Trompe le Monde: A Round the World Tour Diary

An online travel diary so people can keep up to date with what I'm doing and where I'm going.

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Location: Home, United Kingdom

You all know who I am, I assume.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Canberra

I've not written anything for a while because I've been in Canberra, home of (amongst other things) the Australian Federal Parliament, and ludicrously expensive internet cafes. So not much time, so no writing on here. I'm now in Sydney, home of (amongst other things) the New South Wales Parliament, and reasonably priced "unlimited time" deals in internet cafes.

As you may have guessed from the above paragraph, I wasn't overly enamoured with Canberra. It's a planned capital city, having been constructed in New South Wales at least 100 miles from Sydney as per the agreement when the various Australian colonies formed a Federation back at the turn of the last century. Since it's planned, it's even more spacious and picturesque than the other Australian cities to which I've been, but this comes at a cost. It was obviously designed with cars in mind, so our preferred method of transport, "walking", left us pretty footsore by the end of each day.

Still, at least there's quite a bit of free stuff to see: the aforementioned Aussie Parliament, based on our very own, and with some of the same traditions, most amusingly a man named Black Rod, and the fact that the Queen's not allowed in the lower chamber (she's their Queen too, remember?).

There's also a quality musuem in the Australian War Memorial site. Before you exclaim "War? When the hell have the Aussies had to fight a war?" I shall remind you that Australian soldiers took part in WW1 and 2, as well as in Korea and 'nam, plus of course as UN Peacekeeping troops here and there. And boy, are they ever touchy about it. If you want to really wind an Aussie up (and not just in the "you've got no culture, mate" jokey way) belittle their achievements in the disastrous Gallipolli landings in WW1. Point out that the landings achieved nothing, and that the Aussies, far from playing a key role, lost less then half the number of troops that the UK lost. And we never even mention Gallipolli.

Don't actually do that, incidentally - the whole Gallipolli thing is revered over here, to the extent that every town or city has things named after it, or after ANZAC (the name of the Aussie and New Zealand forces that took part in the military debacle). I assume it's cos it's more or less the only single battle where they've really lost a lot of troops in one go.

Anyway, we're back in Sydney now, and will soon be joined by the returning Si, hopefully with a fully working ATM card for me. Fingers crossed on that score. We leave for New Zealand on the 22nd in the morning, so for those who are counting (or even those who are still reading at this point!) that'll be the 21st in the evening for all of you. Or, as many grammatically-challenged Aussies would have it, "all of youze".

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