's eat it like penut butter, I mean it's yeast. Who eats that by itself? We were able to enjoy our breakfast once the sour taste left our mouth.

It was quite cold outside and pretty windy, but nevertheless we still wanted to run out on the beach by the water. Nikki and some others were brave enough to go in, only to jump out shivering because of how cold it was.

After a long adventurous day of touring Sydney, we finally checked into the hotel. Since the hotel had about five TV channels, all of which were Australian, or at least they all seemed to be, we walked down the street to watch the Detroit/San Antonio game. About half of us were cheering for the Pistons, and the other half just wanted the Spurs to win. Once the game was over, we had some free time do whatever we wanted with it. Some of us walked around looking at shops, while others went back to the hotel. I was in the second group; I needed to go back to the room to chill and recharge!

To top off a great first day in Sydney, we went to this fine Italian restaurant right off the Harbour Bay. Our team is full of picky eaters, so some found the restaurant to be delicious, while others, umm, would have rather eaten at McDonalds, and yes they have McDonalds in Australia. We always have a lot of fun when we go out and eat with each other; it's a great time to tell jokes, and share funny stories!

I had so much fun today in Sydney, I can't wait for all the adventures to come.

-Shaina Zaidi
#3

P.S. Kari, I miss you because you are "tight!"


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