Saturday, August 23, 2008

Holy Sheep!

I went for a two day trip to visit the capital of Australia. I rented a car, dubbed it Sir
Wallaby, and hit the road. After a few tentative blocks I felt more comfortable driving on the wrong side of the road.

The main thing one has to remember whilst driving on the wrong side of the road-is what side of the road is wrong. From driving in Australia two years ago I usually remember which side is wrong. But when a roundabout spits me out on a side street that has no lines on it, I have to pause and think, “Now, which way do sane people drive? Okay, now I head the opposite direction and give it a go. There, that wasn’t too bad! Oh crap another roundabout!”
Then the cycle starts again. 

Several roundabouts later I was heading west of Sydney. One would think the best way to get to know a country is to visit its capital. With that in mind I took the four hour journey from
Sydney to the capital Canberra (pronounced “Can-bear-a”). After a few hours there I thought it should be renamed “Can-you-bear-it?” -that’s because Canberra is quite boring.

I don’t quite understand why Canberra is located where it is. It is in the middle of nowhere, with no access to the coasts that Australians seem to love so much. The capital itself does have a lot of interesting museums and attractions, but they are spread out over so many large and empty “parks” (also known as patches of grass). Walking between sites is a monotonous expedition that requires not only a heap of spare time, but food provisions and a pack mule.
After quickly getting my fill of the capital, I 
drove to the town of Goulburn to visit one of my favorite Australian "non-icons."  Sternly judging 
every manner of passing vehicle, The Big Merino is a wooly behemoth overlooking the Old Hume Highway. At 15.2 meters, Rambo (as he is affectionately known) is one bad ba ba you wouldn’t want to tick off…especially if you parked behind him. 

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