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Yes I know, I asked Mark for a title suggestion. All time low? You decide.
So, we pretty much wasted an entire saturday with me dealing with the bank over the fraudulent activity and then taking umpteen buses to go pick up our macbook (which is a whole other saga I won’t go into). The bus and tram system in Adelaide is fantastic, except that the service is reduced so most buses only run every half an hour on a weekend. Couldn’t fathom why they would do that because surely they would want to attract people into the city centre at weekends!?! The weather had turned lovely so it was a bit of a shame to be spending so much time on buses or on uninteresting trading estates. We did at least like the ‘adult’ shop opposite the mac shop which clearly had made a mistake when ordering their signage as they listed ‘exotic’ toys – skipping ropes from Papua New Guinea perhaps??
After all the faffing, we got back into the city centre about 4pm and having the heavy macbook to lug around, didn’t quite know what to do with ourselves. We headed up to Rundle Street an area we hadn’t explored yet. A street full of restaurants and the Exeter Hotel, a pub I had read about as being a classic in Adelaide, so it would have been rude not to venture in.
That brings me to an important note about drinking in Australia we have found so far. So far, in every pub or bar, my glass of wine has been cheaper than Marks beer. I am enjoying that very much – as any girl in a couple who’s had the ‘your drink cost loads more than mine you should drink beer lecture’. So happily for the moment the tables are turned on that score.
We needed lunch even though it was nearly evening as our day had been all over the place and we found an amazing cheap eat called ‘Dumplings R Us’. I looooove steamed dumplings and had been wanting some ever since we went travelling, so this was a true delight for me and Mark is now definitely a convert.
We headed home and caught the bus further up the main road to get some beer/wine. The main supermarket place was closed (although you can’t buy booze in the supermarket anywhere -pain!, but this had an off license/bottle shop next door). So we headed over to the Sip n Save only to find this was a drive-in bottle shop. They had fridges of wine on either side of a drive in area and just a man at an outside counter. We found this very bizarre and even more so that they didn’t have any bags – clearly no-one ever walked there apart from the weirdo English tourists.
We got back to the house and John and his friend Kirsty were cooking up some dinner which we didn’t have any room for, having so recently consumed a huge amount of dumplings, but we did partake of Kirstys homemade meringue which had dates and choc chips and nuts and berries and was amazing – home cooking gets me very excited these days!
After eating, then John who is has recently started to play the double-bass, Kirsty who is a professional cellist and Mark, Mr Piano of course, got down to some rather sophisticated jamming.
Mark was quite nervous at first but once he got into the swing of it (and had a few beers), he had a great time and they produced some fantastic music. First they did ‘I’m Yours’, the Jason Mraz song with the lead on cello. It sounded fantastic (well at least to their audience of one!) and Mark did a great job working his way through the music considering he doesn’t know the song. How he doesn’t know one of the most played songs of the last few years, I’ll never know. They tried out some other pieces, including a few older, French sounding tunes from the 40s which sounded great. After a few hours and a bit more wine and beer and after the magic had died, they called it a day, but it had been a surprising and unusual evening and we had a great time.
The next day we went out to Cleland Wildlife park which had been a suggestion from John. This place had just Australian animal and birds in a park set in many acres up in the hills above Adelaide. It was a fantastic, laid back place and the animals had tons of space. We saw a bunch of animals we had never seen before such as kangaroos, ecidnas (my personal favourite), tasmanian devils and dingoes.
We got bags of feed when we went in and fed a bunch of stuff as we went around. Bandicoots (cute little creatures like large mice), a variety of birds and the kangaroos and wallabies. I was amazed by the gentle nature of the kangaroos. We were a bit nervous and wary at first as some of them were pretty big, although they didn’t have the classic, huge breeds that would dwarf us. But we got more confident and if you were laid back and calm, so were they.
I have noted that all of the birds in Australia give you the beady eye.
I loved this pic of the wombat – we saw nothing more than it’s backside which looked like another rock. Australia has the most ugly, but somehow endearing species.
We also got to stroke a koala – I wouldn’t normally like the sound of such things but they just had the koalas out for 30 minutes at a time and you really just stood next to it and gently stroked its back leg while it munched on it’s leaves. Ours was an older lady koala who had buck teeth – you couldn’t not fall in love with her!
On our last major activity day we hit the city centre again. Although we’d stomped around the city a few times already and covered most of it, now that the temperatures had reached mid 30s the distances were much tougher and slower to walk.
We did the main art gallery which was not so much our cup of tea as there wasn’t a huge amount of contemporary work but it was an amazing place. Rather than the usual white walls, many of the walls were painted in gorgeous, deep, jeweled colours or even in wallpaper to offset the art. It worked really well.
The South Australia museum had some interesting things about the biodiversity of the area, but it also had lots of really bad taxidermy – understandably from the old days, but it did make us laugh.
We ended up back at the Central Market where we learned, to our pleasure, that at closing time you could get some real bargains.
We bought some amazing ingredients for the meal we were to cook John and Kirsty that night. I’d deliberately chosen to do something with mushrooms so I had an excuse to go to the mushroom stall!!
We cooked a simple Jamie O pasta recipe and sat out with John and Kirsty on the deck to eat. The only down side, as ever in these hot countries, was the mozzies trying to take chunks out or our legs. We were hoping one of the possums would come down to pay a visit, but alas I’m not sure we’re going to see one before we go – hoping to catch up with one somewhere. Kirsty has recently moved out to the sticks, on the edge or a national park, so we were wide-eyed when she told us that they had kangaroos round by their place and how she was wide-eyed herself when she saw the huge male for the first time, towering up a he reached up to food on a tree. We also talked about the risk of bush fires. It’s a real and serious threat to anyone who lives out into the bush. This makes the properties way cheaper. When John had driven us up into the hills to go to the wildlife park he had showed us many houses which he said would be worth very little and hard to sell.
Kirsty hasn’t lived out there that long and had previously lived close by to where we are staying and she said she couldn’t quite get her head around the possibility of losing any of her possessions. Of course you can put important things in a suitcase ready to grab if you have to leave or you can put things into storage to keep them safe, but what is the point of hiding your favourite things away so you can’t enjoy them. Especially if something does never happen. A tricky one. I can’t imagine having to think about that.