Home sweet home in Canberra

Trip Start Feb 03, 2007
Trip End May 01, 2007

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Day 1 in Canberra ~ met gus

After a 4-hour drive from Sydney, we reached Canberra which was some 170km away. I drove about ¼ of the way. Reached Canberra at about 11am. I've only eibeen to Canberra one other time, which was in 2003 when William and I participated in the Canberra marathon. The house that William lived in is v cosy! And his housemate, Andrew, is very nice too. Cooked spaghetti for lunch and lazed around the house. In the late afternoon, we brought Andrew's jack Russell, gus, out for a walk. I love gus! He's so hyperactive and friendly and his eyes are so kind and beautiful.  After which, we had dinner at some thai restaurant and did some grocery shopping.

Day 2 in Canberra ~ ran 15km and tasted the loveliest yogurt
William had a presentation at the hosp in the morning so I went for a run on my own. Ran around lake burley Griffin which I heard had a circumference of 42km! According to Andrew, the lake was originally a small river and the lake is totally man-made. The lake was named after the American architect, burley Griffin, who came up with the design and layout for Canberra. Canberra used to be a small village until it was selected to be the capital of Australia as its location was in the middle of new south wales and Victoria, which were the 2 most prosperous parts of Australia then and which did not want to see the capital of the country located in the other state. 
Even though the sun was q strong, it was v nice to run as it was dry (so you don't perspire much) and breezy. If I lived in Canberra, I think I would have no probs achieving my target marathon timing of 3:40. 
Visited the fyswich fresh foods market, which stocked lots of local produce. Saw the largest pumpkin I've ever seen. Even the carrots and beetroots were interesting, with their roots still attached. We bought lots of fruits and homemade which we had for lunch. The passion fruit yogurt was the most creamy and delicious that I've ever tasted! There was a charity book sale at the markets and I bought 2 le cordon bleu recipe books which were published in the 1970s! After doing laundry, we headed out for town center and looked for hairdressers as I needed a haircut. Its v expensive to cut hair here and the quotations I rec'd were all about A$65, double the px in sg. I guess when I'm really desperate, I might go for one of the $10 hair cuts which are done by Lebanese guys.  Had tea at this new pattiserie in town, mosaic. The pastries were simply fantastic! And there was so much variety that I spent a long time deciding what to order.  William ordered his fave pastry, pecan pie whereas I had a mandarin orange cake. And a almond truffle that costs only A$0.80. wasn't very sure what truffles are so I looked it up on the internet. The pastry truffle is a chocolate desert. Whereas truffles are actually fungi found under oak trees and are priced by gourmets for its unique taste. after which we headed for the gym. Had dinner at a recommended vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant which was rather disappointing.
Day 3 in Canberra ~ ran up to black mountain
I'm on my own today as William will be working 8am to 8.30pm shifts for the next 4 days. The run was much longer than expected and I took about 1hr plus to reach the foot of black mountain. Even though I was already q tired as I've not fully recovered from yesterday's run and gym session, I decided to run up the mountain since I was already there. Checked with the locals and realized that there were no mountain trails, so I ran up the road that leads to the top of the mtn. I was running rather slowly and took some 20mins to reach the top. Was absolutely tired and needed refueling, so I had breakfast of muffin and coffee at the café at the telstra tower on top of the black mtn. There was a panoramic view of Canberra from the towers. After hanging around and digesting my foods for 45mins, I ran down the mtn, this time it only took me 10mins. It started to drizzle on my way back. Back the time I got back home, it was already 1pm.  It has been a really lovely run as I was running on the trail most of the time. Enjoyed the lake views, grasslands, willow trees, colored pigeons, and views of black mtn in the distance.  also encountered many other runners and cyclists. Thus far, I definitely like Canberra more than Sydney.
For dinner, I prepared udon noodles - with miso soup, carrots, capsicum, bok choy, ikan bilis and seaweed.  Also boiled chrysanthemum tea, which I had brought from sg.  Its so much nicer to cook for another person. If I was having dinner on my own, I'd have just eaten bread. 
Day 4 in Canberra ~ explored town center

Was supposed to go for the sri chinmoy 10km run this morning, but I was still v sore from yesterday's long run. Andrew had a choir performance with his choir group, the resonants, at glebe park in the town center, so I tagged along. After which, I walked around the Canberra center, which is a huge shopping center.  Walked to buy runner's world but they were sold out. So only bought ingredients for dinner and tiramisu.  I cooked thai pineapple rice using the asian gourmet paste/sauce. The flavour of the rice wasn't as strong as I liked. But overall, the dish was nice as I added in lots of ingredients: pineapple, raisins, seaweed, eggs, chicken, ikan bilis, mixed veg, garlic and shallots.  Andrew joined us for dinner today and we had a nice chat with him.  

Day 5 in Canberra ~ had a small situation with gus
Brought gus out for a walk in the late morning and a small drama occurred. I let him go into the lake and he started swimming after the swans. There were a huge round of buoys that cordoned off a swimming area and he seemed to be stuck at one of the buoys. He was pretty far off and I could hardly see him. I waited for 10mins and he was still at the same spot and I started getting worried. Decided to fetch him from the lake so I started moving using the buoys but the water was too deep and cold and I was a v poor swimmer, so I turned back. Borrowed hp from some locals nearby to call the police. After some 10mins, the water police came and picked gus up. They said that he wasn't stuck but seems to be trying to swim across the lines in between the buoys. The police put him back on shore and b4 I could put the leash on him, he ran back into the waters again, sigh!
Apart from the small drama in the morning, I stayed at home for the rest of the day, as I din feel like gg out anymore. I was also quite immobile as William drove the car to hosp today. Spent the day packing for our new Zealand trip, reading various newspapers and mags, also watched the 1st episode of jewel in the palace.
Day 6 in Canberra ~ made tiramisu and met eindra for dinner
Made tiramisu today. It was a small struggle as I was using the a very old style electronic hand-beater and I couldn't find a deep mixing bowl so the egg whites splattered all over when I was beating them. The tiramisu turned out ok, but not as nice as the one I made in sg, largely due to the ingredients. The sponge fingers and cocoa powder that I bought in sg was better.
Did misc reading today and watched the 2nd episode of jewel in the palace. As well as final packing for NZ.
Then met eindra for dinner at town center. Eindra was my public health course-mate from Uni of Sydney. The last time I met her was in 2004 when she visited Sg. She showed me a book that I gave her when she was returning home to burma after her studies, 'the little book of positive thinking' and told me that she brought the book with her everywhere, to burma, then Thailand (where she worked for 2 yrs) and now Canberra. I was touched to hear that my gift was treasured. we had dinner at this jap restaurant called wagamama which wasn't really nice. After which, we adjourned to eindra's apartment. William joined us much later after he finished work in hosp.
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