Canberra

My friend from my lab and I went on a little adventure to the nation’s capitol, Canberra, for nine nights. We were attending a workshop held at the Australian National University (ANU), starting on a Friday for some silly reason. Lucky we got a little time off to see the sights.

I must admit, we were a little bit on the ignorant side. Yes we knew that our motel room at the motor park was a fair distance from the city centre but we had the assumption that, like at home and Hobart, there would be at least a strip of crappy shops close by.
We were wrong.
The receptionist gave us quite a horrified look when we told her we lacked a car and asked where the shops were. I guess the Motor in Motor Village should have been a big hint to us. The receptionist did give us a pamphlet to a Cuisine Courier service that apparently delivered groceries to stupid people like us.
The woman on the phone seemed quite horrified that we not only ordered meals (from the cheapest place on the list) but also asked for a grand total of four grocery items. Two hours later and they finally arrived to two starving people. Even though we got free delivery for the long wait, it was still so friggin expensive. And they somehow mistook orange juice for cordial. Ew, cordial…

Canberra itself is quite beautiful. Looking out the plane’s window, it’s such a contrast to Melbourne’s huge urban sprawl. Due to some law that there can’t be any buildings taller than parliament house, there aren’t any high-risers. It doesn’t look like a city at all. There’s also some strange rule that houses can’t fence off the front yard. Actually, it looks nicer that way (except for the hedge fences that grow out into the footpath).
Canberra is very treey and natural. It’s like a mixture of suburbia and country. There are so many native birds around, such as galahs, choughs and fairy wrens. It was so strange to be attending a lecture at the uni (ANU is a beautiful uni) and hear the distinct call of a cockatoo.
But there are disadvantages to this country-esk quality. As previously mentioned: you really need a car to get around. Public transport isn’t that great, though well-priced.
It’s not what I’d call a city. Civic (translation: city centre) is pretty crap. Our first impression of it at Sunday lunchtime involved the image of tumbleweeds. This is not a place to go for shopping. It’s redeeming feature is awesome wall art around the place, like the one above. That and it’s water is as good as Melbourne’s, unlike Hobart and South Australia…
We found a Thai Restaurant around there that serves fake meat. It had a large variety at good prices and tasted great. Best with of group of people so you can sample a variety of dishes. They all had yummy sauces. The beefs weren’t so great but the fish and pork were quite realistic as far as soy go. If stuck in Civic (or you absolutely can’t live without real meat) then have a look-out for Zen Yai. Another Thai restaurant well-priced.

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