Published: June 2nd 2006June 2nd 2006
Mark Simpson Reporting... CAN-Ber-AAAAAAA
Simmo standing out the front of where the big-wigs make all the wrong decisions
Greetings from Blogland. It's been some time since I've added an entry and I've received nothing but abuse from the punters back home because of it so my apologies for not spending the duration of my trip sitting at a computer tap tap taparooing away at the keyboard! Seeing as I have so much to fill you all in on I reckon I might split this up into two blogs - don't want anyone to fall asleep mid paragraph you see.
After leaving the wonderous terrain and pristine mountain biking conditions of the Snowy Mountains with my life barely in tact I jetted (by coach) into Canberra. Now Canberra cops a pretty bad wrap from your average Aussie as being more suited as the capital of Porn and Fireworks rather than the capital of our great nation. In my humble opinion I reckon that opinion is a shade harsh, but in fairness I can see where the misconception of the masses is coming from. In a nutshell though, for the 4 days I was there I had a really good time.
The first thing that canberra had on it's side was that there were
Bev in front of some bridge.
actually people (yes, real live people) in the hostel. I have never been so keen to talk to strangers in my life. In fact, the day before I had been so in need of some human contact that I wandered into the Banjo Patterson Inn in Jindabyne and propped at the bar by myself chatting to the bar tender and random patrons as they purchased their beverages. Way to have a life Simmo! Anyway, I met a great Pommy chick in Canberra called Bev. She's in her 30s and is a police officer in Hackney, London. If that suburb is ringing a bell for anyone it's probably because it's the same suburb where the D-Train taught a group of 25 9 year olds that he couldn't even control and witnessed his cab driver get held up at gun-point. How Bev manages to walk the beat in a place like that i'll never know but she was a hell of a tour buddy. I also met a nice young German girl called Leni. She's a bundle of energy and lot's of fun. Met a bloke from Doncaster which was pretty freaky - small world.
In Canberra I got around the
Dusk at the National War Memorial Canberra
A lone piper played at close the first evening I was at the Memorial. It would've been much more stirring if he was a better piper - but we Scotchies have high standards.
Old and New Parliament Houses, the National Gallery, Manuka Oval and all that jazz. It was very interesting. The sight-seeing highlight of the trip though was far and away the National War Memorial. I cannot encourage all Aussies enough to make sure they go there at some stage during there life. It was an amazing experience. I went one afternoon for a few hours and went back the next day for another half a day to get round all the stuff I missed. It is a fantastic museum and, while you can still never imagine the true horrors of war, it gives you at least some kind of appreciation of what our soldiers have gone through in battle from the Boer War right through to Iraq. You read some pretty horrific accounts and some inspiring acts of bravery. The story that probably touched me the most was about a kid called Edward 'Teddy' Sheean, a 19 year old kid who held the lowest possible rank in the Navy in WWII. His ship got bombed by a sub and was going down, as other guys were getting into lifeboats, he strapped himself to an anti-aircraft gun on deck and took down
Horseriding Megalong Valley
Simmo and Mac having a ball in the valley. Notice Mac's uncanny resemblence to Warwick Capper - some white boots, a Swans guernsey and the shortest shorts you can muster up and I don't reckon you'd be able to pick them.
a plane that was shooting at the lifeboats. He went down with the ship but helped save most of the guys who were lucky enough to find a boat. When I was 19 I was getting blind at the pub and chasing chicks. It makes you think.
The other highlight of Canberra was my Birthday. It kicked off with a bang when myself and Leni were out on the Thursday and she chatted up the DJ to play The Boss as the clock struck midnight to bring in my 24th year. I was so emotional as "Dancing in the Dark" belted out of the speakers at that both The Boss and Courtney Cox appeared to be dancing like Michael Jackson in the film clip on the big screen. The night ended with phone calls to Rossco back in Melbourne telling him that Springsteen should be President of the Galaxy and telling Bev and Leni that he is the only man in the world who I would marry in the blink of an eye.
The Friday night I went out for dinner and a few pints with Ash Middleton ( a mate of the Duck's) and stayed at his joint. He was so good to me - bought me dinner, gave me a bed, drove me to the bus the next day. You don't realise how much you appreciate that kind of stuff till you're on the road.
Saturday the 13th saw me head into Sydney. Over the next few days I took a record number of photos of the Opera House, walked across the Harbour Bridge, went to the Aquarium, became the 1 millionth person to have a coffee with Aaron Bhardwaj, caught a ferry to Manly and did most of the other Sydney things. Walking the harbour bridge was really disappointing as it's the only place in Sydney where you don't get a good view of the harbour bridge. For the record, anyone who reckons Sydney is a better city than Melbourne is tripping. Similarly, anyone who reckons Sydney drivers are better than Melbourne drivers can pack 'em too. But that's my opinion.
During my first week in Sydney I became the first Australian ever to go on an OzExperience tour. We ventured up to the Blue Mountains with probably the zaniest tour guide ever to be allowed out of his padded cell. I've never heard a guy talk so much, and a lot of the time it wasn't even useful stuff. My favourite piece of commentary for the day was, "These plants flower all year round. Particularly in Winter, Spring, Autumn and Summer". Thanks for the insight big guy! He also had a weird obsession with shouting "Cooee" every time he thought he might be lucky enough to get an echo. It was a pretty beautiful part of the world though and well worth the trip. Great scenery, amazing flora and fauna and some pretty cool plants and animals as well! The following day I went horseriding in the Megalong valley which was pretty cool. By the end of the 3 hours I was starting to get the hang of it - a good warm up for Jackaroo school.
That brings me to an end for now. I will tell you all about the last couple of weeks at surf camp on monday. Stay tuned for stories of shark attacks, wetty warmers, wicked pig-dogs, mad point-breaks, Kookaburra rescues and constant partial nudity. For now the creative juices just aren't flowing enough to accurately capture the spirit of Waves Surf School. I'm gonna try to add a few pics to some of my previous blogs too so check them out if you're keen.
Anyway, I hope everyone's having fun down in Melbourne. Keep the texties, comments and emails coming through coz it's always great to hear from you all.
Don't do anything I wouldn't do.