Monday, March 23, 2009

Day which we don't see earwax being used as food

It was our last day in Canberra. It was cold and raining.

The plan was to go to Parliament. I figured it would be boring for Jack and we wouldn't stay long. But I felt an emotional compulsion to go. I didn't need to be there for a long time....a short visit would be fine.

We had a hard time finding a parking space.

We then found a parking lot ,but we weren't sure if it was employee-only parking or not.

We figured out it wasn't and made our way to Old Parliament. We saw the Aboriginal Tent Embassies. Not much was going on there. It was pretty quiet. I guess it was too early in the morning for exciting action.

We then went into the Old Parliament Building and ended up having a wonderful time. I think we all ended up liking this place better than Questacon! Even Jack....ESPECIALLY Jack. He had so much fun. They've made it into a really fun museum. Some of the stuff is roped off and you just look, but there's also a lot of interactive stuff. You can walk into old offices, see government toilets, sit at desks, watch old news broadcasts on old television sets.....

You can play dress up!

Jack's favorite activity is this one where you get to go into a small recording studio, read from a teleprompter and pretend you're interviewing someone. He played with that for a long time.

After Old Parliament, I dragged my husband and child to the National Archives. We looked around there a bit and then went to get lunch at one of the places Abefrellman had recommended to me. The Pork Barrel. I think the only seats they had available were outside. It was a little cold, but we were okay. Plus, we were right near the park and we could slip over there if Jack got tired of waiting.

I think we ate pizza. Tim also ordered a trio of dips. I'm crazy paranoid about eating mayonnaise. I usually make Tim taste stuff for me and tell me if it has it. He's my monkey! But since I witnessed him telling Jack before that a Bull Ant sting feels like a mosquito bite, I somewhat questioned whether I could still trust my monkey. I started to think maybe all this time, he's been lying to me and I've been unknowingly eating mounds of mayonnaises.

He told me the suspicious dip had no mayonnaise. I still refrained from eating it.

We finished eating lunch and then walked over to Parliament. I think we had to walk in the rain.

Earlier, before we left for our political adventures, I had some time to go on the Internet. I did Twitter and said something about going to see Kevin Rudd eat his earwax. I was totally joking. I never in a million years expected to see Kevin Rudd. I knew you could sit and watch Parliament, but I doubted we'd do that. And I never imagined that Kevin Rudd would actually be there. Why I thought that, I don't know. I had watched Parliament on TV and he was there then. Maybe I imagined that if the Prime Minister was absent you could sit in, but if he was there you couldn't. Who knows what was going on in my little American touristy brain.

I think one thing I might have thought is that we couldn't go into Parliament because Jack was there. He'd be too loud or refuse to sit. I haven't had the best history getting him to sit still and quiet. We don't do many movies or theater. We don't attend synagogue services. He's not in a classroom everyday.

But we decided to try it. We went through all the security stuff and ended up in Parliament. We got to see Kevin Rudd LIVE and in person. It was so exciting. Unfortunately, we were sitting behind the government bench and never saw the guy's face. We also got to see the back of Jenny Macklin and Julie Gillard. We did not see Peter Garrett. I figure if he was there, he'd be easy to spot. I guess we saw Turnbull. I mean I saw a guy in his seat, but it didn't really look like him to me. But Tim says of course it had to be him. It's not like the Academy Awards where they have seat substitutes.

The funny thing is Kevin Rudd at one point stuck his finger in his ear! My Twitter prediction almost came true. He didn't eat it though.

Jack was so well-behaved. I was very proud of him. I think we stayed in there for about ten minutes. I thought maybe we'd just stay until he started getting loud and antsy, but then decided it was better if we left on a positive note. I know ten minutes isn't long, but I think it's long when what the child is watching is boring grown-up stuff.

I didn't find it boring. I found it fascinating. They were talking about the fires...making a day of mourning. We later heard snips of the speeches being played on the TV or radio. It was exciting being able to think. We had heard it live!

I started thinking maybe we should move to Canberra. It would be so great because I could go to Parliament all the time and watch it. I could drag Jack along and we'd see little bits and pieces. OR maybe Tim would have this great job where he could have flexible hours and work at home. He could babysit while I sit in Parliament. How lovely life could be......

After we left all the famous political people, we looked around the building a bit. Jack signed the guest book.

If you can't read it, he says I hope I meet the Prime Minister. I guess being in the same room and seeing the back of Kevin's head wasn't enough for Jack. He wanted an actual meeting with the guy. We could shake hand and take photos. Although maybe that wouldn't have helped us. When I told my friend Michelle that we saw Kevin Rudd, she asked if we got photos. I said no. She said, it probably wouldn't have mattered. I would have likely lost the photos anyway. Yeah. My friends know me well.

Oh also. Look at the name above Jack's. Ben Lee. I doubt it's THE Ben Lee. But you never know........

I think we used the toilets next and then went to the gift shop.

I wish I could explain to you guys what being in Australia is like for me. I tried to tell Jack about it because he gets obsessed with stuff like I do. When we were in Australia, his obsession was Arthur, the character created by Marc Brown. I said imagine going to a place where Arthur stuff was everywhere. Imagine how much fun that would be for you.

It's like if someone is a big Winnie the Pooh Fan they can go to Disney World and see lots of Pooh stuff. They can buy stuff at the gift shops. They can go on the Winnie-the-Pooh ride. They can go to the Crystal Palace and have Pooh bother them while they eat their mounds of breakfast cholesterol.

I get a whole damn continent! And the Aussie stuff is everywhere! It's in every store we go to. It's there every time we turn on the TV. The newspapers! The street signs. All the stuff that most of you Australians take for's all magical to me.

Anyway, back to my story. We went to the Parliament gift shop where they had all kinds of marvelous Aussie stuff. I saw books I wanted, but told myself I'd try to find them later at the used bookstores.

Jack wanted some jerky. He loves trying food that's exotic to him, especially unusual meats. There was a choice between crocodile and kangaroo. I tried to decide which I'd allow him to get. I decided on the Kangaroo. I know some of you Skippy fans might be offended. But this is how I came to the conclusion.

A) Jack had already tried Crocodile on our last visit to Australia.
B) There's plenty of kangaroos in Australia. I knew about the cull in Canberra. I felt bad for the loss of life, but ecologically and ethically speaking, I felt it wasn't so horrible.
C) I had heard Crocodiles are very territorial and hate being squished up with other crocodiles on farms. I didn't know if the dead jerky crocs had been raised that way and if they had, I didn't want to contribute to that business.

I bought Jack the kangaroo jerky. For myself, I bought some licorice that ended up not being all that great.

I wanted to eat the jerky. It looked really good and smelled good. I'm usually very satisfied with my Vegetarian diet, but sometimes I have my temptations. This was one of those times. I guess making eye contact with the holiday park Roo wasn't enough for me. Now I wanted to eat her.

I think there was something almost spiritual in my desires. My friend Gina says the average Australian doesn't eat Skippy the Kangaroo. It's there mostly for the tourists. But I don't know. There's something about eating a kangaroo that appeals to me. It's like I'd be eating a piece of Australia. Maybe it's like Catholicism and eating the body of Jesus. I should probably shut up before you guys think I'm totally nuts.

But Indigenous Australians ate Kangaroos, right? Maybe I wanted to be like them. Okay, I'm pretty sure all of you think I'm nuts. Oh well.

I didn't do it though. The idea appealed to me, but I felt too weird about it. I haven't eaten meat since September 2005. I was afraid it might make me feel sick. It also involved the fear that I'd feel like a failure. In September 2009, I can say I've been a vegetarian for four years. If I ate the Roo, I couldn't say that anymore. I'd have to say, I've been a vegetarian for four years, well except that time I ate the Kangaroo Jerky in Canberra.

I did tell myself if I had a blood sugar issue again and the only food available was jerky, I'd have to eat it. I allowed myself that.

We went back to the Carotel and went on a walk. Tim showed us where he runs everyday. We saw a lovely neighborhood. Tim showed me which house he'd like to live in. I loved that he was actually imaging himself living in Australia. Maybe there was some hope that one day.....

We stopped at a playground, but Jack didn't play in it too long because it was covered in Magpie poop.

I guess all of our were sick of eating at restaurants because Tim ended up going to the grocery store and buying us cheese and crackers. That's what we had for dinner.

Tim surprised me with Cadbury Hot Chocolate Mix. I should add now that my plans to eat ethical chocolate had gone totally out the window. I'm not proud of myself there. I ate way too much unethical chocolate.

The hot chocolate was yummy. I didn't like the marshmallows much though. I think I prefer the American ones. Yeah and see how bad I am? If I was a good vegetarian, I wouldn't eat any marshmallows because they contain gelatin. Oh well.

That night we watched the Victorian Fires telethon. We donated some money. Maybe that makes up for all my unethical food choices.

Yeah. I seriously doubt it.