Tuesday 5th January
Life continues here in Adelaide, with beautiful weather and a succession of days that are mostly around 40 or 25C with many fewer in between. That is nice though, the hot days are exhausting and tiring but never number more than two or three, then the cooler ones are a very welcome relief before the heat hits once again. I have discovered the strange fact that when it is that hot, it is actually cooler in my room with the windows CLOSED! This fact has taken some time to establish and a lot of not-quite-beliveing it to be true.. I am not used to living somewhere where open windows let in anything other than a cool breeze!
Some bedroom-modifications, involving balancing precariously on one of my end-bed posts to reach up to my skylight (even in which position I can still only reach it with the tips of my fingers stretching up as far as I can go) while my flatmate Jin passed pieces of sellotape up to me to tape a cornflake box over it, really helped cool the room down. A skylight is a lovely idea and lets in a LOT of light, but also a lot of heat and I only had to stretch up there near it to be running in sweat from the heat and exertion to realise that it did nothing towards cooling my room. It is much more pleasant in here without it.
Work is much the same, I was thankful to pick up some shifts at Hog's Breath over the christmas/new year period, when the Hotel Metro was closed for ten days, without which I would not have been able to pay my rent this week, but two weeks with hours very light-on-the-ground have smashed through any headway I had been making with savings, I have resigned myself to this and will start trying to save again when i am paid next week. I still really want to make it over to WA, even if I only see Perth, that would be better than nothing and I will cut the cost of WA significantly by not touring up the west coast.
The argy-bargy with Mr Barge Man has come to an end... Devine Shipping is based in Sydney, and travels all over the world to do jobs.. the job in Port Adelaide, which involved getting the barge ready for, and testing the Rolls Royce syncrolift is now over and thus mr Barge Man will no longer be working in the area and requiring my help. He did mention that he has a job next in Tasmania and might be able to use me there for a few days at a time, but it's all very up-in-the-air and doesn't sound very realistic, what with my evening shifts at the metro and hog's taking priority, as they are my stable income, so I am approaching it as if the barge income is finished. A couple staff are leaving from Hog's in about two weeks and I have already asked if I can take over some of their daytime shifts in addition to my current evening ones, so that is a possibility.
Adelaide has a much smaller aboriginal population that the other state capitals I have visited.. SA has the third lowest % indiginous people in the popluation of Australian states, higher only than the ACT (Canberra) and Victoria. This is definitley noticeable, there are a lot less homeless around in Adelaide and there are few places you daren't walk after dark for fear of getting harrassed, like there are in other cities.
Unfortunately I discovered one of these places last night.. the 24hour Hungry Jacks on West Terrace. I had returned home after an evening out and wanted food so decided to check out the HJ, only a 7-8min walk away, to get a veggieburger and some onion rings. I was sat into a corner, eating at a high counter and I heard a group of aboriginals come in behind me, talking in their own language. I didn't think much of it, since I have been in aussieland I have tried REALLY hard not to be taken in by what seems to be the widespread attitude towards indiginous poeple, which is one of misunderstanding and wariness, despite having been hassled by drunk abos on several occasions in Cairns and Darwin.. I really wanted to keep an open mind towards them. I heard them ask someone sitting behind me for money, then I felt a hard tap on my back and this one guy came and STOOD over me, and just STARED at me then started trying to grab for bits of my food that was in front of me. He was big and he had blood down the front of his Tshirt and he was dirty and he smelt and it was f***ing scary, so I said "leave me alone" really loudly, but by then he was taking bits of my food so I got up really fast and walked away to lock myself in the toilet, where I felt safe. It was horrible!
I accept now that it was stupid of me to go alone to the 24hour fast food place at 11pm, even though it is close to my flat and the street I have to walk down to get there is quite safe, anything 24hour is bound to be a bit dodge at that time of night and I will certainly never do that again. These guys were harrassing lots of people that were waiting to get served and generally being a pain in the arse, but the staff did nothing, although I suppose there's not much they can do other than call the police, which is what they have done in Hog's Breath the few times they have come into there and started hassling customers. But of course, by the time the police rock up they are gone, and they don't care if they aren't, it's not like they are going to pay a fine (they have no money) or appear in court, and if they are homeless they don't care about the threat of legal action or anything.
I do understand that the indiginous population is very disadvantaged and that things are a very very long way from equal for the, that they have real difficulties getting jobs and stuff, but really there is no need to threaten and intimidate people like that, in three years living in london I was never, ever, threatened in that manner. And neither do the homeless back in the UK harrass and hassle people in a really quite unpleasant way like the aboriginals here do. I've not made a judgement, I know that it is just one group and I will not start thinking all indiginous people are like that or anything, but I was quite shocked and I am very glad that it is not really a big problem in Adelaide and that I am able, in general, to walk around here after dark and not feel unsafe or scared.