Sunday, July 30, 2006

Weekend Update

The museum was (as we were warned) too much to take in on a single day. There's just too much history. What a harsh country this was -- the Aborigines have managed to make a life here for 50,000 years, a time in which the European presence has been momentary by comparison. The First Fleet arrived in 1788, which means that the Aborigines were by themselves for over 99.5% of Australia's populated history. For the first English convicts sent under the transportation policy, it must have been beyond the end of the world.

In the afternoon, we visited a small winery about an hour out of town. The kids didn't want to go -- what are they going to do at a winery? -- but the owners turned out to have dogs, cats, and:

Funniest looking kangaroos we've ever seen, and they couldn't hop worth a damn. But the ladies were a big hit with the children.

Peter and Peter (below, on the right; I haven't mastered photo formatting on blogger just yet) own the Taemas Winery. Mark Darby, the Fulbright executive director, is behind Susan. The Peters, both semi retired, run the winery and farm as a labor of love, and turn out some highly regarded varietals; they don't bottle much (their upcoming run will be about 1600 bottles).

The vinyard and countryside were, as we've come to expect, beautiful

Bought two bottles of 2004 Shiraz for $15 each (they retail at about $25).

On Sunday, we went to the AFL game. Canberra isn't big enough to sustain its own pro team, so for years the North Melbourne Kangaroos came to town to play a couple of home games. This was to be the last one, since the Canberra stadium is too small for the trip

You can't get afeel for of the game by studying the written rules, but it makes a lot of sense on the field. Lot's of running around on a huge field -- an oval, 150 meters by 110 meters, or so -- but a clearly identifiable flow and strategy. These pictures, both shot toward one set of goal posts, gives you a sense of the field's size. The tree at left center in the first is also visible in the second above the yellow section of stands:

The Kangaroos jumped out to a quick 18-0 lead, and the heckling was hilarious; no drunken New Yorkers shrieking vitriol at the players and umps. Mildly inebriated and quite funny, along the lines of "well, it's a good thing he kicks poorly, or else his lousy hands would really stand out.

Roos up by 38 at the half, when kids get to play. The youngest and cutest played by us

the Roos won in convincing manner, 80-53, hurting the Cats' playoff hopes. We travel up a mountain on the South side of town for another perspective on Canberra.

A view of the capitol and beyond from the South:

The hard to see building in the upper right is the ANZAC War Memorial, and next door to our oldest's high school.

Oh, my, isn't this a beautiful place?

Photo credits: Susan D.L.Mayer, all rights reserved.


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