Michael Sullivan Online


Week 3: Mike Settles into his Flat and Explores the East-Side of Canberra

CANBERRA AUSTRALIA - 22 May 2000 - This week, we find Mike in his new flat in the suburb of O'Connor about 15 minutes north of school. He moved into the flat (see last week's entry) last Wednesday. Once he convinced himself that there were no snakes or spiders, he got very comfortable. In addition, he has concluded that the flat has lots of junk in it; from the copper dish on the coffee table to the antique dishes in the kitchen. In spite of this, there is not a decent fry pan or baking pan. A feature of many residences in Australia is the lack of central heating. Unlike many other places in Australia, Canberra gets relatively cold and Mike has to wheel his space heater around to the area of the unit he is actually in, i.e. he has it in the living room in the evening and in his bedroom at night. Another drawback of the place is the TV, which can only tune in two stations. Nevertheless, this flat should provide Mike with all his important needs.

As far as the weather goes, it freezes in the morning, usually pretty hard, and it's usually foggy until about noon. In the afternoon, the sun comes out and the sky is almost completely clear. When Mike goes to bed at 11pm or so, the moon shines on the bed next to him. It has been like this for the passed week and a half.

Back to the thrilling events that keep you coming back. On Friday, Mike went with his labmates, Dave, Stacey and Stacey's almost husband, Steve to Trivia night. This is a contest in which groups of about 8 (we had 5) people try to answer as many trivia questions as possible. In the category of sports (the first round), Mike's team, called the Fab 5, tied for first but missed the second tie-breaker question: Who holds the World Record for the Women's 100m sprint? We guessed Gail Dever's but it was Flo-Jo. After about 3 and a half hours of the most trivial questions, the Fab 5 ended up one point from last place out of eight teams. Nevertheless, Mike had a great time and walked away with a free movie voucher.

Saturday found Mike around Mt. Ainslie. He came from the backside where he could see the northern suburbs and finally reaching the summit. In this area, there are some great mountain biking trails, which gave Mike the itch to get a bike, but alas that will have to wait for another week or more. Once at the summit, he could look over Canberra and see most of the city. On looking straight ahead, he saw the ANZAC War Memorial, ANZAC parade, and the old and new Parliament Houses. It was quite a view. After having a soda, he headed straight down the mountain to the War Memorial below.

The War Memorial is deceptively large. As you enter, you see a reflecting pool with an eternal flame burning in it followed by the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier. On the sides are excellent exhibits about the great battles and wars the Australian Army has been a part of. There are many artifacts, letters from soldiers, and other displays honouring those Australians who have died in war. Mike quickly realized that this would require most of a day to go through if he wanted to see everything worthwhile. Mike plans on dedicating most of a day in the weeks to come for this.

After leaving the War Memorial, Mike went to the Lake (Burley Griffin) and watched as the sun slid behind Black Mountain and Telstra Tower. Once dark, he took pictures of the Parliament Houses, National Library, and the War Memorial as they were lit at night. After this long day, Mike wandered back to his flat to rest his sore feet and legs.

On Sunday, Mike wanted to go to the War Memorial but his legs were still quite sore so he went and saw the movie, The Gladiator. He really enjoyed this movie even though there was a lot of blood. It was a great epic. After the movie, Mike got his chicken fix at KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken). He really enjoyed the meal even though the combo included chips (french fries to those of you in America) AND mashed potatoes when Mike wanted cole slaw and mashed potatoes. As long as the subject of fast-food is here, Mike made it to the local McDonald's on Friday before trivia and had one of his big questions answered: What do Australian's call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese? Since they are a metric country, Mike wondered what the translation would be; this is in addition to Pulp Fiction in which John Travolta's character says that in France it's called a Royale with Cheese. The answer is actually pretty boring; it's called a Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

Here ends Mike's third week in Australia

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