Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…done with Adelaide, for now

I only had a brief stop in Adelaide — pretty much a week — and five (well, four and a bit) of those days were taken up with watching the cricket. The glorious, glorious cricket.

The most important day I spent in Adelaide was Tuesday (the 7th). It was filled with highs, lows, discoveries and records. It started off brilliantly – it was sunny, England skittled out the Aussies to win their first live Test in Australia since 1987 to go 1-0 up in the series. After that I took my first bus trip in Adelaide and discovered that although they have a weird ticketing system, printed on the back of their tickets are cute little comments such as “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours”. For those keeping track of the public transport options in this country, Adelaide has trams (like Melbourne) but their workers were on strike to coincide with the cricket so those trams weren’t running (like Edinburgh) for a lot of my time there.

Helpful bus tickets

I got the bus to Port Adelaide, much to the bemusement of the guy working in the hostel when I asked how to get there, but he clearly didn’t realise that there was a seahorse farm that way. Or he did realise, but didn’t bother telling me that it had closed down. Turns out I missed the last day by just a week, which is very sad. By the time I got out to Port Adelaide, the predicted rain had hit and I walked around listening to the thunder and watching the lightning. Thankfully, because all the pavements are covered to protect walkers from the sun, I didn’t get very wet.

On my return to the city centre I saw a tree with bunches of flowers placed on it. People had written messages on the paving slabs in memory of a teenage girl who had passed away in a car crash, and it was all pretty poignant. By now it was pouring — I’ve since been told that it was Adelaide’s wettest December day since records began in 1839 — and I got pretty soaked by the time I got back to my hostel.

In the evening, thinking the rain had gone, I went for another wander and when I was too far away to quickly return to the dry it started raining again. I watched the rain and the lightning from a bus shelter and thought it all looked very nice.

In fact, much of Adelaide looked nice. It’s known as the city of churches and Chappells and as well as all this fancy architecture (that Australia doesn’t have too much of), it has a lovely river flowing through it, plenty of parkland, purple trees (PURPLE) and pieces of art dotted throughout the streets. I wasn’t really expecting this given the advice the taxi driver emparted on me on the way from the airport.

Who wants green trees when you can have purple ones instead?

Pretty much the first thing he said after he knew where I was staying was ‘You want fun? You go to HQ. Lots of pretty girls dancing’. I didn’t speak with him much during the journey and as we were turning into my street he pointed out HQ to me. Then as we were driving along my street he said ‘There is a strip bar, that is strip bar, this is strip bar. If you want fight go to that club or that club’. I didn’t go to any of the venues he pointed out.

On my first full day in Adelaide I saw the most amazing thing I’ve seen on my trip so far. I was walking around with a couple of guys I met in the hostel and we came to the river. We had the option of going down some stairs or down a ramp to get there. The ramp was quite long, so was quite windy. At the bottom was an Asian-looking man, probably mid-20s, who was walking backwards up the ramp. He did this up one straight, then turned and walked backwards up the next section. When he got there he turned 180 degrees and walked down both sections backwards. He repeated this process for several minutes (he could have been there for hours practising before we got there) before walking off (forwards). I have to admit, I have never seen anyone so good at walking backwards. Maybe something to practise if I ever get designated lunch breaks again.

As well as watching cricket and looking at pretty things, I danced topless with some male strangers in the rain, I realised that all the bottles in Australia that say you get a 10 cents refund at collection depots in SA mean South Australia and not South Africa which I originally thought (and got quite confused by), found out lizards are terrified of teddy bears and I saw my first snake and pelican. As always, photos are available online.

Pelican!

I’m going to be in Perth until early January but I’m looking for things to do next year, if you’re interested in giving me some suggestions.

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One Response

  1. Jemma says:

    The backwards man, the backwards man, I can walk backwards fast as you can…

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