More M-5; Canberra

- 11 July 2001 (p.m.) -

Typical NSW mountain scenery.
(photo by Yansa)

On the M-5 between Goulburn and Collector. 

The clouds aren't typical. This is, after all, the dry season, but it actually rained on us on the way to Canberra.

First gigantic sheep, and now... this?
(photo by Yansa)

This is a wacky abstract sculpture in Collector, which is a ghost town of sorts that's a couple of miles off the M-5.

 This abstract sculpture thing is privately owned; it's right next to its (presumed) owner's house. It was all cordoned off, unfortunately; the last time RiÁk was there, he and Lisa got to climb all over it. 

Concrete abstraction, Yansa, more concrete abstraction.
(photo by Kat)

There's two sets of hands in this picture, and two faces. One is abstract, and one is very real. Can you find both sets? 

Abstraction, RiÁk, Yansa, more abstraction.
(photo by Kat)

RiÁk, me, abstract sculpture, and more Aussie scenery. 

RiÁk, Kat, and the sculpture.
(photo by Yansa)

RiÁk... Kat... sculpture... yeah. 

Yansa at the abandoned gas station in Collector.
(photo by Bek)

This is Yansa sitting in a chair outside an abandoned gas station ("petrol", in Australia -- "gas" is kerosene there) in Collector (right across the road from the abstract sculpture).

Collector used to be on the main highway, until they built a new one a few miles away. Then Collector became a ghost town. RiÁk has a picture of himself sitting outside this very same gas station... it was totally wacky to be in the exact same chair, in the exact same place. (In real life, it looked different than I thought it would.)  

Mountain scenery.
(photo by Yansa)

On the M-5 between Collector and Canberra. 

Hill with Australian-looking trees.
(photo by Yansa)

Hill. Trees. Yep. 

Welcome to Canberra!
(photo by Yansa)

The white sign with the red circle: speed limit. 100 k/h is about 62.5 miles per hour.

The blue sign says "Welcome to Canberra, The Nation's Capital".

The white sign behind the blue sign reminds us that Canberra is "the city that Federation built" -- 2001 is the 100th anniversary of Australia's federation (when the British colonies in Australia voted to join together and become a nation).

(photo by Yansa)

In the distance: Canberra. It doesn't really show up in this picture, though. 

In that respect, it's a lot like Eugene when viewed from I-105 southbound ;)

The Australian National University in Canberra.
(photo by Yansa)

The ANU is a very stately, very clean college campus.

Australian public buildings are amazingly clean by American standards. This is a college, but there's no signs of building neglect, no litter, no graffiti, no telephone poles pasted with banners... it's all very clean and orderly. I could lean against the light pole and not feel like I was probably going to get sick from the bubonic plague ;)

In the distance is Black Mountain, and the Canberra Tower (I think it's the local TV broadcasting tower, but I don't remember).

Supper time!
(photo by Kat)

Iain, Bek, myself, and RiÁk, at dinner in the kitchen at Kat's dorm, at ANU.

ANU provides a gigantic kitchen for its students that choose to live in "self-catered residences"... the one for Kat's dorm (the one I went to) looks like the world's largest home-ec classroom. It's a gymnasium-sized room with refrigerators, sinks, stoves, microwaves, tables, etc. It's pretty much an experience in itself. Students can take weekly college-sponsored bus trips to Woolworths or Coles (two Aussie supermarket chains), buy food, and cook it there in the kitchen.

Yansa... and the Cube.
(photo by Kat)

This is me, standing next to the famous Canberra Cube.

The Cube is supposed to change colors when you talk to it. However, RiÁk says it's been stuck on red for the last six months or so. That doesn't mean we didn't try... 

"Hey Cube!"
"Oh Cube... there's somebody here from 7,000 miles away!"

... but we had no luck. ;)

After this, we (being Kat, Bek, and myself) then walked to the Casino Canberra, where our lack-of-luck streak continued as we played a couple of games of Keno.

One interesting note about Australian gambling: Slot machines are called "pokies" in Australia; that's short for "poker machines". However, you cannot play poker on a "poker machine" -- because it's really a slot machine. Machines where you can play poker are called (if memory serves) video poker, just like in the US. 

They did not have pokies at Casino Canberra, which kind of surprised me, but I guess they have enough elsewhere -- RiÁk says that there are more pokies in New South Wales than in all of Nevada. 

Kat, Bek, Oinky.
(photo by Yansa)

Oinky: the cute piggy toy that Bek is holding. Squeeze Oinky's belly, and it oinks. It's astoundingly cute.

On my first day in Sydney, RiÁk, Bek, Kerryn, and I were watching "Pinky And The Brain" at Bek's place; it was the "Chia World" episode. Brain said, "Are you pondering what I'm pondering, Pinky?" And Pinky said, "Duh, I think so, Brain, but if you replaced the P with an O, my name would be 'Oinky'!"

Then we went to Canberra, and it turned out that Kat had a plush toy piggy named Oinky. Naturally, this brought about misty watercolor memories. And from then on, Oinky was a phenomenon of its own. Bek guarded Oinky zealously ;)

Text written 17 August 2001.
Last updated 19 January 2006.