Wanderung 26

Walkabout, Sailabout

March - May 2012


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Wednesday, April 4th, 2012: Adelaide - Adelaide Central Market and State Museum


What a difference a day makes! When we went downtown with the bus, the bus driver was courteous when taking our fare money and carefully explained which way to put in the tickets to validate them. A side benefit of his courtesy was better flow in the boarding passengers because he avoided the backups of queues of puzzled, confused passengers.

The other thing that made our drive a completely different experience than the previous day was an Australian long-distance truck driver, who kept all of us entertained with his tales of the open road. He described his life in an 8-foot by 8-foot cab of the truck. He said he and his co-driver "ate there, slept there, drove there" and had even applied Armor-All to the floor and drove in stocking feet to avoid getting it dirty.

They drove either 1200 to 1400 kilometers on a typical day in their rig, and he joked about the car drivers they would meet at the rest stops who would "stretch their arms, roll their shoulders, and say to their spouse, 'That was a pretty good 150 kilometers, wasn't it?'."

He obviously lived out in the countryside somewhere, and said he had a "pushbike", Australian for a pedaled bicycle. When asked by one of the little old ladies why he didn't have a horse, he explained "A pushbike is much better than a horse. You don't have to feed it everyday, comb it, or take care of its feet. You can just let it sit there until you need it. Why, with all the care that a horse requires, you might as well have a wife!"

He also told a story of a wedge-tailed eagle he had just encountered on the road that week. "A kangaroo carcass was in the road and the eagle was sitting on it. He saw me coming at 130 kilometers per hour and I thought to myself, 'Sorry mate, but I can't stop this rig in time.' He wasn't scared; he just stared at me as I came at him as if he was saying, 'You're not going to hit my kangaroo!' So finally he ups and with wings flapping like mad he lifts the kangaroo just over to the shoulder of the road out of my way." To me, this truck driver epitomized the cheerful, outgoing, and unflappable Australian character.

I was also mightily amused when a young lady boarded the by now rather crowded bus and suddenly squeezed into the seat right beside him. He interrupted what could have been a very good stand up comedy routine and just looked down his nose at her and said in a noticeably surprised, but very friendly voice, "Hello!" She was apparently taken somewhat aback, especially as the rest of us older folks were giggling like crazy, so she didn't reply. Shortly thereafter we disembarked to begin walking around downtown Adelaide a bit more, but I was really sorry to lose the live entertainment and wished him the best of luck.


On our second day in Adelaide we were old pros at the bus thing. We got to the bus stop at exactly 9AM, had our coins for the tickets and knew how to validate them. And, of course, this time we had a typical Australian bus driver who took the time to explain how to insert the ticket into the validation machine, so things went rather smoothly with all the tourists. One guy, in particular, had the bus in stitches. In America we would have called him a "good ol' boy"; here he was an extremely friendly guy who spent most of his time driving a truck in the outback. He related stories about hitting a kangaroo and being outstared by one of the rare Australian eagles. The trip into town seemed a lot faster than the previous day.

Our plan was to go to the library to book rooms for the next few nights and then go to the Australian Museum. Since the library did not open until 10AM, we got off a stop early to walk over to Victoria Square and the Adelaide Central Market. It was a very nice walk, past a house with beautiful white wrought iron work and a nice mural.


Our first stop was the Adelaide Central Market, the Australian version of a Spanish Mercado. It was surprisingly large, stretching completely across one city block in width and maybe 150 yards wide or so. In any case, it took us about half an hour just to walk up and down the aisles and take a peek at the many stalls offering fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and baked goods.

There were also, of course, a smattering of other stores selling things like candy, and I bought a half kilo of raspberry "bullets", chocolate covered candies that I only seem to find in Australia. Usually we find licorice bullets covered in chocolate, so I wanted to try the raspberry kind and they turned out to be excellent!

At the edges of the main central market area we found several cafes or cooked-food stands, and also miscellaneous stores selling jewelry and other trinkets. All in all it was a fascinating place for shopping.


The Central Market reminded me of a Mercado in any of the Spanish cities. It had booths for everything, with fruits and vegetables being in the majority, but there were also a good number of butchers and bakers (no candlestick makers). It was fun walking back and forth among the stalls.

What intrigued me was that the entrance on one street was so completely different from the one on the other street. Quite obviously there was a front and a back entrance to this structure.



We headed North toward the South Australia Museum on North Terrace, stopping only briefly to peruse a souvenir store. Since they had Adelaide post cards for 50 cents, we picked up five of those to mail to the folks back home, and then also broke down and bought small kangaroo pins to put on our Volksmarching hats. Such tourists are we!

We also stopped in at the library to once again use their free internet facility. Monika found a hotel in Tanunda which we booked for the next couple of nights while I checked our email accounts to make sure nothing important or unexpected was happening. But then it was time to see the South Australia Museum.


We continued towards the museum through Victoria Square--yes there was a statue of Queen Victoria--and onward past a beautiful fountain, and down Wilhelm Street. This major street still has trams traveling up and down and I had a great time taking pictures of them.

At the library, I was forcefully reminded that the following weekend was Easter. For our first two nights in the Barossa Valley I had two choices, a cheap hotel with awful reviews and one that was half again as much but had a lot better reviews. After discussing it with Bob (and feeling vibes from Karen who has lectured us on this topic!), we chose the more expensive option and booked the rooms for Thursday and Friday night. That left Saturday and Sunday, and there I could find absolute nothing in Renmark, the town we had planned to get to. I was bummed, but there was not much I could do about it, except hoping we would find something when we got there. At least we had a place for the next few nights.



I particularly wanted to see the hall of exhibits on the Aboriginal cultures. That turned out to have two complete levels and so much information and beautiful objects that it took me a couple of hours to work my way through it. And by no means was I reading every word! (That would have taken a day or more.)


In front of the South Australian Museum, as at most museums we have been two, were two classes of children in their uniforms, having a snack and waiting to spend a few hours in the museum. I was as always surprised how many kids wore their wide rimmed hats that are part of the uniform. The kids in Australia learn early to wear a hat outdoors to protect their face from sunburn.

We decided to have lunch in the library before hitting the museum, since it often takes a crowbar to get Bob out of a museum. And this museum was really worth it. The section on the Aboriginal culture was thorough and comprehensive, and Bob tried to read and take pictures of everything.




We returned to the library's cafe for lunch as they had a nice menu of offerings, and after lunch returned to the museum to wander around the other halls of exhibits on biodiversity, mammals, life in the sea, and so forth for another couple hours.


Two other sections were quite interesting, one was on other Pacific Island cultures, in particular New Guinea and its islands.

But the section I really enjoyed was on the biodiversity of Australia. The wildlife is so fascinatingly different here, that I really enjoyed finding out what everything was.


But shortly after 2:00 p.m. we were both getting a bit weary, so we walked over to the bus stop to pick up our bus back to our motel. We did later drive over to a grocery store to purchase some meat, cheese, rolls, bread, and so forth, but that was the only driving I had done for two days, which had been a welcome respite.

We had a relaxed evening planning for our route back to Canberrra, working a New York Times Sunday crossword together (it takes two to solve one!), and then reading our respective novels.


But after over two hours, even Bob had exhausted this museum and we decided to walk a little bit more around Adelaide before heading back to a bus stop. This time we got a driver who drove somewhat jerkily and at one point a woman had gotten up already to get off at the next stop, when the driver suddenly stopped very hard and she fell forward. Bob hastened forward to help, but she seemed to be OK. It taught us to wait till the bus stopped before getting up.

We were getting low on some essentials, like cereal, so we jumped into the car to drive to the nearest foodstore. We also filled up the car, so that the next day we would be ready to go.

Copyright 2012 by R. W. Holt and E. M. Holt


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