As I sat on the bus this afternoon, for just a moment, I thought I might have a double-seat to myself. And even though I did my best to “look fat and grumpy” a bloke, a rather cute one admittedly, ended up sitting next to me. “If you’re gonna have someone sitting next to you on the bus, it might as well have been a cute one”, a colleague joked over dinner tonight.
I’m in Canberra for a 36 hour work-related visit. And of course, as anyone sensible knows, the bus is the best way to travel between Sydney and Canberra. Unlike the train, which takes about five hours, the bus takes about three hours. Thus, it’s similar to driving, but you get the added bonuses of it being as cheap as chips and having the capacity to do some work along the way, which is what I did this afternoon.
I also had a brief nap and managed to watch the greater part of a couple of movies, including “The History Boys” and “Livet ar en schlager” (both lovely movies I’ve seen before, and which I was able to skim through). Occasionally I looked out the window and noticed the landscape looked brown-ish, though not as bad as I’ve seen it (or perceived it to be) based on many many years doing that trip between Canberra and Sydney.
I first started doing that trip many years ago when in lived in South Australia and would often make the long, long drive to Sydney. I remember arriving at Mittagong in those days and thinking, “I’m virtually in Sydney now” such was the length of the trip.
Later, I lived in Wagga and also did that trip fairly regularly, back in the days when the outskirts of Sydney remained largely farmland and, in the pre motorways days, you spent most of the trip actually in Sydney itself on those terrible roads.
I come to Canberra usually once (or maybe twice) a year, and always enjoy coming here. For a while back in 1994 I even worked here for a while during a cold, bitter winter, as I recall.
Even tonight there’s a chill in the air that necessitated some warm clothing as my colleague (and fellow blogger) and I walked the streets of Dickson looking for something to eat. As we walked we chatted briefly about some of the rather amusing naming conventions of Canberra such as referring to “The Dickson Shops” and “The Lyneham Flats” and I mentioned to her how a friend Sam (who I’ve travelled to Canberra with) and I joke about this in a Sydney context, “Shall we meet at The Surry Hills Shops or The Paddington Shops or shall I come straight to you at The Potts Point Flats?”. I guess you had to be there…
As we enjoyed a meal together tonight, we spoke about our respective travel plans. She and her partner are looking at an extended overseas trip next year. “This is the trip to Europe we were supposed to have done in our twenties”, she commented. But it’s so much better now I told her, though admittedly she’s half a dozen years younger than I am. “It’s so much more than a drunken coming of age, I reflected on my own middle-aged experiences of the big “Euro Trip”.
So I’m back in my room trying to find something decent to watch on television and struggling. I’d listen to the radio except the clock radio in the room is completely bloody useless, and I didn’t bring an AM radio down with me. I would have brought my digital, but of course, digital doesn’t work in Canberra yet.
So there you go, one bad thing about Canberra. Otherwise, I’m happy, looking forward to work tomorrow, and sitting back enjoying that wonderful fresh sheet feel of a hotel room.