Australia, Baby!

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


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Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Friday, October 14, 2011

The plan for the day was to go to the Adelaide Oval and take the tour. This being Adelaide, the most relaxed city in Australia (have I mentioned that already?), the place where you go to bed early and get up late; predictably, perhaps, we didn't wake up in time to go – who puts on the only tour of the day at ten in the morning????

As the Oval was out of the question, we decided to go to Glenelg instead. Glenelg is a beach-side suburb of Adelaide. Considering it is the middle of the school holidays, Glenelg doesn’t get a lot of visitors (compared with Spanish beaches). Getting to Glenelg was relatively simple; it's just a short tram ride away. At least it was shaping up to be a simple trip until a mad South African pensioner tried to engage me in conversation. I should say that this South African looked an awful lot like Uncle Jesse from the Dukes Of Hazzard, but his accent was really strong with a slight Australian inflection that he sounded like a villain from Lethal Weapon. The conversation went a little bit like this:

"Are you an Aborigine?"

“...! No, I’m not. I’m...”

“Oh, are you from South Africa?”

“Erm, no. I’m from..”

“It’s just that a lot of your kind come over from South Africa.” (Irony, anyone?)

“I’m from England. From London.”

“Oh, England? What are you doing here?”

“I’m on holiday”

Holiday? Well, it’s none of my business. You don’t have to tell me what you’re doing here, but I tell you, man, I don’t work for the police!”

“...!”

At this point the boys felt obliged to save me from this madman and they interrupted the surreal conversation before I could take offence.

I was excited when we arrived at Glenelg. Here I was at the beach, just yards away from sharks, stingers and the like. How could I not be excited? Adelaide, despite probably being the most provincial of the capitals was giving me the typical Australia experience – pool, bbq and beach. This is Australia, Baby! The boys kept asking me if I was going in the water, but as I surveyed the water, I could see that there were only children and old people in it – a sure sign that the water was freezing cold. Besides, Glenelg seemed to bear a startling resemblance to the town of Amity in Jaws. I respectfully declined their invitation to go into the water (“No f**king way!!!”).

Instead, we had a look around and the boys took me to a long jetty, which adrenaline seekers can dive off into the sea (always provided that the tide is in) and where people go to fish. Imagine my disappointment when listed among the fish that could be caught/seen in these waters was the Gummy Shark. Let me repeat that, the GUMMY shark!! What the hell was that? What did it do? Suck you to death???

While on the jetty, we saw one fisherman pull up a squid. I don’t normally see food being caught (I’m from Inner London – it’s almost a source of pride now, that I can honestly claim that I hadn’t seen a cow until I was 19 and that was from a train on my way up to university), so I was surprised when the squid squirted ink everywhere, just missing Will, and then proceeded to change colour as it attempted to blend in with the jetty.

Later on it was ice cream time. Being Australia, nothing is ever quite as you expect. Will and Dan dragged me to a particular ice cream parlour, where you ask for an ice cream base and then add two ingredients to it. 'Ingredients’ does not mean ‘flavours’; it really means ingredients. Next to the ice cream tubs are all sorts of sweets and chocolates that are mixed (not blended) in with the ice cream. What caught my eye was that a couple of ingredients included Mars Bars and Bounty Bars. Dan chose a large tub of vanilla ice cream, adding chocolate chip dough and a Ferrero Rocher as his 2 ingredients. This is Australia, Baby! Ask for large and large is what you get! So, we shouldn’t have been surprised when he was served up with enough ice cream to fill THREE large tubs, yet we were. Will and I had had our eye on other combinations; however, prudence dictated that we share Will’s, which was just as well as we didn’t finish it!

Picture an Australian beach. Have you got an image in your mind yet? Is it full of bronzed gods and goddesses? That was my preconception too. It was blown apart at my first sight of the beach. Everyone was pasty WHITE! At first I thought it might be an Anglo Saxon thing, you know, Brits abroad and all that. But Australia has a high concentration of Mediterraneans living here – Italians, Greeks and (some) Spanish, not to mention all the Asians living here. Yet the beach was made up mostly of pale skin. I understand it’s the beginning of the beach season, but there has to be more to it than that. No self-respecting Spanish girl/woman would be seen dead without a tan (real or otherwise) on the beach. Probably it’s down to the fear of skin cancer and the lack of ozone layer down here. Even I will be putting on sun block as the summer approaches.

It was a good day, chilling at the beach – in direct contrast to next week when I’ll be in the desert. This is Australia, Baby!
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Comments

Joe on

Your encounter with 'Uncle Jesse' will be cherished for a long time... thanks for sharing that!
I like your logic about not venturing into the water too: old + young = very cold.

georgegoode
georgegoode on

Glad you like it, Joe.

Joe on

By the way, a very worried Carlos (Italians) was asking about your whereabouts yesterday. He seemed genuinely relieved when I told him that you were only on a long holiday.
Keep safe!

Elaine Longmore on

Tell Uncle Jesse he's a prick !

I'm sure that you will bump into him and his type again!

Tell him you've got family in South London and we are deadly serious!

georgegoode
georgegoode on

Joe, thanks for putting his mind at rest. I wouldn't want Carlos to worry too much.

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