Wednesday, 27 December 2006

I'm in Canberra. I drove the distance yesterday in the Echo. I turned onto the M5 Motorway at 8.45am and an hour later had passed the Bargo turnoff. I stopped for breakfast at around 10.20 and passed the Marulan turnoff at 10.45. By 11.45 I was driving out of a rest area about 40 kilometers from the capital.

These shots I took of the countryside are typical of it, all the way from Sydney (which is about 300 kilometers away). The drought has made the landscape very dry and predominantly brown. This is Lake George. Nobody knows why it sometimes fills and is at other times a pasture for cattle. Right now, as you can see, it's totally dry.

Lake George
The next photo shows the dry hills behind the lake. From a distance, these hills look purple.

The highway and the hills next to Lake George
After arriving in the city I stopped at the information office on Northbourne Avenue and got a map and a free copy of The Canberra Times. They also gave me a leaflet for the Egyptian 'Afterlife' exhibition, which is the reason I came down in the first place. At the hotel, I opened a stubby of VB at 12.30, after booking in.

This morning I arose at my usual time of around 6.00 and had some breakfast. I read for an hour or so and arrived at the National Gallery just after 10.00am. Which was a good thing, as the carpark was already almost full.

Hundreds of people were queueing when I walked in the front entrance at around 10.10. It was really packed. Crowds of people, whole families, children, older citizens, teenagers all dressed for the hot weather and mingling in a bunch around each exhibit.

I wouldn't mind coming back later — the ticket is actually a day pass, so I can return later. I'll have some lunch and see if it's less full this arvo.

There are so many items on display that it is impossible to take it all in in one go, in any case.

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