So, after our epic Great Barrier Reef vacation the group scattered. Laurel and Greg went back to Canberra and work, while the Jacksons went to Melbourne for the week. For pictures and stories of what they got up to during that time . . . I guess you'll need to call Bob.
Then it was time to reunite in Canberra. Most of the family went straight to our house to relax, but Olivia wanted to finish out the day with Laurel at work. So she went along on a site visit for the project Laurel is working on. They are suprisingly cute in flourescent green and a helmet. Safety first! In the middle is Joel, Laurel's site foreman. He also does photography and travels to exotic locations in his downtime. Olivia was a fan.
The following night we took Olivia to a concert to see the band Cellblock 69. Cellblock 69 is a Canberra institution, and is made up a group of Australian National University alumni who reunite for one epic show around Christmas every year. I believe this was their seventh annual Last-Show-Ever. Opening for Cellblock 69 was a really awful, wanna-be hardcore pop-metal band. They sucked, but they were dressed as vikings, so at least they had that going for them.
For some reason they had a hula hooper who was amazing. However, if your band gets upstaged by a chick with a few light-up hula hoops you are an awful band.
Us with Robbie! Robbie had neglected to tell us that everyone comes dressed in full-on 80's attire. The headband he's wearing is actually a child's belt he found at a thrift shop. Nice.
Now Cellblock 69's gimmick is that the lead singer wrote every significant hit of the 80's, but had all of the songs stolen from him for various reasons. Each song would have an extended rather funny explanation of how he was ripped off. For instance, one day he was hanging out with Eddie Van Halen when he suggested they write a song together. They did, and Eddie did none of the work. After that, Eddie said, "Hey, we should go abseiling. You go first." When he got back, Van Halen was topping the charts with "Jump."
We had a couple of nice, low-key days to just show the Jacksons around Canberra. It was really nice to be able to show off our new city.
The National Gallery of Australia (NGA!) had a special exhibit on Renaissance painters which Tina had read about on Qantas' inflight magazine on the way over, so we checked it out. It was really good, if a little small. It was particualarly good at showing how the styles and techniques changed over the period. Now, we weren't allowed to take pictures inside the exhibit, so we offer you this one of us outside the museum.
After all that learning we were hungry so it was off to Gold Creek and Adore Tea for tea and snacks. So classy!
Bob was our primary picture taker so you may have noticed he's been absent from the group shots. We can confirm that he was actually in Canberra. There he is! Over there, by the statue of Don Quixote!
Laurel took one day off work and took the family down to Tidbinbilla, a nature reserve south of Canberra. Guaranteed critter sightings. Run emu run!
A nice shot of the Canberra countryside as some storms were rolling in.
Everyone has the exact same reactions to kangaroos. The first time you see one, you freak out, squeal and take about a zillion pictures. Then you see another one, and you take a few more pictures. And then you see a whole mob of them and take a few more pictures. And then you get really bored, and you're like, "Yeah, it's a kangaroo, whatever. I've seen that already. Show me something new." The Jacksons went through this whole cycle in the space of about 15 minutes. Kangaroos are the deer of Australia, but they're still pretty cool.
This is hard to see, but it's some sort of giant black Macaw. The only color on it was a yellow splotch on its head. Very beautiful, but hard to photograph.
Laurel's English co-worker, Karen, had a holiday party one night. She'd tried to make it as Aussie as possible. Party pies! Baked brie! Beer fridge! The food was fantastic. Everyone had a great time. We somehow didn't get a picture with her, but instead here are the three sisters with Laurel's boss, Marcelo, and his wife Bernie.
We also took the family to Mount Majura vineyard for a wine tasting, which you may remember from a previous blog post.
This is the awesome sign in the shop. Another great day, but hey, with wine how could it not be?