Some people complained that there’s not a lot to do in Canberra, and that’s probably true if you don’t remember rotary phones. The venues here that stay open past 7pm play moderate volume music from the 80’s, people take strolls along the waterfront instead of throwing their hands up to psychedelic x-tainted techno-tunes, and the young crowd that competes with us on Trivia Nights (Monday at Walt&Burley’s, Tuesday at the Durham) are the type that know the difference between the Fourth Estate and fourth down. Unfortunately, that means that we have lost our American advantage, and thus are no longer winning prizes (restaurant gift certificates and bottles of wine) like we did a month ago.
Tonight we came in last place again, but the consolation prize is that we get to pick the topic for some of the questions for next week. We got this question: what group of 3 letters can you place both before and after the partial word ERGRO to make a longer word? We could have used the Team Fitz to help with this one: “What state has the most elected Presidents from? ”
That’s okay, because we’re coming off a fabulous weekend of activities around Canberra. Sunday, we drove out into the country northwest of town to a little farm vineyard for brunch as a place called Poacher’s Pantry. I was expecting perhaps some exotic meats, and maybe they have those for dinner, and we’ll certainly investigate another time. What we weren’t expecting was pretty much the best breakfast either one of us have ever had. To say I had a piece of beef cooked just the right way, with stewed cherry tomatoes, onion relish, perfectly done farm fresh eggs, bacon that came right out of the smoking shed, would be such an understatement as to void my journalistic integrity. Stacey had a mouthwatering maple and banana pancake that was so light it could have floated away except that the home-churned butter and gelato and blueberries that weighted it down. Top it off with green fields and gardens, a cute little dog, and some nicely blended champagne drinks, and you could do a lot worse.
On the way back, I insisted that we spend a little time at the National Dinosaur Museum. While there were enough moving growling life-like models to excite the youngsters (so much so that they also offer animatronic-free Tuesdays for the more skittish kids) , there was also a ton of great information about the various stages of life on this planet to re-educate me about many years of mislearned high school biology and geology. Looking at 3-million year old insects in amber, putting your hands on real asteroids and seeing what a mummified reptile from the Jurassic looks like – I was in heaven. It was actually too much – after absorbing a couple of hours of audio and video we decided to have some fun with the outside models and then get back to town.
Every Sunday, we visit a farmer’s market about two blocks from the apartment, to get some fresh cantaloupe, grapes, olives, cheese, and other luxuries, including some fresh-squeezed cane juice. The market is full of all sorts of neat things we hadn’t seen before, and a few things we’ll bring home to show – beanpod plants, some crafts from woods that are unique to the continent. I also got a camel messenger bag and a kangaroo leather hat – kangaroo hide is a lot lighter than rawhide, and has a dimpled color, like a fawn.
It wasn’t until we went to bed that we realized that we had shifted back in time an hour during the night, due to it being fall here, and daylight savings. So interestingly, the time difference has gone from 16 hours when I first got here to 14 hours. And I was just starting to think I had everything figured out. Until we do, you’ll find us on Friday nights, 7pm at the Dock, people-watching as they walk along the lake.