Michael Sullivan Online


Week 6: Mike Enjoys the Queen's Birthday

CANBERRA AUSTRALIA - 14 June 2000 - This week found Mike busy over the long weekend as Monday was a holiday for the Queen's Birthday. On Friday, Mike visited Steve and Stacey's beautiful home for supper and a few beers. We had fajitas with their friend, Tatia, and watched Mickey Blue Eyes. Mike wasn't overly impressed with the movie but it did have its moments. After the movie was over, we brought cookies to a friend of theirs who works at a gas station. We surprised her with these treats and said hi just as she was ready to finish her shift so the timing wasn't the best but the spirit was there.

On Sunday, Mike and Steve got their adrenline going as they watched cars zoom by at 100mph at the GMC 400 V-8 Supercar race. The course was set on the streets in the Parliament Triangle, where Parliament House, the Library and other government buildings are located. While there, Mike saw Historic touring cars including a few Mustangs and Novas, cars that Mike hasn't seen he left the States. After the Supercars warmed up, the GT nation's cup cars took to the street ciruit. This race featured Porsche's, Ferrari's and Lamborghini's; clearly fun cars to see. After this race finished, jets flew low as the Goodyear Blimp got out of the way. This was immediately followed by the propellor driven Roulette's who demonstrated their precision flying skills. The first V-8 Supercar race saw the introduction of the reverse grid, a starting order in which the slowest cars from the race on Saturday started at the front of the race on Sunday, to Australia. There was so excitement in front of Mike and Steve when a car spun out. While they couldn't see what had happened, they did catch a glimpse of a lot of tire smoke and dirt as it flew into the air behind a wall. After their 25 laps were over, Mike and Steve moved around the track, checked out the concessions and ate some lunch. They then found a place at a chicane where they could kind of see the cars snake their way through. From there, they saw the open-wheeled Formula Holden cars, the Italian cars of the GT Nation's Cup, and finally the final 50 lap V-8 race. Over the course of about an hour and a half, Mike and Steve saw cars cruise by; even the safety car seemed to go fast. It was clear that these racers knew how to handle a car. It was a cool but nice day to be outside but the smell of burning rubber and the pieces of tire that flew into his hair made for a most unique day.

Monday was the Queen's Birthday holiday so instead of going to work, Mike walked around Lake Burley Griffin. He went around the west side of the lake where it mostly park land and not very developed. Over there, Mike saw the Scrivener Dam, the dam that formed the lake in 1964. Just passed that was the Governor General's House. The Governor General is the Queen's representative in the Commonwealth, which is what Australia technically is. The Governor General has the power to veto any legislation but hasn't used that power in a very long time. Next to Government house is the Royal Australian Golf course, which is an exclusive club, where all the politicians go. From there, Mike went up the hill to the United States Embassy. It's Williamsburg-style buildings stretch for about three blocks down the street. In addition, the buildings are shaded by beautiful tall oaks. Contrary to popular belief, there are no military guarding the gates. Mike then wandered over to the race course area again where everything was being taken apart. In addition, Mike got a closer look at many of the distinctive Canberra buildings including the National Library, the High Court, and the National Carillon. Since it was nearly dark, Mike headed for home, but not before he stopped in at the local McDonald's for a Big Mac.

Here ends Mike's sixth week in Australia.

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