Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Adelaide: The City That Always Sleeps

Arriving at Adelaide just after New Year, it was lovely to be greeted at the airport by the family. Mum and Dad are out visiting my sister, Emma, who is marrying an Aussie named Grant. I didn't know they were getting married while I was there, but suspected she would. My nephews Max (9) and Lewis (18) were there, as well as my niece, Eryn (6). Lewis had brought his girlfeiend Elisha along, too. After getting over the initial shock of Max now speaking with an Australian twang (he'd held out for years) we headed for the car. Just Eryn and our Emma flying the flag aurally, then.

Adelaide should be renamed Aridaide. It's dry as a bone. Driving through the valley to the slightly less yellow hills, I thought it looks how I'd imagine the drier areas of California. It's a bit greener in Flagstaff where Emma lives, though.

There's not much to do in Adelaide; its a place famed for churches and vineyards. I'm interested in the latter. Lewis took me to a few bars in town, but there's no hip area the likes of which you'd find in UK cities of the same size. I mean, even Preston's had the odd cool bar over the years. Adelaide just feels like a hick American town on the drinking front, just lots of sports bars and the like. And some of the time there's No Trainers rules at them. Sorry, forgot to bring trousers and shoes to backpack around the globe. The pool halls were just full of strutting youths with their chest out giving you their best menacing stare. I'm not a fan, as you can probably see.

My best days were spent down the beach with my parents, and Jocky when he turned up later. Glenelg's is not too clever, full of teenagers giving it the large one. But Brighton, Seacliff and Christies (a little further out of town) are pretty enough. The fish and chips at Brighton are excellent, too. On some days, the water was nearly as tepid as Thailand. Especially on the days it hit 47 degrees.

Another place to visit is McClaren Vale; a huge swathe of vineyards and olive groves. I bought some delicious wines here, along with a bottle of cold-pressed olive oil infused with lime. Made short work of those. You can drink at every vineyard, and there's no pressure to buy. I bought a few too many. Always preferred the Old World wines, but the Pinot Grigios and Sauvignon Blancs I tried were great. Apparently a few of them use Italian vines; that's probably why.

As the doctor had ordered me to lay up and not leave for 6 weeks, the afternoons could drag sometimes. Anything you want to see around the area is a fair old drive. The city itself and suburbs can soon start boring you to tears. I was happy when the occassional thing turned up, like the open air cinema (even if the film, "Two Hands" with Heath Ledger was just about the worst flick I've seen. They wouldn't be lamenting him passing if that had been his last movie).

Helping the days pass was Joel, Emma's neighbour. A top bloke with a mad passion for model aeroplanes. The flying type, that is. And he'd potter round his garage with these while I drank beer and smoked weed. It was a haven from Em's when the family started bickering occasionally. Not that they did much, but Mum and Dad had been there 3 months visiting, and everyone spending a lot of time together led to the odd raised word. It happens, eh? Like a long Christmas Day.

Despite that, seeing them all together was great. Home cooking, and a few drinks round the BBQ with the neighbours. It certainly was lucky for me I was due there, what with the broken ribs. Nice to be nursed back by family.

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