Thursday, March 20, 2008

Canberra: A Capital City

Well, it turns out Canberra is the capital of Australia, not Sydney. It's like finding out New York city isn't the capital of that state. Makes you go "huh". Anyway, "Can-bruh" is a nice, spread-out, similar version of Washington D.C. All the buildings look like they were built in the '60s or later... they all have that Kennedy Center-esque modernism that John would have loved!

The weather's great here too; in fact, the leaves are just starting to fall. Isn't that weird? I hope it's warming up back home. Anyway, I'm still having good luck in that department.
There's one teensy problem: my hotel, on the map, looked only a few blocks away from Parliament (their Capitol building), but walking to it took eons! As the guidebooks warn: "The distances are greater than you think". They were right, and my feet paid the price for not listening. So I visited both the new & old Parliaments (the new one is pictured right), but after that, hobbling over to the National Gallery, I was getting a bit sore, and by the time I made it to the National Library I was downright aching. I sat down at a computer terminal just to rest (and check my email). But they did have a nice display on Linnaeus (the one who invented the Linnaean classification system), and another on how Australians coped with the vast distances they had to cover (I managed to get a photo from it online and have included it here-- enlarge it and check out those cool dogs!).

Anyway, after that I found a bus going into the shopping district, where I had a spinach-pie in a Border's bookstore, and even caught a movie (Horton) as a treat to my aching feet. Much rested, I found another bus whose nice driver practically dropped me off at my hotel.
Moral of the story: always take the time to figure out the local bus system.
Another thing: I have to stop going into shopping malls; I got angry twice today in one of them. The first time, I stepped into an Australian store, the kind that sells trinkets, clothes, and all things Aussie. Only thing is, all those kind of stores (and in New Z. too) have piles of animal skins for sale. Usually it's sheepskin, some in N.Z. had posssum too, but today for the first time I saw kangaroo skins, complete with tails. I complained to the manager; I figure if they hear that enough tourists don't like it, maybe they'll stop trying to sell them.
The other thing that pissed me off was a bookstore that sold two children's books (probably American) that were disgusting: one included a story about a mouse beating a cat to death with a baseball bat, and another, "The Bad Book" that graphically depicted throwing dynamite at a dinosaur: "First its arms were blown off, then its legs, then its head"; complete with drawings. I mean, is this what kids really need to be reading? What the hell do they think children are going to go out and do afterwards, after reading that? Whatever happened to teaching compassion? Anyway, like I said, I've gotta stop going to shopping malls.

Next: from Canberra to Melbourne
P.S. My sunburn is finally healing; my skin's peeling off my back like sheets of fine parchment. No more snorkeling for me for a while!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What is the name of the hotel you stayed at in Canberra? It's funny but I took almost the exact same photo of Darling harbor that you took...the one you posted about Sydney...with the rental paddle boats. Anyway, hope this finds you well. Those of us who are here in VA are going to Ben & Rita's for a Greek Easter. Mom & Dad are bringing the lamb....I just can't get myself to eat Lamb. Salad and spinach pies are enough for me. Oh well, have fun in Melbourne!