…is the seat of government. Elections are this coming weekend and the politicians are out and about and not here. I don’t think I miss them. We are staying at the Medina Apartments so we have a kitchen which is very nice. Here's a view out of our front door:
The trees in the courtyard are budding out!
I love Australia – more specifically, I love Australians. They are both friendly and polite, casual and helpful. There are probably cranky Australians, but we haven’t met any.
A case in point was our experience picking up our rental car this morning. We arrived at 10:00 with paperwork in hand showing that we had paid in advance for our car. Unfortunately we were not in the Eurocar system. It took three people and call to the US (boy was I glad my cell phone worked and that there was someone awake in the US to take the call) to figure out that somehow our reservation had turned into a 2-day (rather than 11-day) reservation in Tasmania (rather than Canberra) in June (rather than August). Only our name was correct. But the three people on the business side of the counter were helpful, assumed that it was a problem on their end (not ours) and we did end up with a car in a reasonable amount of time. All in all, it was an amazingly good experience.
After getting the (tiny, baby blue) car, we went to the National Library for a look-see and lunch. Next was the National Portrait Gallery. I loved that – a museum full of contemporary and traditional portraits of Australians. I much prefer faces to landscapes so this was a treat. No photos allowed or I’d share some.
In the afternoon we drove south to Booroomba Rocks, part of a national park whose name I forget. The land is similar to that in the US, but it is not the same. The trees are different – mostly eucalyptus. They remind me so much of trees drawn by Dr. Seuss. The birds are different – we saw parrots, cockatoos, and magpies today. Their calls are are new to my ears and that caught me by surprise. (We didn't start early enough to make it to the actual rocks, but we did put in a 4-5 mile hike.)
Spotted these mail barrels (not exactly mailboxes). They look functional.
So, driving on the other side of the road is not for the faint of heart. I navigate and Steve drives. Traffic is different and it’s not just that you drive on the left. There are traffic circles in many places instead of traffic lights. Steve missed the yield sign once and we barely escaped death but that experience had a focusing effect. He’s mostly got them figured out now. (Jeff, if you are reading this, I didn’t grab the dash or scream. It happened too fast.) Traffic appears to move better with the circles because there is a lot less stopping.
I took this photo out the car window on the way home from Booroomba Rocks. The gray branches against the gray sky were lovely.