This morning I checked out where the local Coles supermarket was on a map, attempted to commit the very short route to memory and got completely lost. For approximately 2 minutes I panicked, then I realised it really, really didn’t matter! Today I have nowhere to be until this evening so I just stumbled around Canberran suburbia, shivering in the shade, leaping into patches of sunlight, gawping at the weird and wonderful birds like the tourist I’m not supposed to be (but totally am) until I plucked up the courage to ask directions of a purposeful looking local (about 9am so probably on their way to work!). She pointed me towards the centre of town, a single toad to walk down, at the end of which she promixed me I “couldn’t miss it”. Which I did, of course I did! I did however find a pharmacy and, eventually, by dint of walking apparently in circles found the Coles store and bought some basic necessities. I was inordinately proud about this. It almost made up for asking in a cafe, where I bought some breakfast (this mornings pizza slice seemed a distance memory) for an exorbitant price, whether I was on Lonsdale street, only to discover on leaving that the sodding cafe was called Lonsdale Street Cafe. Christ knows what the staff made of me!
But back to the successes- building on my new found confidence following the discovery of Coles I ventured into a newsagents for a paper and magazine, with the aim of getting into the aussie frame of mind, AND discovered I could purchase the Canberra equivalent of the oyster card there, which I duly purchased. The cost of all this probably leaving a large hole in my British bank account. I need to discover the equivalent worth of the dollars here ASAP! Still, bowed down under my various items I staggered out into the sunshine AND found and boarded the right bus. So proud. I even got off at the right stop.
Since getting back I have downloaded city maps and bus maps in the hope of making it to the get together with some local friends at least within the hour arranged! Am now enjoying what feels like a well earned sit out on the sunny patio worrying about the three bonsai trees left in my care for the next few weeks, along with pots of herbs, lettuces, and chillies. I’ve got many many essays to mark…. in a bit.