24 March 2013

Adelaide, Day 5


The hostel had a noticeboard, where you'd find things like local short-term jobs, people looking to buy/sell vehicles, or people seeking company on road trips across Australia. Like the one pictured below, which has some interesting spelling ("Kowallas") and entertaining conditions ("No dickheads! Cool people only!")

Wednesday morning started out cloudy, and even attempting to rain. It was way cooler than my previous 4 days in Adelaide.

Adelaide has some good free public transport options. There's a bus route (99C) that runs a continuous loop in the CBD, in both directions, and the tram is free between any of the CBD stations. On Wednesday, I took the free bus around, seeing a few more parts of the city, and getting off on North Terrace near the State Library.

Statue of Robert Burns outside the Library.

On the ground floor is a regular City Council library, where I signed up as a "visitor" to get myself some computer time. I was allowed 1 hour of internet usage per day, for two days. That's when I drafted the outlines for the posts which became "Adelaide, Day X". Like this one, which I am actually expanding on a whole ten days later. But I've been busy.

After the Library, catching up on emails, a million Facebook notifications (and letting the internet know I was alive), and drafting blog outlines, I headed next door to the Museum.

Whale jawbones. The male at the back was from the late 1800s.
Bows and arrows (some tipped with human bone) from the New Hebrides.
The Museum has a whole floor devoted to its Pacific Islands collection, some of which dates back to 1895. What does Adelaide, on the southern coast of Australia, have to do with the Pacific? Well, there was a helpful board on the wall explaining the links, with mini biographies of various South Australian traders, businessmen and missionaries who had donated items they brought back from their travels. It was a very interesting exhibit, with historical pieces in wall cases behind glass, mostly with their original presentation and 19th Century tags, with more recent additions on stands in the middle of the room, reflecting modern history of the islands.

This was also the day that I discovered that Australian Antarctic explorer Mawson (the guy on the $100 note) was from South Australia, and had been a geologist and university lecturer in Adelaide before heading to the extreme south of the planet. There was a whole room devoted to the Mawson exhibit, covering his entire career.

Singer sewing machine from the expedition - Mawson expected his men to do their own repairs.

Artifacts from Mawson's ill-fated dog-sled trek. (Read more about it here.)

After the Museum, I went to the next building on the Terrace, also with free entry: The Art Gallery.

I was in time for a guided tour, and as there was only myself and a couple other gentlemen in attendance, the guide was able to tailor her hour's tour towards our particular tastes. After that we were free to continue browsing the gallery at our own leisure. They've got some really nice examples of Australian art.

The galleries devoted to Modern Art contain some weird and wonderful pieces. My favourite was simply titled "Rhinoceros".

Of course there's a green rhino bolted to the wall at ninety degrees. Why not?
After a couple hours looking at art, I headed back out along North Terrace.

Statue of Matthew Flinders on North Terrace.

Cool placement for a pig sculpture in the Mall.

I hadn't even seen a tram in Adelaide till Wednesday!

I caught a free tram across a few blocks, just so that I could say I'd been on a tram, really. I hadn't been on one since Norway in 2005. I then headed across town, back to the hostel.

My hostel.

Once back in my room, I packed most of my bags in readiness for Thursday, and left out a change of clothes. I then headed down the street to the Coopers Alehouse (see previous post) for Happy Hour.

After the first few days of sunshine and heat in Adelaide, I found Wednesday afternoon and evening cold. The breeze blowing in doorways was enough to make me wish I'd packed a sweater or at least a light jacket of some kind.

A couple beers - and a really nice pizza - later, I headed back to the hostel for their Happy Hour ($3.50 Tooheys from 6:30 to 7:30). Wednesday nights at Backpack Oz is also when they put on a free barbecue dinner for their guests at 7:30. The barbecue chicken was really good.

Dinner was followed by a Killer Pool competition. Everyone chipped in $1, and then got three "lives" on the whiteboard. Everyone took turns taking a shot - fail to sink anything, and you lost a life. Last player standing won a prize. I didn't last that long (I'm a bit out of practice) but I wasn't the first out by any means.

Then a few of us continued using the pool table, with a number of singles and doubles games. I pulled off some good shots, but am still nowhere up to the level when I was playing pool quite often in university.

Audrey and Ryan (R) versus some French backpackers from another hostel (L).

It was getting late, so pool drew to a close, but interesting conversation continued around the dining tables. With guests from many different countries, and cultural perspectives, hostels are a great place to meet people and have fascinating discussions. We had viewpoints from Australia, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Denmark and Germany.

Random topics included:

  • Differences between southern Swedes and people in Stockholm.
  • Getting poor marks on a German test because you'd actually been learning Austrian German.
  • Prices in Australia/Scandinavia/Europe.
  • Lonely Planet's guide to Europe apparently credits both Denmark and the Netherlands, in their respective chapters, as being the first country to legalise same-sex marriage.
  • Denmark has the world's oldest national flag. And Bluetooth was named after a king. (Two things the Dane was surprised to find I, an Australian, knew already.)

And then it was time for sleep.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...