Thursday, June 28, 2007

My lips are burning!

So, on to Adelaide, with Virgin Blue airlines, who seem to have cornered a large chunk of the Oz airline market. They charge for the food, as well as for the in-flight entertainment - you can swipe your credit card for that. No thanks, Mr Branson!

The cheap end of the viola congress accommodation is in the former Nurses Home of the Royal Adelaide Hospital. At 17.50 AUD (half that in pounds) need I say that it is basic? But the bedding is clean, the towels are nice, and the rooms are warm. Not sure where to get breakfast on site, other than checking yourself in as a patient, but there are plenty of cafes around. We share our 11th floor with a bunch of boys here for a rugby tournament, who shower heavily in the afternoons and leave the floor awash. Oh yes, and the bathrooms and toilets are shared for all - it's great when you are sitting on the loo whilst a guy is shaving at the nearby washhandbasin. Kind of puts you (me) off a bit!

Adelaide seems quite small, though it has plenty of suburbs. It's very low rise, and the main part of the city consists of two squares, with gridlike streets, set in a green belt - beyond it the 'burbs. It has several theatres, though, a concert hall, a university and so on what with being the capital of South Australia, population 2 million. Does not take very long to walk across the town centre, or even both bits of it, certainly not the three hours for the walking tour described in a brochure.

Running in the Botanic gardens (there are lots of them in Oz, no?) is a slightly eery experience when you find a bunch of green, red and blue parrots flying alongs side you! I run in shorts and t-shirts, and the people I meet are dressed in winter jackets, hats, and scarves. Do they think that because it's winter they have to dress warm?

Food is interesting; there are lots of lovely breakfast cafes all of whom offer huge portions, so if you want more than one type of thing you end up paying a lot and leaving half. Not ideal, but the stuff is delicious! Though porridge with honey and poached pears is not quite the Scottish way. During the day it's been mainly Asian food, vietnamese. japanese, thai - no wonder my lips are burning!

Went to the beach this morning at Glenelg - don't ask me what ocean I dipped my feet into! I was the only one, though, by very far - everyone else was very well wrapped up, and in no danger of going anywhere near the water! If I had had my cozzy with me, I would have gone in, just for the experience!

Yesterday failed to overcome my resistance to enter bookshops (trying to keep this for my last day in Sydney) and took a closer look - only to find mainly British, American and international books. I asked about Aussie authors - she found five that might have fitted my interests (based on the other books I had in my hand). Hmmm, they must do better than that? One of the two Aussie books I bought is set in the US....

Had planned for some culture tonight, with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra's Sibelius concert, when I spotted, on this morning's local paper, the face of Dame Edna Everage, opening in Adelaide tonight! There's no contest! Tomorrow the congress will start....