Bussing It To Adelaide

Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
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Trip End Jan 08, 2012


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Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Before leaving Melbourne completely behind (at least until Xmas), there is one strange quirk of Melbourne that I should pass comment on: the alcohol bye-laws.

Earlier in the week, on the way back from the Great Ocean Road, Alan and Erin hastily arranged to meet me in Camberwell (no, not in South London) at a pub near the station. This was done by text and my battery was running out, so the actual name of the pub was not decided on. No name, vague directions – started to sound like my experience in Bangkok airport when I walked for 2 km looking for a non-existant departure lounge. Now, I'm a little bit wiser, so once I’d arrived, I’d decided that before taking another step from the train station, I would ask where this pub might be.

The answer I got was surprising to say the least, for the person I’d asked proceeded to give me a potted local history lesson. He told me that there was only one pub near the station and it was on the opposite side of the road. Yes, there were other pubs nearby, but they were all further along the street, all on the opposite side of the road. There was not one pub on the same side of the street as the station. Odd, but hey, that’s one of the mysteries of life, you might think; at least, that’s what I thought. However, this is not the case, as the man went on to explain. The reason for this situation was that, due to a local bye-law, one side of the street was 'dry’, while the other side was licensed to sell alcohol: postcode Prohibition!

Anyway, back to leaving Melbourne. It struck me that I had come full circle as Alan took me to the bus station. Like the day I’d arrived (it seemed like ages ago), it was a very cold, very wet day. At least this time I was wearing adequate clothing. As we were approaching Melbourne CBD from the east, we could see clearer skies ahead. "That’ll be over Adelaide," commented Alan. Good news!

As great as this trip is/is going to be, the definite drawback is the travelling. For this stage of my journey, I would be travelling by coach for 10,5 hours (at first I thought it was ‘just’ 10 hours, but there’s a half hour time difference between Adelaide and Melbourne – 30 minutes, seriously?), longer than the flight from Bangkok. I was not looking forward to that at all. Here’s an extract that I wrote in my misery on the bus at about 2am:

“I’m sitting on the bus trying to sleep and failing miserably – I can hear the strains of, first, Rihanna and then Pitbull coming out of someone’s headphones behind me, I can also hear the slow rhythmical breathing of blissful slumber and even the occasional snort – I, however, shot my load too early. I fell asleep from the off (what was I supposed to do if the dvd the driver put on was Dumb and Dumberer?), but we’ve had a 30 minute break at a roadhouse (*now I can hear ‘Billie Jean’ – “Turn your music DOWN!!!*) and now I can’t sleep. I look out of the window and I see the flattest landscape since Norfolk...in the dark, naturally.”

As you can imagine I was feeling pretty sorry for myself – probably because it took me 15 minutes to fall asleep instead of the usual 5 seconds – but at the end of the day, the trip was a lot better than I had anticipated. In fact it was even better than the flight from Bangkok to Melbourne.

Arriving in Adelaide, a couple of things struck me: we were met by quarantine signs, all fruit and vegetables had to be got rid of in a quarantine bin (I had a couple of apples and half a cheese and lettuce sandwich that I’d still had to eat). There are no hills in Melbourne. Getting the bus out to Bev’s, I soon realised that Adelaide is surrounded by hills, hence the Adelaide Hills, I expect. Finally, there seems to be more money floating about in Adelaide than in Melbourne, or perhaps, it would be better to say that it’s old money, while Melbourne could be described as nouveau riche. The architecture is conservative and traditional, unlike the brash designs of Melbourne. I haven’t been into the city proper yet, so I’ll reserve judgement until then. 
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