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‘Ah easy’ I hear you cry ‘It has to be the train every time, for what other travel offers the smooth straight lines and convenience of speed? The plane is fast, but does not drop you conveniently in the centre of the city. The bus is cheap but takes far longer and is bumpier and smellier’. You smile knowingly and nod your head ‘Oh yes it must be the train every time for the discerning traveller!’

Ha, I say, ha! Everywhere else in the world this may be true, but not Australia. I wanted to go to Canberra from Melbourne and return back again. Simple enough you would think. How can it be that such a wealthy country that is practically begging for tourists to visit it, that has signed the kyoto agreement and is supposedly committed to cutting down on carbon emissions, how can such a country NOT have connected train lines between the state capitals. My mind boggles!

Oh you can buy a train ticket from Melbourne to Canberra and vise-versa but what’s not immediately obvious is that you have to get a BUS for a large portion of that journey. For some reason there’s a gap in the train tracks!!

And is it faster? Noooooo. Is it at least a little cheaper? Nooooo.

Here is a price and time comparison from Canberra to Melbourne that I was investigating for my journey home yesterday:

TRAIN: $75 single ticket. 12 hours travel. First 3 hours of which are on a bus!!!

BUS: $48 single ticket. 9 hours travel.

PLANE: $28 (Tiger Airways) single ticket. 2 hours travel.

If I wasn’t such a wuss I would have gotten the plane. Instead I chose the bus, it goes at night so the theory is that you can at least sleep the journey away.

Of course the bus was 1 and 1/2 hours late leaving Canberra. The driver was quite quite mad. He kept talking and texting on his mobile phone (which is illegal in Australia BTB), using only his elbows (sometimes knees) to steer with. I had the misfortune of being right in the very front and therefore able to see exactly how dangerously he was driving. I didn’t sleep at all. I was too busy checking my seatbelt locked properly and digging my nails into my thighs.

Yet despite this it still seemed to make logical sense to get the bus over the train. The overall lesson is that public transport in Australia as a whole is very very poor quality.

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This year is 200 years since Darwin’s birth, and 150 since he published the origin. As such there are many a Darwin exhibition to be found. Today Lacey and I went to the National Museum to see theirs. It was awful. Nearly everything was plastic copies of specimens, with no labelling at that.  What labels there were didn’t exactly give massive amounts of information. Here’s one from a display of Darwin’s ‘study’:

4. Specimen Boxes

Boxes held small objects: perhaps an interesting beetle or pollen masses from an orchid Darwin was studying. Or – when Darwin was investigating whether birds might have helped dispense seeds to islands – one might even have held the seeds he picked from the dried mud on the feet of a duck.

On the feet of a duck????? What is happening to the world? More specifically the world of museums. This exhibition was borrowed (for money) from America. Didn’t say where in America. They’re probably worried about abusive letters. No wonder people doubt Evolution. I would too if this exhibition was all I had to go on.

We were incensed. We hunted down a customer feedback form so that we could tell the museum just what we thought.

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