Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Here Comes the Rain

When I told people that I was moving to Canberra, the general reaction was "oh no, Canberra's so boring...oh well, at least you'll be closer to Sydney and Melbourne". OK, so there are no beaches in Canberra, and the night life is may not be so happening, but from what I have seen in the last 3 weeks, there's plenty of stuff to keep you busy, if you look for it.

On the weekend, one of my good friends (we went to primary school together many years ago!) drove down from Sydney for a visit. And as Dave said in his blog, there are lots of things to see and do in Canberra. On Saturday evening we enjoyed a bit of jazz in the Botanical Gardens, and on Sunday we did a tour of the National Museum and Parliament House.

Parliament House was very impressive - it's a huge complex, with a grand entry hall of marble floors and pillars and a huge staircase leading up into the building. Apparently there are 23km of corridors within the complex! And the Aussie flag flying from the 81m flagpole crowning Parliament House is the size of the side of a double decker bus. I was also fascinated to find that PH holds an original copy of the Magna Carta - one of only 4 thought to still be in existence!! It's pretty incredible that a document from the 1200s is still around. It's stored in a case filled with argon gas so that the vellum doesn't deteriorate any further.

While the "tourist attractions" of Canberra still have novelty appeal, the climate is not looking so great (surprise, surprise, I hear you say!). When I first arrived, the weather was hot and sunny - not much different from Perth except it was getting a little cooler at night. The turning point was Sunday night, when I went to Tropfest, which was being screened at an outdoor venue next to Lake Burley Griffin - just perfect for a balmy summer's eve. Only hitch was that it was not quite so balmy - in fact, it was downright miserable - the temperature dropped to 14 degrees, and it was spitting with rain for the entire 2.5 hours of the show. But this didn't deter those sturdy Canberrans - 7000 of them turned up to enjoy the short films (which I must say were well worth braving the weather - there are some very creative, talented Aussies out there!) and while this pales in comparison to Sydney's 105,000-strong audience, I thought it wasn't a bad effort!!

The weather hasn't improved since Sunday - it has remained cold and grey and dreary. I suspect that this is a sign of things to come - not looking forward to Canberra winter at all - but I hope there are still a few days of summer on the way!


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