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Week 4: Mike Learns Some Details Regarding Canberra

CANBERRA AUSTRALIA - 29 May 2000 - This week was relatively uneventful for Mike with a few exceptions. On Tuesday of last week, Mike say his first wild kangaroo. He went to the base of Mt. Ainslie just after dusk and barely saw a kangaroo through the dark. Apparently, the kangaroos are used to people so they don't run away so fast although the one Mike saw hopped away when Mike got within about 10 or 20 feet.

On Wednesday, Mike discovered something about Canberra that he hadn't even considered: all the stores close at 5 or 5:30. He wanted to pick up a few things that he needed at the local Target, but showed up at 6 and everything was closed except for the grocery stores.

Friday introduced Mike to the buses and the clubs. Mike wanted to meet Stacey and Steve on the other side of town for a drink. He efficiently picked up the ACTION bus a half a block away and rode the bus around town to a mall and bus interchange. From there, Mike walked about 20 minutes to the Irish club. After sorting things out, Mike found Steve and his friend that was a member of the club. A couple of Steve's friends were finalist for a karoke competition. Unfortunately, there were some really good performers and they didn't win but everyone seemed to have a good time. After drinking a few cheap beers, Mike and everyone else called it a night. Just a note about the clubs. There are lots of these types of clubs around where you pay a membership that is pretty reasonable and then you can get in anytime. As long as Mike knew a member, he was able to get in otherwise he would have been shut out. There's a Polish-Australian one across from Mike's flat and a Workers Club and South Pacific Rugby club that is popular with some of the ANU students.

During the weekend, Mike did some shopping for food, a good frying pan, and an electric blanket. There wasn't much else to do since it was raining and snow most of the weekend. In fact, Sunday was the coldest day in May ever for Canberra. The high was about 35 oF. In addition it snowed most of Sunday afternoon. While it didn't stay on the ground in the city, apparently there was an inch or so just outside of town and much more in the nearby mountains. Prof. Radom said that this was quite a snow fall for Canberra especially so early in the year (it's just getting to be winter here). Other talk around town involved the Brumbies was lost by a point to the Canterbury, New Zealand Crusaders (Brendan O'Keefe's team) in the Super 12 Rugby Grand Final.

On Sunday, Mike finally found a church to go to. It was a small church not too far away but in the opposite direction of everywhere Mike goes. When Mike went, there were about 50 people spread throughout the relatively large church. One of the first things that struck Mike was the lack of heating. This brought about some unique situations. For example, the lector and eucharistic ministers were wearing winter jackets and plenty in the congregation had gloves on.

For those of you that are wondering, Mike has neither a car nor a bike. This is why Mike has spent a lot of his time walking around the city. Civic (the downtown) is about a half hour walk and it has lots of stores including Target and a big grocery store. In addition, there is a smaller grocery store right next to Mike's flat.

Here ends Mike's first month in Australia

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