Thursday, January 15, 2009

Canberra

Tuesday morning he who loves gaming played Halo online at
a local gaming cafe and in the afternoon, went go-carting with Ads. Amy and I stayed in the shade. Sydney has been unduly hot this year. You never can tell what the weather will be this time of year. But I mean hot . . blistering, windy, horrible, sweat pouring down your back hot. It didn't deter the lads who were happy to play boy racer .



Wed/Thurs, we travelled 3 hours in a hot car to Canberra our Nation's Capital. . .this is not such a pretty drive as the one to Jenolan Caves. The scenery does not change for three hours. Gums, sheep country and only a local wind farm breaks the monotony. The lake in front is Lake George which mysteriously no longer contains water. Why they chose to put the capital territory in the middle of NSW and call it the Australian Capital Territory, I'll never know.



Erm they're sheep in the foreground of what used to be a lake . .

I also don't know why Canberra gets the bad wrap it does. In the early years, Ray and I visited every Easter and yes, it was dead. Nothing open naturally on Good Friday or Easter Sunday. The boys played golf at the ACT Championships and the 'girls' toured what was available and made the most of the daytime before getting together at night to celebrate, party and play. It was hard to become 'immersed' in the nation's capital over such a low weekend and the arrival of children saw an end to this 7 year tradition.

However, I've visited since with the kids and with overseas visitors (but not over the past 10 years) and we've managed to fill our days with museums and art galleries, bike rides around Lake Burley Griffin, shopping, great restaurants in Manuka and frankly for the visitor, there's at least two week's worth of activities to be had. I haven't even touched Tidinbilla NASA museum, barely walked over Cotter Dam or explored the wonders of the National Library. I've never been to the National Portrait Gallery, toured all the embassies, many revealing their national identity with Chinese terracotta roofs, American Colonial Architecture or Japanese stoicism.

We had two days and could easily have filled a week but hey, one can only do what one can only do and frankly, I'm museum'd out. D wanted to visit the War Memorial. I'd talked about it before his visit as he's interested in all things warfare and military. It's a treat and better than I had remembered thanks to a recent refurbishment. The displays document Australia's involvement in all military and UN service since ANZAC Cove with diaramas, documentaries and artifacts from the front. Even ClareBear who has had the War Memorial thrust upon her several times via school excursions admitted that it had quality. We spent the best part of 4 hours there carousing and browsing . . . erm and enjoying the cool!

Not content with dinner out at Belluci's in Manuka and copious amounts of alcamahol, the boys ventured out to one of Canberra's 'nightspots' after being refused entry to a number of pubs due to early closing but it was Wednesday night, this was Canberra in the summer holidays but managed to find a club that stayed open and staggered home noisily at 3am divesting various items of clothing on their way to their beds. ClareBear and I had taken the quiet option and walked home after a delicious Italian Dinner.

Today, we managed Questacon. This is the National Science and Technology Museum and mega touchy feely for little kids and the big. The problem? Too many kids bashing buttons without understanding what the display was meant to do. Too many kids hanging on too long to displays when we wanted a turn. Too many kids GAH! Even Adam said "I don't know how you did it . . you deserve a Nobel prize for raising children" (sometimes it takes drastic measures to gain appreciation.)

We finished off at the relatively new National Australia Museum which probably has much to offer those who know little about Australia but apart from the amazing architecture left us a bit cold in the heat if you know what I mean . ..

D appeared hungover and definitely feeling the 40 degree heat. It's not common for us to have a whole week of 35 plus temperatures either in Sydney or Canberra but we did. Legs burned on the leather seats of the Honda. Sweat poured. Clare worried about the welfare of her MacBook but we managed to hit the highway in a relative state of cool. Everyone crashed on the 3 hour journey home to the point where I felt a nanosleep coming on and decided that we'd share the driving. Clare took over from Bundanoon and I had a snooze in the back.

Frankly, I enjoyed it despite the oppressive heat. Great apartment for a great price. Party for the boys, nice food for the girls . . but Paduan has decided he doesn't want to 'sit about the house' and has gone off to play XBox, some things never change. Frankly, I'm glad I have a chance to access my PC! Ooops . . .XBox live cafe is closed and he's home . . .not happy Jan and has ostracised himself on the couch with a good book.

As for Canberra . . . .sure it's in a silly place, sure it's contrived and planned and a poor attempt at imitating Washington DC but I find it peaceful, interesting and apart from the ridiculous road system which sees you travelling in circles and going in the opposite direction to achieve your destination, could spend more time there if I travelled with someone more patient. I did get confused enough to run a red light and almost sideswiped someone trying to change lanes.

If you're in Australia, try to see it. Don't expect wild nightlife, crowds and tourists but it's interesting, beautiful and well worth a visit if you can stand the tyranny of distance.

Kahlerisms, thanks for the tip on the NASA museum but it was 50 minutes out of Canberra at Tidinbilla and we simply ran out of time . . .maybe next time . . .come with me?

25 comments:

Thriftcriminal said...

Mowing is an excellent activity.

Ropi said...

I have never driven GoCart however I wanted to do it once.

Grannymar said...

A good old fashioned sink full of dishes or mow the lawn, but no ride on mower!

Have fun for the last few days.

nick said...

I was intrigued by the waterless Lake George (or Werriwa, meaning bad water apparently). According to Wikipedia, it regularly fills and empties due to evaporation and strong winds blowing the water back on itself.

When full, the waters are treacherous and have drowned a number of people.

TheChrisD said...

Why is the first question that's coming into mind is "How much of an extortion are the Xbox Live café's over there?"...

Susan said...

I've never been to Canberra or knew much about it, but I enjoyed this 'visit'! Your description of the road system reminds me of Baltimore in America, which has mostly one-way streets, so you end up doing weird mazy-like paths to everywhere because you can't simply drive straight to anything...like driving a Rubik's cube or something. But a nice city, once you take a few deep breaths and forgive it!

laughingwolf said...

wanna exchange your 40C for our windchilled -43C? we'd even out at about 0... perfect!

oh yeah, deep freeze ends monday, when we are to get... RAIN?

merlinprincesse said...

Reading at your post, I have forgotten for a moment that it's minus 30 outside....

Megan said...

Why did they pick Canberra? I think I'll go find out.

What's with the roller coaster looking thing in the parking lot?!? :)

Baino said...

Ha! Fat chance Thrifty.

Ropi it's great fun. You might have to fold those long legs but you'd enjoy it!

Yeh maybe so GM but he's on holiday so I'm indulging him.

Nick there hasn't been water in Lake George since 2003. I'm wondering if it's been diverted somewhere. Canberra and Goulburn are particularly drought affected. I wasn't aware of it being treachurous, always looked very calm.

Hi Chris, welcome aboard. Apparently this one cost $8 an hour for online gaming. A little more $20 for an all night tournament with prize money. Not bad value the youngling assures me.

There was a time Susan where I had the roads coverered but it's just a series of ring roads and not many off ramps. You can drive for miles if you miss a turn.

OH Wuffa, right now, I'd give anything for -43 . . erm maybe not but a quick snow storm to cool things down would be great. I'm really regretting not having aircon.

Happy to warm the cockles Merlin Princess! Welcome to you too!

Goodness knows Megs. I'll have to find out. It's three hours from Sydney and a whole lot more than anywhere else. The Australian National Museum is an amazing building. I'm not sure what the roller coaster thing represents but it's just a sort of overhead boardwalk that nobody can use . .go figure. Terrific architecture tho. I might do a post on it later.

TheChrisD said...

Hell yea, that's good value! You should see the moronic prices the one or two of them over here can charge... €5.50 is just the base off-peak rate...

Ces said...

Interesting to read about Canberra. Seems like it is a cultural capital instead of a night life or beach life capital. Great to see you pose in front of that massive roller coaster sculpture. Take a break from the heat and come to Chicago!

Kath Lockett said...

I'm starting to feel embarrassed (instead of proud) that I've only ever been to Canberra once and that was for a work conference!

nick said...

Susan - Love the image of driving a Rubik's Cube! Some places are exactly like that. You go up and down and round about and it just seems like a huge game the planners are playing with you. In fact they're probably watching you on a CCTV and laughing their heads off....

Baino said...

ChrisD the paduan is raging. Went back there last night after our Canberra trip in a bit of a 'mood' and they were shut! hehehe . . Karma I say. Can't see the fun in it myself but he's a serious gamer. Plus he's virtually getting everything for half price thanks to currency conversion. . .no complaints . .especially re cheap beer!

Ces, very much a manufactured capital but it does have some virtues, sadly it's soulless. Didn't stop the boys finding a bar and staying out till 3am!

Kath, no biggie unless you're into museums and art and the roads drove me crazy. Ran a red light out of spite and their merge system is wacky. You in Melbourne yet?

Nick it certainly felt like some huge practical joke. The locals seemed to know what was what but I ended up driving in concentric circles and getting trapped on a road to Adelaide!

jackmcmad said...

Ohhh you can keep your 40 degree heat. I never was one for the sun. I'm off on a well deserved holiday meself tomorrow to a place where only just last week it was -37 celsius. Not that bad this week though, it's only -23.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

It sounds like a good time is being had by all - Canberra heat notwithstanding!
Enjoy the last few days in the lad's company.

Baino said...

Ooh Jack. Sounds intriguing, that's even cold for a ski field. Enjoy your hols!

Will to AV, sorry to hear about little Bo ...you tried your best.

Baino said...

Sorry AV got the wrong end of the schtick. Glad Bo's still thriving

RC said...

wow...sounds like an excellent and wonderful adventure. sounds like you also might need some rest :-)

Anonymous said...

Advance Australia Fair ...

Gledwood said...

Australia did Vietnam, didn't you... that's one war Britain thankfully managed to avoid (and made up for it in Afghanistan, somehow not wiping out any heroin in how many years?) and Iraq...

I heard Canberra was made capital 'cause Melbourne and Sydney could not stop squabbling over who would get the title...?

Re smoking: when I did it (I did give up totally for the best part of a year, did new year's eve and everything without fags) I used gum as you can substitute for individual smokes when you feel you want one... there's also a nasal spray for those most strongly addicted that works really well, though it's supposed to burn your throat. Just thought I'd throw that in ;->...

kj said...

where is my comment? did i leave one? maybe not?

i can't keep up with all this tourism fun. my favorite flick here is without doubt your silly up-for-anything face.

ask and you will receive, baino. i really think so...

:)

Miladysa said...

*Love* the close up :D

I never seem to be able to get my head around Canberra being the capital - it will always be Sidney to me LOL

Wish I was there!

Baino said...

Hello RC, nice to see a new 'face'. . yep back to work for a rest tommorrow! (I wish!)

Gleds thanks for the heads up. Yep we have Nicobate gum and patches to be honest, about 20% is addiction, 80% habit . .you know what I mean. Time for a routine change, wish me luck! Not sure why Canberra was chosen but sounds about right.

kj that's actually CLARE! Doesn't she look like me with her fat face? Must be the 'bloated' image that transpires when you look through a spiral mirror, even she noticed!

Milady, you're not alone, most see Sydney as the capital much to the chagrin of the Melbournians! Seriously, that's Clare . . scary thought that if she gains weight, she's going to look like me! Future husbands beware, always check out the MIL!