Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Reactions to a Day of Interviews in Multiple Aussie Buildings

Had a great day of interviews with different folks in Australia.  So, what have I learned?
  • The Canadian Chief of the Defence Staff was in town today (on the right, saluting, next to Aussie Chief of Defence Force), messing a bit with my schedule but doing no real harm. Just funny that a Canadian military guy was crossing my path--one that I had interviewed for this same project a while ago now.  
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade [DFAT] building is the nicest government office building I have seen (will have to take a pic tomorrow).  Well-designed, lots of space, just beautiful.  Nothing really comes close (not counting legislatures, like Bundestag, US Capitol, etc).
  • No gift shop at the Defense HQ.  I surprised the person who is arranging my interviews and accompanying me when I regaled her about the shopping ops in the Pentagon.  Nothing like it here.

  • The defense buildings have a direct view of the parliament, so the city is oriented in an equilateral triangle with the defence HQ as one point, the parl as a second one, and the third being the War Memorial.  So, Aussie identity is very much focused, I think, on the military.
  • Got a great explanation of cricket over dinner with my guide/arranger.  I gave her an explanation of ultimate.  Which is far simpler.  Now I have to figure out rugby and Aussie rules football.  I don't need an explanation of the rules for men's field hockey, just for its existence.
Overall, an interesting day.  A more complex picture than I had expected.  Lots of new avenues to pursue as well.  Good times.  Tomorrow, I get to meet a couple of politicians, more foreign affairs types, the center on civil-mil relations, and a key academic.  I do have a great job, don't I?  And I didn't even mention the great beer.

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