Monday, November 14, 2011

Preparing for our first guests

Tomorrow we will be welcoming our first guests to Australia.  My college roommate Cath and her husband Ben are taking a three week vacation to Australia and stopping by Canberra for a few days. They are flying into Sydney, renting a car, and taking a leisurely drive down the coast to Melbourne (stopping by our place along the way).  From Melbourne, they are flying to Tasmania.  I'm so jealous of their trip!  Originally, I was planning to go with them to Melbourne and Tasmania, but I just had to go and get a job...

In order to prepare our apartment for guests, we had to buy a few remaining items such as a guest bed and another couch.  For that, we had to drive 30 minutes south to Fyshwick. And that's really what this post is about...the odd zoning that is Canberra.
The very industrial looking streets of Fyshwick
Canberra is one of the few entirely planned cities in the world and so each suburb was zoned for a specific purpose.  For example, Barton contains most of the government buildings and the City Centre, also referred to as Civic, was originally the primary business center. Fyshwick became the industrial suburb, specializing in wholesale goods.

[On a side note, at first I pronounced it Fish-wick, but I soon learned that the locals pronounce it Feesh-wick.]

Some suburbs have melded as the times have changes, but Fyshwick remains (somewhat annoyingly) the place to buy furniture, large household items and cars.  It is frustrating because it's almost impossible to buy a bed or a couch or a washing machine anywhere else in the city.  On the other hand, if you have the time to spend a day walking around, it's very convenient to comparison shop for couches when all the furniture shops are within walking distance of one another.

[On a second side note, due to odd zoning, Fyshwick is also one of only two places in Canberra where prostitution is legal.  This results in a rather disturbing mix of family-centered household item stores and household item stores of the x-rated variety.]

I don't want to give you the image that Fyshwick is all bad though.  It does happen to contain one of our very favorite bookstores that we've discovered so far.  Canty's Bookshop is full of used books, which is super fabulous in a country where mass market paperbacks regularly sell for over $20.

Canty's Bookshop is how I imagine a proper used bookstore should be—ceiling to floor with books, the shelves so packed that precariously balanced stacks of books rest near every aisle.  In other words, paradise for booklover's such as Drew and myself.  It's a store full of kindred spirits, people who love and understand books and will happily spend half an hour discussing the merits of the latest science fiction bestseller.

At the end of our Fyshwick day, Drew and I walked away with a new guest bed, a used couch that is in like-new condition, and an armful of books.  We're glad that our guests will have something to sit on and sleep in, but we also know that the books are what really makes our apartment a home. 

Guest comment from Drew:  The best jelly doughnuts ever can be found around the corner from the bookstore!


  1. That bookstore looks amazing! Can't wait to hear about your new job.

  2. Looks fabulous! I just realized too that we need photos of your place with all its fancy new furniture. :)

  3. I must check out that book store! And I agree, I can't wait to see pictures of your place :) We have a friend visiting for Fiji this weekend, I'm excited!

  4. okay- no one else is going to comment about the prostitution?! come on- that is craziness. I can imagine it- "Okay son- let's go get your big girl bed. Oh wait- let's not talk to that lady, err... man- he are waiting for a friend."

    Glad you got the bed and couch- can't wait to see it! (in person!)

  5. Enjoy your roomie visit. :) Put the bookstore and the doughnut shop on the list for my visit. LY


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