Monday, February 02, 2009

Canberra: a recap.

In addition to getting a fair bit of work done, and going to the coast for a few days, I was able to see some of the sights that Canberra has to offer. I caught up with some Canberrans, and I ate out more than I do in Townsville because the kitchen was a bit undesirable.

Most days I walked to the archives, which meant trekking across this creek...

And past this beautiful hedge of lavender...

And finally past this art-tree.

For lunch I usually ate leftover dinner, and sometimes some fruit. This mixture of pasta, dukkah and soy sausage was yummy and hearty.

Or this rice and beans concoction, which used a bit of everything in my pantry—fava beans, tomato puree, broccoli, dukkah, soy sauce, peanut butter, tahini, onion and garlic.

When I really couldn’t be motivated to go over to the very non-vegan kitchen, I got takeaways, like this vegetable curry from an Indian place.

Usually I worked in the mornings, until my brain was very full of information, and then I did some touristing. It worked out quite well, and I got to see lots of things. Like Parliament House, which of course accommodates both branches of the Australian government, but is also home to a few very important historical artefacts, like the Yirrkala Bark Petition from the Aboriginal inhabitants of Arnhem land, protesting mining on their land in the 1960s.

From the grassy roof, there were also pretty good views of the city.

One afternoon I strolled along Lake Burley-Griffin to the Captain Cook Memorial Fountain. Even though he is highly symbolic of colonial aggression and expansion, I’ve been fascinated by him and his travels since I read the book Blue Latitudes a few years ago.

On the 26th of January, I gathered with a few dozen others in Garema Place.

After a smoking ceremony, and some singing and speaking, we all marched to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, which was set up on the lawns of Old Parliament House in 1972. At the embassy, our numbers swelled and there was an even bigger ceremony, led by one of the original Tent Ambassadors—who last year was arrested trying to save some kangaroos from a government-sanctioned culling program.

On another day I visited the National Portrait Gallery, where I watched a video-portrait of Pam Aherne, founder of Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary.

At the National Gallery I looked at art from around the world, including the visiting Degas exhibit, but got a bit sick of the crowds. Outside in the sculpture garden, however, it was just me and these three swans.

Old Parliament House was a good, cool place to spend a few hours on one of the 38 degree afternoons.

I had some dining-out highlights, as well. Of course Au Lac with Anna was good. I also enjoyed some tagine and couscous with Cristy, P and Lily. On a Sunday afternoon I was taken to Bungendore, just outside Canberra, to a wood-working gallery and café, by the organistion which funded my trip. One day for lunch I was treated to a delicious basil-chilli tofu from Lemongrass Thai (at the email suggestion of Marnie, a Melbourne vegan). I didn’t take any photos, since it was a business-y lunch with an anthropologist my supervisor put me in touch with. And I went out for noodles with a friend from undergrad. Despite my early misgivings about my food situation in Canberra, I actually did quite well.

I am, however, glad to be home. I made it home just in time for Tropical Cyclone Ellie which has given us plenty of wind and rain, but has already been downgraded to a tropical storm. But cool, rainy weather means baked goods, which I will leave for my next post...


just me said...

i went to the parlaiment house when i was in canberra...soooo nice! i really enjoyed all the art inside!

Vegetation said...

I think you went to more places in Canberra while you were there than I ever did :P

Mmmm dukkah on pasta? I LOVE that idea, I have a tin from cooking something for the great UnVeg that I've always wanted to use, but wasn't sure what to do with.

Enjoy being back in your kitchen!

Mel said...

Glad you had a great time! You hit most of the Canberra sites in such a short space of time.

Incidentally, that lavender hedge is just outside of my place - so I agree its such a nice smell and sight as one walks to work!

DJ said...

Sounds like a lovely visit - your pix are lovely! And it looks like you ate pretty well despite your initial misgivings!

Anonymous said...

you look like you had a fun trip!

Vegan_Noodle said...

Canberra looks like a fun place explore! I am impressed with your clean out the pantry meal!

Good to hear that Ellie has calmed down a bit... especially since it will now involve some baking! Excited to see what you make :-)

Veggie said...

Canberra looks like such a beautiful place.