This Is Canberra (and I Rate It)

This is Canberra on a map.

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This is a different perspective.

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This is the house I am living in.

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And these are the people I live with. Mark, Eliza, Joe, Lexi, and Jarrah.

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This is where I ride.

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And this is where I like to relax.

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This is also where I like to relax.

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Having been marooned on this island for a grand total of 20 days, some might refer to me as an expert. And as said expert, I could confidently identify Australia’s favorite pastimes as cricket, rugby, barbies, and ragging on their capital city of Canberra. For example:

The 5 day cricket match between GB and Aus was given more airtime and attention than a Superbowl. Probably because it lasted for 5 days. And that was just the first match of 5.

As for rugby, most dudes walk around looking like they are about to try out for the Brumbies, aka. super short shorts, tank top to show off the latest tattoo, muscle milk in one hand and a dumbbell in the other.

I’ve gone to more barbies than you could shake a kanga banga at. And summer is 3 days old.

At least 9 out of 10 Australians think Canberra is ‘a soulless purgatory’. The BBC ran an article on the eve of the city’s hundredth anniversary with the headline ‘Canberra: Deathly dull at 100?‘ Aussies I met before arriving cringed visibly when they heard where I was staying before politely asking if I would ever get the chance to meander through Melbourne or sojourn in Sydney.

Perhaps the city doest have the history or the attractions or the charm of the bigger cities but I really love Canberra. Maybe I should rephrase that; I love the Canberra cycling posse. Every day there are Facebook messages on what rides leave when and where. Every day there is anywhere from 5 to 15 people who show up to ride. Saturday morning bunch was a scant 100 rider groupo compacto. And then there is the problem of going out to eat. Reservations might be made for 5 but 20 show up.

One evening I went to dinner with some people and learned the following morning that one of them just happened to be Australia’s female national road champion. Some kid who explained the rules of cricket to me after I taught him the meaning of ‘clutch’ turned out to be the junior national champ. From WorldTour to recreational riders, everyone is so unpretentious and helpful. I have been welcomed so warmly and integrated so rapidly into the circle here that I already feel like its home.

Canberra, I rate you.

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