The trip to Canberra was a wild success. Although, halfway there, I realized that the actual point of the trip was to visit Goulburn, a small town home to the Great Merino. The Great Merino is a gigantic statue of a sheep, and it is quite gigantic. Man, this town must love its sheep. While me and Lenny (the other hearing American on the trip) enthusiastically went around taking photographs of this tribute to Australian engineering, Kat and Rachel stayed in the car (probably mocking us). But all is well.
We arrived to our hotel about three and half hours after leaving Sydney, just in time to make it to Trivia night (the supposed point of the trip) at the local Kangaroo Football Club. There were probably about 100 or so people there all ready to get their smart random knowledge on. I found out quite quickly that I do not know much random Australian knowledge...something I plan to work on for the future. Highlights of the evening included meeting some lovely members of the Australian Deaf community, learning the tactile Auslan alphabet, having Rachel win us a nice handle of Jack Daniels, learning that the Pentagon is four stories high (I'm not sure if I believe this), and having a late night party at our hotel room.
Waking up after only a few hours of sleep worked out amazingly well. And good thing too, because we had to get to Canberra! After a hearty breakfast at McDonalds (not a word), we made our way to the Parliament House. It was a pretty cool Parliament House-- at least the public can go in it. Had a nice pinhole photo exhibition and the Magna Carta! It also had an impressive mace. "In the middle ages, a mace was a club used as a weapon in battle. Today the Mace is a symbol of the authority of the House and hence, the authority of the Speaker, and is placed on the Table in the chamber while the Speaker is in the Chair." If this is not a tribute to democracy, I don't know what is. Also, the roof is quite amusing, because it is covered in grass and slopes down to the ground. Now that I think about it, it reminds me of the home in the hobbit shire in LOTR (don't you think Lenny? Kat?).
We thought about democracy for a minute before making our way (more or less) to the National Museum of Australia! The crazy architecture reminds me of the Centre Pompidou except that it has better art and more interesting exhibits. AND I got another photo of a parrot! (Speaking of parrots, did you know Australia is home to 119 species--more than any other country?!! I have my work cut out for me for sure!)
After a nice meal in Manuka we made our way back to the big city. On the way we stopped to take pictures at the line between New South Wales (one of Australia's states) and the Australian Australian Capital Territory (one of Australia's Territories). They have a nice sign and we only had to suddenly stop on a big highway to get to it. Unlike on the way there, our way back enjoyed good weather and nice scenic vistas (which I'm sure were there before but we just couldn't see them).
I arrived home late and exhausted. But it was a beautiful weekend full of good conversation, funniness, and more practice using AAUSL (the official language of the trip--a mix of Auslan, ASL, Englishy type signs, and probably a whole lot of gesture). I can only hope more of this is to come.