Trip Start Jan 16, 2008
Trip End Jul 28, 2008

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Where I stayed
Canberra Motor Village

Flag of Australia  , Australian Capital Territory,
Thursday, June 5, 2008

Arriving in this ghost town, officially Australia's capital, we at first wondered whether there had been a major bomb scare, but we soon realised that's just how Canberra is. It seems to be the southern hemisphere equivalent of Milton Keynes. Ordered streets awash with large concrete structures, devoid of all pedestrians.
However, despite the host of museums and political intrigue, our primary objective was set by the date - 5 June = the release night of Sex and the City. Indeed, it had become a military exercise - our base (caravan park) was within striking distance (10 minute drive) from our target (the cinema) where we were to perform our field operation (watching the film). The mission was a success although I will forever be traumatised by the experience.
For all feminists and those females offended by the honest truth please stop reading NOW.
The succinct summary of Sex and the City is as follows:
Women pretend all they want is love, a family and simplicity, but actually this is boring and they are far more content with a good dose of drama and complexity to spice things up.
The three males in the audience tried to look around at each other for support, whilst the women sobbed uncontrollably on multiple occasions and then declared what and amazing time they had had!? Guys, I don't think we'll ever understand the fair sex.
Back to more trivial matters. As a tourist, Canberra is a blast because almost everything is free thanks to the Australian taxpayer. The National Museum of Australia was enormous, yet imaginative and innovative in its displays. In particular the sporting hall of fame offered me a welcome return to sanity.
Our tour of Parliament was truly exceptional thanks to the enthusiasm of our guide, who amusingly pointed out that the Australian coat of arms flanked by a kangaroo and an emu (interestingly and symbolically two animals that can only move forward) is the only coat of arms in the world that can be barbequed!
Our final day was spent engaged in the vast exhibits of the War Memorial, poignantly commerating Australia's role in twentieth century conflicts. As a historian it was interesting to escape the classic European / American interpretation of events. The portrayal of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign of 1915 from which ANZAC Day (25 April) takes its significance was particularly powerful.
We could have spent days there, but unfortunately time was pressing on and I still needed to find my roadside pie...(for the record, it was on the highway three hours north of Melbourne - the meat was alarmingly like dog food and the pastry far from crumbly...wasn't quite worth the 8,000 km wait!)
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