Thursday, December 16, 2010

Always take the weather with you

Monday 29th November - Monday 6th December [In Canberra]

On Monday 29th I got into Canberra from Bateman's Bay on a Murray coach at 5.30pm, put my bike back together and loaded up, and rode to the Canberra Motor Village caravan park, about 5 kays from the city centre in O'Connor. It was, of course, raining and sometime during the night I looked up to see a red glowing UFO hovering over the Black Mountain that the caravan park is at the base of. Some clouds had cleared leaving only the restaurant part of the Telstra Tower, which had been completely obscured by cloud until then.

On Tuesday 30th, after a big catch up on sleep, I went for a ride along one of the bike paths past the AIS and to Belconnen where I rode around Lake Ginninderra.

I then rode past the Canberra Nature Park to Lake Burley Griffin where I stopped for lunch while it continued to pour. I had a small interspecies conference meeting with a magpie where I agreed to a free-trade deal of some crumbs in return for a cease-fire on the swooping front. I haven't been attacked since, but it is out of season now, so I'm hoping the peace deal lasts a while. It felt like I had encountered half the magpies in Victoria earlier on.

It continued to rain. I decided to catch a movie I hadn't been able to see in all the smaller town cinemas whose movie listings comprise of one kids movie, one date movie, and one explosion movie. I saw the 9.30 session of Social Network and got back to camp at 1 am.

On Wednesday it was still raining. I checked out of the Caravan Park and went to the information centre, where I stayed until noon the weather looked so inviting.

Met up with Luke in the arvo where we checked into the Canberra YHA.

We did as much touristy stuff over the next few days as can be done for free or low cost - museums, war memorials, galleries.

We managed to visit the Space Invaders street art exhibition a couple of times. There were examples of works from Ghost Patrol and Ha Ha of Melb as well as a few others. The exhibition also had this kind of clothes line with zines pegged on it. Zines are independently produced little mags from people all over the place. I like to read Fergus. (For Melbourne peeps there is a zine shop in the Flinders street

The Thursday we were in Canberra was apparently the wettest day they have seen since 1938.

By the end of it we were pretty much 'museumed out'.

On Friday night we went to the ANU bar and saw the John Steel Singers.

On Saturday we went for a big ride. First up we went to the Botanical Gardens where we ended up walking up Black Mountain (and getting attacked by ants - my thongs were not a good choice of footwear), paying the entry for the lift up the Telstra Tower, looking at the view, walking back down, trying not to get bitten by ants or the snake Luke spotted under the path.

Then we must have ridden most of the path around the Lake to get to the Parliament House.

The YHA was booked out on Saturday night so Luke wotif'ed and managed to come up with Rydges. The concierge put my bike in storage. There was a good view to Parliament House and Black Mountain/Telstra Tower.

Early morning parliament house

Spooky shot of Black Mountain / Telstra Tower

 I tried to book the bus back to Batesman's but it was sold out until the Tuesday morning. Luke flew back to Melbourne on Sunday arvo. I stayed one night in the YHA as I couldn't be bothered getting my crap out of the locker Sunday night, but due to a convention on in Canberra a school group had booked out just about everything for the Monday night. So I went back the caravan park for one night.

That caravan park, by the way is seriously paranoid. They pretty much didn't want to let me stay (on an unpowered tent site $23) because I said I didn't have a credit card - they store your card details permanently on their computer unless you specifically ask for them to empty the fields when you check out, and most caravan parks have terrible info security) - so I refused to give it to them... Instead they photocopied my ID card, then they gave me a form to fill out and I caused them more concern when I left the car rego number bit blank.

Next 'park policy' moment was when they asked for the $20 extra for key deposit. I had to leave at 5am to get to the bus terminal, fetch the bike box from its dry hiding spot, and pack the bike for the early departure time. Their office doesn't open until 7 so how do I get my deposit back? They refused to shift. Either give us a credit card or lose the $20. I thought about enquiring if they take kidneys. Instead I suggested they post the money back to me.
Apparently they had never thought of that before on their ownsome. After the lady confered with the manager, yes it was agreed.

Blood successfully squeezed from stone I set up camp and attempt to get some sleep before the early start. (I had some noisy German neighbours.)

I manage to pack up the bike with two bus loads of sydney-bus-catchers staring on, and I am first to load onto the bus when the same driver as before recognises me. Front end of the bus seat acquired, I'm all set for the trip which finishes with an hour of thrilling twists and turns down the Clyde Mountain. The highway has several emergency ramps for brake failures its that steep.

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