Sunday, January 23, 2005

Adelaide, January 2005

[Life / Travel] I guess like most other places, Adelaide has its selling points & its drawbacks. But hey, it's not where you are, it's who you're with that's important, right?

After a week of wandering around the city, I can't help feeling that it's a decaying city. Perhaps the suburbs are growing, but so much of the CBD is made up of empty commercial space; businesses for sale & gutted stores. If a Boost Juice store can go out of business in the middle of the CBD, there's something wrong. It's almost like they've given up.

On the upside, there're a lot of happy people around. Even the bus drivers are chirpy. Now whether they're genuinely happy, upbeat people or it's just a mask to help them keep their jobs or not tick off someone who might kill them in some bizarre way (as sometimes happens in South Australia), we'll never know. And how much does the O-Bahn rock?! A bus that turns into a train! Go Autobots!

It's like that saying 'Life happens while you're making other plans'; my original intention was just to be in town for the wedding, but with New Years and bachelor party gatherings organised, I ended up in Adelaide with time to kill.


Fri 31st Dec:
Event #1: New Years at the Daniel O'Connell Hotel & the casino. Nudie runs, casting our ensemble bio pic, singing & dancing; nothing unusual there.

Sat 1st Jan:
Recovery, saw The Incredibles.

Sun 2nd Jan:

Prewedding Party 003 Prewedding Party 007 Prewedding Party 008

Event #2: T-bone's bachelor party at the British in North Adelaide, followed by cricket on some uni ovals. Moved on to the Exeter Hotel to meet the roaming hens party for more singing, dancing & nudity. Tip for young players: the staff at the Exeter don't mind singing or dancing, but try doing anything with the furniture and they'll step up pretty quick. They won't be able to articulate a reason why you shouldn't be doing something, but that won't stop them asking you to step outside for an intimate lecture.

Prewedding Party 015

Mon 3rd Jan:
The day can only get better when it starts with a shitty breakfast at the Al Fresco Cafe on Rundle St. Seated next to the cruiser-swilling-at-11am, butt-ugly slapper and being served a very average bacon & eggs by the clueless-yet-narky over-made-up bitch of a waitress left Brenton & I underwhelmed. It's hard to enjoy even an average breakfast when the filthy skank next to you is talking about throwing up in detail (where, when, how much, texture, etc etc), but it's even harder when one of the junkie-looking guys at the table mentions that he would've held her hair back if he'd been there & she replies that if he had she would've let him have his way with her, but that she would've probably thrown up on him during due to the motion sickness. Gross yeah, but pain shared...

Killed a couple of hours pouring through a few of Adelaide's music shops (there're some really good ones on Rundle St - check out B Sharp and Big Star) while waiting for Annabelle to get into town.

Once she found the hotel room, we headed out to Glenelg on the tram. Walked out on jetty, along the beach, then stopped in at the Stamford Grand (the hotel/pub on the corner by the beach) for a snack - the lamest galic bread ever (two tiny bits, cold & late).

03 - Glenelg Beach

Ended up back in Adelaide, dined with 'Bone & Cheese at The Arab Steed before drinks back at the 'Bone's folks place.

Tue 4th Jan:
Mmm, Central Markets. So much good food. After breakfast at Zuma Cafe, I killed the day wandering around town. Picked up a 512mb Sandisk Extreme CF card for the camera (it's all good) so that I could go snap-crazy at the wedding (and I did). In the evening we returned to the Lime & Lemon Thai Cafe, because we had such a good time there during our last Adelaide trip.

Wed 5th Jan:
Enough of this city-wandering, we needed to get out & see what lay beyond the CBD. After some drama with Europcar involving quotes being offered & then altered, we got into the hire car & headed out towards the Barossa Valley. It didn't look that appealling, so we continued on into the Clare Valley. Brenton's old man had mentioned the Sevenhill winery, so we figured that was as good a destination as any.

South Australia winery daytrip 001

Sevenhill is the oldest winery in the Clare Valley & was originally set up to produce sacramental wine for religious use. If you stop in & look around, keep an eye out for Jesus-in-a-bottle.

South Australia winery daytrip 003 South Australia winery daytrip 005 South Australia winery daytrip 004 South Australia winery daytrip 006 South Australia winery daytrip 007

We decided that we wanted to head back to Adelaide after seeing a bit of the coast, so we plotted a course that would take us through Clare (for lunch), back to Mintaro (very old) then up to Snowtown before hitting Port Broughton (where T-bone spent some of his childhood) and coming back to Adelaide via Port Wakefield. Back in its heyday (1870s-1940s), Port Broughton was a trading port with most of the action happening with wheat. I'm not sure what keeps it going these days, I suspect it's fishing and just being a nice, quiet holiday town.

South Australia winery daytrip 010 South Australia winery daytrip 011 South Australia winery daytrip 013 South Australia winery daytrip 012

Regional South Australia is vast. Rolling plains and a lot of sky; the horizon is a long long way away. There're some classic signs by the roads too. One we passed (but couldn't stop for a picture) said "Watch Your Speed: Children Don't Bounce".

South Australia winery daytrip 015 South Australia winery daytrip 014

All up we did about 500km and it was a really good day.

Thu 6th Jan:
After spending most of the previous day in the car, it was time for some exercise. A walk around the Adelaide Zoo was the order of the day. Tatts, Em & I spend a couple of hours wandering amongst the swarms of kids daycare groups checking out the animals. I've gotta say I was disappointed; compared to the Melbourne Zoo, the Adelaide Zoo's enclosures were tiny and didn't look particularly engaging for the animals.

Likewise, there wasn't much that I could get into at the South Australian Museum. It reminded me of the old Queensland Museum that used to be next to the Ekka grounds; full of stuffed animals in glass cases. I spent quite a bit of time in the Treasures of Palestine exhibition, the Ancient Egypt room and the Giant Squid display that spans several floors (in a staircase), but then sped through the rest of the place in about 10 minutes. I particularly liked the way some of the posters in the Palestinian exhibition integrated their flag.

It was a liquid-filled afternoon & evening. Firstly beers with the groom & groomsmen at the Cranker (Crown & Anchor), then with Pawnstar, Annabelle & Brenton. We kicked off at the Worldsend Hotel for dinner then moved up Hindley St to The Kava Hut to try some Kava in coconut shells. Kava is tastes horrible, but it makes you feel good. After the weird sparky sensations had left our lips & tongue and our game of Trouble ended, we moved across the street to the Pokie Brothers gaming lounge; winning $20 from a $2 bet is a good time to stop.

Fri 7th Jan: The Wedding Day
Up at 0945. Went to the markets and picked up some cheese, liverwurst & other casual eating food & went back to the hotel room to relax and pick at food in front of Elf while getting ready.

We arrived at Ayers House about half an hour before the ceremony so that Annabelle could get her violin set up for the pieces she'd been asked to play*. There were the usual greetings & don't-you-look-good's.

The ceremony itself was short & sweet - about half an hour all up - and both the bride & groom managed to hold back the tears through the vows (the tears came later, during the speeches). When all was said & done there was drinks in the courtyard and then we were all seated for dinner.

The reception was excellent from start to finish. The speeches from the fathers, the chief bridesmaid & best man were both funny & touching. I'd have to recount a bunch of other people's stories for them to make any sense though. The bridal waltz - Michael Buble singing That's All - got most able-bodied guests on to the dancefloor, and after a few more crooners the DJ kicked into party mode; there were Zoolander walk-offs, the dancefloor circle and Patrick even granted us another adults-only interpretive dance to Starship's We Built This City. K-Bunny & the Dancing Cowboy danced up a storm, as did the groom's mother. The Fudge Brothers - as Sally calls them - also treated us to a performance of LRB's Reminiscing (an old family thing that gets the occassional public performance). The DJ played on for an hour after he was meant to stop; he said it was the best wedding he'd ever played.

But all good nights must end. Around 1.30am we left Ayers House; the newlyweds hit their hotel room while the rest of the crew hit the casino. The last photo of the night on my camera was of the city skate park that was still kicking at 3.30am.

Sat 8th Jan:
So broken. Despite McDonalds & two purges I was still having issues with being vertical and being in motion when we headed out to Golden Grove to the bride's parent's place for a BBQ at 3pm. An afternoon of food & juice fixed me up, and it was the consesus of those gathered that - for a change - I was one of the drunkest at the wedding & probably the drunkest I've ever been. Still, damn funny & had a great night, so it was worth it.

We spent the night in the hotel room winding down. Watched Faust 5.0 on SBS; fucking surreal.

Sun 9th Jan:
Checked out of the hotel, wandered around the city for a bit & wondered why the people who run Adelaide would spend so much money on urban sculpture, art installations & community space that no-one would use, being that there's bugger all there & it's not on the way to anything. Flew back to Brisbane in the afternoon.

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Posted by Dean @ 1/23/2005 03:26:00 pm

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