I awoke a couple of times in the early hours and refrained from pulling something more substantial than a sheet over me, it really wasn't cool enough.
We bought ourselves a YHA breakfast which consisted of a carton of fruit juice, cereal and a third of a pint of milk, two slices of bread and condiments, all for AUD 3.90. The noticeboard in reception declared that the weather today was a fine 35 degrees.
In the baking sun we set off for the FedEx office and 20 minutes later I emerged from the building having packaged a box ready to despatch to England. This wasn't just a flimsy envelope in a copy centre mailbox, this was a real cardboard box in a FedEx office. This definately feels far more secure than the FedEx mailbox I sent from Arusha!
We walked around the Botanic Gardens at the foot of the Telstrar Tower where there was a complete absence of colour and hardly any variation on green leaves. Entering the fernery greenhouse, in between wetdown sprays, was refreshing and despite it being humid it was cooler than the air outside. There were three Christmastree Bells, orange in colour, but that was about it. At least the sundial in the garden was correct, or so Ian told me, I couldn't read it!
We followed our duties with a revisit of Parliament House. Cleverly we parked the car underground, well actually under Parliament House and Capital Hill, so the car wouldn't cook in the sun in our absence. Passing through security, for Ian very slowly having emptied the entire contents of all of his pockets and having passed them through x-ray again, we emerged into a great marble staircase hall which begged to be photographed. We spent a couple of hours wandering throughquite a lot of Parliament House including the Great Hall, the House of Senate and the House of Representatives. We saw a copy of the Royal Commission of Assent, Australia's birth certificate, signed by Queen Victoria in 1901 and the original Magna Carta. Parliament House was a very bright and airy building and there was plenty of rooms and hallways open to the public.
A thought about Oriental tourists. I find them most intriguing. On numerous occasions now in several countries I have witnessed the Oriental tourist in action and often find myself in a trance by their antics. A party will leap off a bus, all hurry to the obvious point on which to stand, ruin other tourists pictures in the process, and then stand there, absolutely expressionless, while people, not just their partner, takes pictures. Then there will be a slight rotation and that one person is replaced so people, again, plural, can take pictures of that person. Surely, these people must have numerous photographs, all of the same scene, with various subjects posing in the foreground, expressionless. They may not even know the person in their photograph! None of them pay the slightest bit of attention to the beautiful view of historical artefact which they are ruining when taking the picture! It's amazing, truly amazing. What a dull set of photographs they must have to trawl through, none of them taken with any thought, more of a case of just proving that they went to a certain place. They really don't look like they enjoy themselves.
We left Canberra early afternoon and drove back through Queanbeyan, Bungendore, Braidwood and the Budawong National Park encompassing Clyde Mountain, a very steep descent which goes on and on and on. Eventually we emerged at Batemans Bay again and we followed the Princes Highway in to Narooma. Unfortunately I thought this was where our journey ended today but a confused conversation with the man in the hostel and a telephone conversation between him and another hostel revealed that I had in fact booked us in to Merimbula which is another 1 hour 30 minutes drive south. It was then 19:00. Oops. We jumped back in to the car and I drove us on to Merimbula in a race against dusk. I didn't want to add to the many kangaroos I have seen by the side of the road...
On arrival we ate a good meal at Zanzibars which was tainted by the over sickly waitress who insisted on calling us ma'am and sir, us dressed in our minging three day old sweaty shorts and t-shirts!
Today we travelled 363 kilometres from Canberra to Merimbula.
Copyright 2003 Helen Fuller. All rights reserved.