HIghlight of the day: Beetroot Burgers

Trip Start Oct 21, 2012
Trip End Jan 27, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , Australian Capital Territory,
Saturday, December 22, 2012

I woke up this morning with bits and pieces of weird dreams floating around my mind. You know when they're RIGHT there and you can’t quite grasp them to consciously think about what you’ve just dreamt? I’ve had the most bizarre dreams while on this trip; lots to do with school and home and absolutely none set in the locations which I am visiting. We ate breakfast in the hostel kitchen which is always fun because I love creeping on what other people are eating. There’s such diversity among the cultures and also what they eat for their first meal.

Then we headed off into the dry heat to walk through the city, across a bridge to the other side of a manmade lake to the parliament area. Canberra is a unique layout because it was designed and built intentionally as the capital. It was a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne, and was placed far away from pretty much everything. There was a design contest for the city’s plan, so there are common themes throughout the city and artistic symbolism for pretty much everything. "The path is red to symbolize the harshness of the Australian outback", “the road is circular to convey a sense of equality and inclusiveness”, “the pole is made from marble to symbolize blah blah blah and other artsy crap along those lines”. Okay, to be fair, the symbolism for some of the stuff is quite interesting, like the way the parliament building is built into a hill instead of on top of it to eliminate the sense of imposing authority over the people, instead they are welcome to climb to the roof and look down over their elected government.

After a sweaty trek to the House of Parliament, we took refuge inside the air-conditioned building and joined a guided tour. Like many political discussions, it was pretty interesting, slightly boring and quite long. I learned that the Australian form of government is very similar to the Canadian one, with one exception being that they elect their senate which means they actually have real democracy unlike our system where the senate is appointed by whoever’s in charge, and indefinitely, so they don’t really serve their intended purpose. I appreciated this tidbit.

Then we left and set off towards the National Museum which was on the other side of the lake. The sun was beating down, and it was taking a lot longer than expected; combined with the fact that it was 2;30 and we hadn’t yet had lunch, Mum was getting hangry and I was extremely low blood sugar, the situation was not looking great. Luckily, I spotted a canteen at the water’s edge and to my utmost delight they had BURGER’S WITH BEETROOT. This is as authentic Australian as you can get, and has been on my food to-do list. We placed our order and hung out outside on the dock under an umbrella when we noticed that it was December 22nd and how crazy was that. When the monstrous burgers materialized on our table I was instantly in love. The beetroot, lettuce and tomato made the burger beautiful as well as freaking amazingly delicious. Seriously, you MUST try beetroot on your burger. I presume pickle beets a la Carleton County would also be fab. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to beet-less burgers again.

Then we hit the museum, which was really interesting, educational and air conditioned. We stayed for two hours until they kicked us out cause they were closing. I can’t mention everything we learned about; because that would mean they had done a crappy job of educating us. In a nutshell, it described the history of Australia from it’s very beginning as the first land mass to break off Pangea, **, to the story of the Aborigines, the arrival of the Europeans, the convict background of the original immigrants, the development of all the urban settlements, and the evolution of the relationship between the Aborigines and the immigrant Australians. Which is quite a story.

We took a bus back to the hostel neighborhood and hung out for a while, chatting up some Asian women backpackers that were really interesting. Then for supper we had meat pies that we bought in the frozen food section of the IGA, some tabbouleh and for dessert had gelato when we went out for an evening stroll to check out the Saturday night life of the capital city. I had choc-mint as a hot weather sub for peppermint hot chocolate, to get in the festive spirit. I can’t believe tomorrow’s Christmas Eve Eve!!
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