I arrived in Canberra, via Sydney, this morning. The last day in Singapore was spent down at Marina Bay, which has had a huge amount of development work since I was last there. The Marina Bay Sands hotel/casino complex is reminiscent of the architectural madness of Dubai or Macau. I had a good time in Singapore, and was sorry to leave. But it’s been five years since I was in Australia, and it’s great to be back.
I’d not been to Canberra before, and first impressions are very good. It’s bigger than I expected – I think this is only because everyone had said how small it was – and the city is set in some impressive scenery. I had a window seat flying in and we had to make a loop to take a different approach, so I got stunning aerial views as my introduction to it. I’m living in an apartment on campus, which is only about 5 minutes walk from Lake Burley Griffin, so had a couple of hour walk down there this evening. I definitely need to get a bike – there are cycle paths everywhere. The weather is great – sunny and warm but not too hot, and a drier heat than Singapore. So far everyone has been very friendly and helpful – I already have the apartment sorted, an office, phone, internet, email, library card and just need to pick up a security card tomorrow morning. This can take a week or more sometimes.
There’s a seminar at the Humanities Research Centre tomorrow so that will be a chance to meet people. I’m sure in time this will be a productive place for my work, but at the moment it just feels good to be here.