Canberra, Australia
35° 16' S 149° 12' E
Nov 09, 2007 23:53
Distance 480km

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Text written in: English

Federal Capital of Usatralia

I googled Usatralia and the only other results are mispellings so I copyright it! Actually, I did discover a difference between Australians and Americans on this trip - gay Americans always go on about how much they hate George Bush, whereas quite a lot of gay Australians (maybe a quarter of the boys I met I guess) are quite happy to support John Howard! So that was surprising. I was also looking through the Sydney boys on Facebook, and sure enough a high portion of them put their views as "conservative".

Anyway, enough about that. Canberra was... well Canberra. This is going sound perhaps contrived and ridiculous, but Canberra actually reminded me a lot of the new cities in Eastern Europe. It is full of wide avenues (at least two to three lanes in each direction) with absolutely no or very few cars on them, and hardly a pedestrian in site. The fact that the Canberra public transit authority uses old brown buses added to the imagery. The majority of Canberra's buildings appear to have been constructed between 1950 and the early 70s in a severe Modernist style (which I personally appreciate) but maintenance does not seem to be a high priority (I guess it's the cost of those roads). So it was quite an interesting image and quite a jarring paradox given the Federal Government's economic policy.

I stayed with Gregory, Max and Gregory's Mum who is in Canberra on holiday (and who has quite a distaste for the place) - I'm sure they will forgive me for writing this entry in English. They were very gracious and kind hosts, and Gregory's Mum and I had a great time visiting the Parliament (where she was thrilled to finally meet someone who spoke French), the War Memorial and the "City".

I was quite struck by the lack of Royal iconography in the Parliament buildings. No crowns, no portraits and certainly not a sceptre in sight.

I have also been quite impressed by the role the memory of the Anzacs play in National Identity, quite amply demonstrated by the fact that the War Memorial faces the Parliament. I often thought in New Zealand of how our "cornerstone" is the Treaty and the whole "bicultural" issues that engenders, and I have often thought perhaps we should replace that with a greater reference to the Anzacs, but now I'm not quite so sure...

Anyway, enough "thinking man's crumpet"... the avenues in Canberra are GREAT for hooning in (all the better when you have a big white Ford Fairmont with ACT plates to do it in) - Gregory assured me that noone in Canberra drives like I do (hehe). I also had a very pleasant eight hour drive from Melbourne - the Victorian countryside is stunning and there's nothing like the open road to "get you out of yourself".

I was also quite impressed with Canberra's gay bar. I was expecting repressed old fatties looking uncomfortable, but instead it seemed to be mostly filled with lithe young attractive uni students. I FELT OLD! haha. I was very impressed that when I asked for a coke, they asked me if I was driving and when I said "yes", I was granted free soft drinks all night! What a great policy.

Photos / videos of "Federal Capital of Usatralia":

Parliament Me looking thrilled to be in Canberra at Parliament Senate Some school kids doing educational things in the Senate. Ah, bless. When do they get to the part about baby-killing? Parliament Lower House Looking across to the War Memorial from Parliament Parliament Parliament [image] Parliament Parliament Parliament Parliament War memorial War memorial War memorial The gaps are quite interesting... Some so called "art" [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] I thought this would make a nice composition [image] [image] [image] [image] Civic Pride at work in Canberra