Queens University Kingston Ontario

Trip Start Jul 21, 2005
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Trip End Jan 12, 2006


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Monday, August 29, 2005

Update 8: Kingston - Queens University, Ontario, Canada
(Aug 29 - Sept 19)

My Contact Details Are:
Nathan Hinton
175 York St
Kingston ON
Canada K7K 1R5
h: +1 613 531 3812
m: +1 613 483 1142
e: nathan.hinton@student.unsw.edu.au


This will be a fairly long read so bare with me on this one.

I got to Kingston bus station in the early afternoon and after catching a taxi to the university i got setled into my temporary accomodation before heading up the International Centre at the University. I met a whole bunch of other kids in the same boat as I - needing to find a place to live for the semester. It all seemed easy enough with a housing database and all but being a male and also around for only one semester made those landlords who actually have places left unwilling to rent a room to me. by the next afternoon after talking to dad on the phone and he praying for me the next guy i rang had a room and was prepared to let me stay in it. When i first saw the place it was trashed - there was alcohol bottles and rubbish everywhere and i was like oh crap i wonder what my house mates are like? but in the end i found out the mess was left by the people who had the place over the summer. I had to make a quick decision on the place - i had 5 minutes no joke - and seeing as it was my first time renting i didnt know what to expect for student housing - i took it seeing as i didnt think i oculd get a better offer and i scored. THe place is amazing, as are my housemate - i have wooden floors and being the only bedroom on the bottom floor i get the downstairs bathroom almost exclusively to myself - so for $400/month fully furnished, all inclusive i have this amazing place.

Once having the place locked in i had time to begin to get all my courses sorted out and going out a bit with some of the other international kids. I moved into my place on the 1st and wasted no time in pinning my australian flag up on the wall (thanks to Bruce & Jill for this one), i also had to go and buy all my bedding and on the friday i went and did a food shop. the best about the food shop ($120 worth of stuff) was meeting this lady and her son who gave me a lift home which was awesome - the people are so friendly here. On saturday the International centre had organised a picnic to a nearby lake which was amazing where we swam and hung out all day.
On the monday i went to an american football game between queens - who are unrated and some other university who came second last year and needless to same we got smashed 45-0 and i must say that american football is the most boring game i have everwatched!

NEWTS WEEK (New Exchange Whoo hoo and Transfer Students) - Orientation Wk
Newts wk was the highlight so far of my entire trip and the best $100 i spent. It was an orientation for those who were not frosh (first years) and yeh were all got assigned to groups - i was in "the groupies." my group was undoubtly the best with great Gecko's (our leaders) and people and this was evidenced by our group taking out the best team spirit trophy! The first day (wed 6th) of the program was spent having a walk around, bbq and frisbee in the park - incidentally i was on tv that night on the local news channel - yeh! and then a night out at a couple of bars including karaoke which was quite funny. One of the things i must mention is that the upper year frecs (leaders of frosh wk) die their bodies purple and have these unreal haircuts that would be quite intimidating for the first years. They also have these gold applied science jackets (worth $450) which are died purple and then repeatedly slammed into the ground and beaten and beaten and run over by cars and everything - anything they can do to trash the jackets!
Thursday we had a mistery bus trip where we ended up in Ottawa - the polital capital of Canada and as the weather was crap i elected to do a tour of the parliament which was interesting and very similar to australia and england of course. The sun came out in the afternoon and the place just lit up and looked amazing. That evening amoungst other things we got presented with some tams (scottish hats with pompom things on the top - queens has a lot of historical ties to scotland or something) before heading out to dinner and 5-pin bowling which was really interesting. obviously enough there are 5 pins on the bowling alley and you use a ball about the size of a large shotput and the scoring is different too with each pin ocunting for different number of points (i think it was 5,3,1 going from centre out) and you get three bowls at the pins.
After gettting back home in the early am the night before, the next morning was bit of a struggle but it was the newts olympics that morning - but before that we painted our coveralls (full overalls) which was fun throwing paint at everyone and then we proceeded to rotate through a series of great games that involved getting wet, lots of shaving cream, ballons and waterbombs and of course tying people up to trees with lots of sticky tape. It really was a great morning and we had the afternoon off to check out the street market/fair thing. i was hanging out with max - another guy from UNSW and he was like -hey lets go get a photos with the chearleaders - so i was like - ok just pick out the hottest one. So we went over and started chatting to these cheerleaders and got a photo and all and then they were like do you want to do some moves? and we were like - well ok. so yeh they instructed us on how to through the girls into the air - which is really easy - you put your hands on her hips and her hands go on your wrists - they do all the work - they just jump up and you just push that last little bit. After having fun with this they told us we had to come down and try out for the team but yeh i was not sure whether i was ready for that much public humilitation... In the evening we had a concert put on for all the new students - first years as well that brought some of the better canadian bands including the pilots, the stills, and kaos which were really great. i like dth first two bands the best but kaos was by far the best performer - his music was hip-hop sorta stuff but with a spanish guitar in there.
Saturday was The Grease Pole. A tradition dating back to 1957 where a professor said to a couple of students if you can climb a greased football post and get the tam off the top then you dont have to wear it all year. Apparantly the football post was stolen from toronto university a long time ago and is hidden in a different location each year that only a few people know about. The meaning has somewhat changed over time and now it is an initiation ceremony for all the enginnering frosh. They keep the frosh up for most of the night before and then bus them out in the morning to a piece of university land with the heaters turned on full ball and they are covered in blankets. They get to the pit around 10am and herded into a pit waist deep in water/mud (which is cold!) with a 26ft pole in the middle covered in grease (lanoline). The tam is nailed to the top of the pole - and the nail is through a bottle top so it is really hard to rip it off! They are then directed by the sci-cons (science constables) on how to successfully climb the pole - each layer is made and it takes 4-5 layers of people to do this. After an hour alumni and graduating students are allowed into the pit - they go in (fully clothed in their "Applied science" jackets) to first annoy the frosh and they later assist in climbing the pole - after a bit more time the fourth years are allowed in and then the 3rd years etc if required. Despite all the chaos it was quite well organised and safe with paramedics, police to throw out any drunks if neceessary, lifeguards, first-aiders, and someone calling the shots from a tower above and they would call "break" if they saw any of the levels becoming stable and everyone would slowly dismantle and then start again. i was completely unprepared to go in - i didnt think i would but after 2 1/2 hours of watching these go at it i wanted in - especially after some of teh girls who were in our group there went in. SO i grabbed a pair of shoes off a guy who came out and went in! it was soo much fun. The roar when the tam was ripped off was so intense and then everyone proceeded to dance in the pit to Nothings Going to Stop us now - by starship and then everyone was like running in a circle to create a whirlpool. the time to get the tam this year was 3hours and 8 mins. apparantly last year it was about 40mins. i couldnt wait to get home and had a shower and it took an hour to first wash my clothes in the shower and then me.
In the evening, we had our Semi-Formal which was great - started off in a martini bar on campus before kicking onto dinner at one of the halls in the university and then back to the martini bar for a quick presentation and plenty of partying through the evening.
The friends made during the wk and the experiences were priceless. Starting school the next wk was almost a letdown compared to it...
My highlight of the first week of school was definitely recieving my camera in the mail on friday - in time for the trip to niagra the next day and to chile the next wk.
Saturday (17th) was the daytrip to Niagra as organised by the international centre and it was definitely worth the 5 hours bus ride there. I must admit i was expecting something a little grander although in retrospect i do realise how amazing the Niagra falls are. the town of Niagra is something different - something out of a theme park with ridiculusly bright colour schemes and just about everything to trap tourists from expensive food, to souveniers and of course many a casino. The first thing we all did was to go on the Maid of the Mist and journey into the horse shoe falls and this was well worth it. After this is was getting late in teh afternoon and so we all decided to get lunch and then we all broke off into different groups after this. There was a bunch of us who wanted to go up the Skylon tower and the view from teh top was just amazing. it would have been nice to just sit there for a while only there were no seats to sit on. Following this we pretty much just bummed around for the afternoon including starbucks and then to the edge of the horseshoe falls and briefly into one of the many casinos - i laughed way to loud when i saw a whole bunch of people lose it all on the roulette wheel when it spun up a green double zero and the attendant proceeded to rake in all the chips... by this time it was time it was 8pm and time to leave but not before getting a great photo of the falls all lit up at night.
Make sure you check out the photos from this part of the trip and from all the others which have now been updated.
God bless you all,
Nath
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