Canberra Ii

Yesterday I went to the Australian Museum. It’s a lot like Te Papa in that rather than just displaying items, it attempts to tell stories. It also reminded me of Te Papa because it seems that finally New Zealand and Australia have been around long enough to have some history and stories to tell of their own, instead of having to cling to British history.

There was plenty of Aboriginal history, including one section about a group of women who decided to resurrect an almost lost skill make a possum-fur cloak. Possums are a protected animal in Australia, so they had to get the skins from New Zealand. Well, it’s a more worthy use than those pseudo nipple warmers.

Next I walked around the lake and across the bridge to the National Gallery. This might sound like a quick stroll, but it was actually several kilometres. Canberra a very spread-out city. I was going to complain about it being more an automobile city (and indeed it does seem to have very car-friendly streets), but its spread-out design is a lot like parts of Paris and London (and probably Washington DC too) – it’s very regal and very capital city. The squat, compactness of Wellington seems like an anomaly in contrast.

The National Gallery was good. It’s an interesting building and has a good selection of art. Arrgh, see my complete lack of ability to describe art? Yes. I never studied art history at school or nothing, ow. There was one painting up in the Australian section that got me. I stood there looking at it, knowing that this painting had to be part of my life from now on. I didn’t want to take a photo because that didn’t seem adequate. I bought a print of it in the gift shop, but that’s not really adequate either.

I discovered the TV in my hotel room had captions, so I watched the live elimination of X-Factor with captions. It looked like it was done through respeaking with voice-recognition software, but they had song lyrics prepared. I wasn’t sure whether to feel trashy for watching X-Factor or nerdy for doing something kind of work-related on holiday.

Ok, today I’m going to steal a car and hit the highway.

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