Archive for Thursday, July 28, 2005

BHS duo experience trip down under

July 28, 2005

A two- week summer vacation down under was a thrill for two Baldwin High School students, as they took part in a People to People Student Ambassador trip a few weeks ago.

BHS senior Charley Jo Schwartz and BHS junior Katie Sigvaldson traveled to Australia in late June and returned to Baldwin City in early July.

"It was a blast," Schwartz said. "I had a lot of fun. The people were fun."

Sigvaldson said she would love to take another trip to Australia if she could.

"I had so much fun," Sigvaldson said. "I was really happy I got to go. I would go back in a heartbeat."

Both Schwartz and Sigvaldson received letters from the People to People organization about the trip. Sigvaldson said once she read the letter, she knew she wanted to go.

"I was immediately interested, because I've always wanted to go to Australia," Sigvaldson said. "It was just a matter of raising money after that."

Schwartz said she had received similar letters for volleyball, but she wanted to find out more information about this particular trip.

"I had got one in the mail for volleyball before," Schwartz said. "I thought I would just go to the meeting and see what it is about."

The students were scheduled to leave June 22, but didn't leave until the next day, because of a plane malfunction. After stopping in Denver and Los Angeles, they then flew 14 hours to Sydney, Australia.

"I did not enjoy the plane ride at all," Schwartz said. "We didn't have any leg room and we watched the same movies over and over again."

Once they arrived in Australia, the group toured many places while also doing a service project. They planted trees in the Kakadu National Park. Schwartz and Sigvaldson helped plant a peanut tree.

Schwartz and Sigvaldson traveled to many towns, including Sydney, Canberra and Darwin. There were many tourist attractions in the cities and outside the cities that they visited.

They went to the Sydney Opera House and the Parliament. But because of the flight delay out of Kansas City, they visited the Parliament on a day when no one was working.

They also went to a crocodile farm, national parks, war memorials, waterfalls and learned information about Aborigines and their history. Another exciting activity for the students was snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, they said.

"It was really pretty," Sigvaldson said. "The water was kind of cold out in the middle of the ocean. We were in a fenced in area."

They also got the chance to go kayaking and do other water activities, but Schwartz didn't like the salt water too much.

On the trip Schwartz had the opportunity to eat kangaroo, but it was not something she cared for.

"It was good, but it was slimy and sticky," Schwartz said.

The students were awakened one night when the hotel fire alarm went off at 3:45 a.m. Sigvaldson said someone said the cause was found to be smoking in a non-smoking room which set the fire alarm off.

Schwartz said she would like to take another trip like this one, but the location would be the determining factor.

"It depends on where it is at," Schwartz said. "There are some places I really don't want to visit."

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