The view from Dan & Jess' living room
Canberra is always on my list when I come to visit Oz, I have to say not because I'm overly fond of it (sorry peeps from Canberra), but because one of my best friends from my university days has emigrated here. Despite Canberra not being on my list of top places to visit in Oz I always have a great time when I'm here, mostly because Danny looks after me and I get to see what life is like there through his eyes, also apparently I'm the only one from England who brings any good weather with them!
It always makes me chuckle that Danny is from a small village near Milton Keynes, which is one of the planned towns in the UK and Canberra is Australia's equivalent.
After flying in from Melbourne
Danny picked me up from the airport and we went to drop my stuff off before heading out to meet Danny's friends for dinner.
This is a queue for voting in Oz!
Before going into detail about the preceeding night i feel it's worth a mention about Danny and Jess' house; it's in a beautiful location overlooking a huge golf course and woods and the huge open plan downstairs opens straight out onto a terrace facing it.
We met Danny's friends at an Indian restaurant which raised an eyebrow from me given that Danny knows I'm from the city that invented the Balti and serves up some of the UK's best curries along with Manchester and Bradford (I'd even go so far as to say that Brum has some of the worlds best curries but I might be sticking my neck out there!) but Danny prepped me to assure me that it would be goid, just not as good as home. Let me also explain a little more about how going for a curry differs in Oz to the UK; whereas in the UK curries are usual cheap and vast in quantity in Oz, where the demographic is more South East Asia than India, Bangladesh etc Asian food takes on this role instead and curry becomes more of an upmarket affair.
Waiting in line with Jess
Dan's comments proved right but it was nice to meet some of Danny and Jess' friends. Next it was off to sample a few of the nearby bars before meeting Jess and some more friends. The name of the bar we went to escapes me but is was good fun, even of half the people in there were mesmerised by AFL.
Next day we started with a lazy morning before I got to drive Jess' VW Golf GTi round to the local polling station so she could vote. Dan and I after getting bored in the exceeding long queue decided to go off and explore the flea market at the school where voting was being held. Dan, the practical joker as ever, exclaimed as we left the line "I don't think I'll bother to vote this time" to which all of the Aussies looked gob-smacked as it's illegal not to vote in Oz.
Then it was off to meet my friend Cienna, who I'd met in Brazil, and her boyfriend. We caught up over drinks and cakes cupping hot mugs in the onset of Canberra's winter. After saying goodbye we headed to pick up food for the evenings party as Dan & Jess had invited a few friends over to watch the election coverage.
As usual when people throw parties there was too much food but it was a nice relaxing evening with good company and also interesting to learn more about my (hopefully) future homelands politics.
Another lazy morning followed and then it was off to watch Dan and Jess play the final game of their 7-a-side football season. It was great to see a great social game of footy hapening without too much competitive spirit and the team won one and drew one meaning they finished second overall in their league and so would go through to the finals.
Next it was over the border into NSW to visit Jess' relies for her cousins birthday, I felt a bit awkward descending on a family party but they soon made me feel really welcome and before I knew it I had been plied with food and drink.
The lazy theme continued into the evening as we crashed out on the sofa to watch a movie.
My flight back to Melbourne wasnt until early evening so id arranged to borrow Dan's bike so i could spend the day exploring Canberra without having to rely on public transport that i knew nothing about. Armed with an A-Z id decided to cycle down past the lake to where all of the museums and galleries were located and pay a visit to the new National Portrait gallery. Not only was the new building a fine piece of architecture but it was full of amazing exhbits of contemporary artists, photographic works, young artists as well as classical portraits.
After photographing the building I spent a good few hours touring the exhibits before relaxing over a big lunch in the galleries cafe as I knew I wouldn't get much of a chance to get dinner later.
I cycled back and Danny picked me up to drop me off at the airport, as good a time as I'd had I was always sad to say goodbye to my great friend knowing it would be another prolonged period before I saw him and Jess again.