Just spent the last two weeks staying in the Adelaide Hills with a friend I met in Tanzania. It has been my first taste of Oz so everything has been new and exciting.
The first day I arrived we popped into Jim's local and before long I had many people chatting to me. Everyone is so openly friendly here and you can have some great Oz-England (Pomeland) banter, just don't tell them you think England outplayed them in the Ashes! All the Australians I've met have superlatives for everything in their country, i.e. we have the oldest this, the biggest that, the widest etc, etc! The variety of characters you meet is something else - JJ - the drummer in a few of Australia's top bands, Crazy George - Self explanatory(!) & Graham - the camp Scottish thespian with a word or two to say about how the English have ruined his life! That is to name but a few of the many colourful characters to be found in the Scenic Hotel!
From the Adelaide Hills you get stunning views across the totally flat cityscape with its square mile of skyscrapers and buildings which stretch out all the way to the sea. This view is especially stunning in the evenings when it is beautifully lit up. The region is also known for its vineyards and we passed Hardys, Wolf Blass and Penfolds vineyards amongst others.
On the first Saturday evening I was there, Jim took me to watch an Aussie Rules game, it was Adelaide Crows vs Port Adelaide Power, Showdown XX! We met a couple of his friends and parked up outside the ground and had a pre-match barbeque! A storm had been forecast that evening and we had got almost to half-time before it duly arrived. Rain was coming down from every angle and the wind was swirling. In the tunnel at half time people were nearly getting blown off their feet. We decided to weather the storm and go out to watch the second half and the Crows came up trumps with a 103-53 victory.
We got back to the pub soaking wet and chilled to the bone to find the electricity had gone out. They had candles going and the fire on so we stood by it trying to thaw out! Someone had a guitar, where it came from I couldn't tell you, and start playing some tunes. Other people then started singing along and we had ourselves a great atmosphere.
Later in the week I met a mate from home who was in the area and we did the tourist thing through the centre of Adelaide. Being total culture vultures we went to the Art Gallery (for about 15 mins!), the Don Bradman Collection and the Museum in the morning. The Museum had the most stunning Wildlife and Nature Photography display, it did nothing to quench my thirst to see the world, and especially gorillas! In the afternoon we packed in a botannical garden, a rose garden and a man-made rainforest in a dome! What a day!
Over the course of the two weeks, Jim took me on some drives to see the surrounding area and we went to a place called Victor Harbour on one particular day to try to spot some whales, sadly they aren't getting there till around June time, I was gutted! On another occassion we got fish and chips at the beach, so I would say it all levelled itself out!
On one particular day I planned to do a walk through a national park and Jim told me he would meet me at the other end. That was all well and good, except for that fact that it turned out the trail was closed further down and by this time Jim was long gone. With my terrible sense of direction I was left with the task of retracing my steps all the way back to Jim's house, about 5 miles away, before he left and went to meet me at the other end, I just made it!
On Saturday night Jim and myself were invited to a party with a great clientele of people. Included were a group of blokes who work in the Outback who like singing! A fire was sparked up on the patio and a guitar appeared, once again from completely nowhere as far as I could see! The guys, it turned out, had a great repertoire of hilarious songs and everyone, especially myself, was in complete hysterics! I didn't know anyone there bar Jim and one or two others but again it didn't matter as I soon got to meet most of the people there.
I've got one more day here before heading to Perth and the West Coast. I've decided to take the Indian Pacific train to Perth and it takes 39 hours in total. It goes through complete nothing for ages and there is a good chance of seeing kangaroos and camels. There is also a chance of seeing the Southern Lights, which would be amazing. I'm told it has the LONGEST straight piece of rail track in the world (480km)! Due to budget constraints I had to take the cheapest ticket which means I'll be trying to sleep on a seat for two nights, can't wait!
Anywhere, I think that is all for now.
Take care everyone,