We’ve been at sea about 42 hours since leaving Tasmania, & scheduled to arrive in Adelaide, Australia in two hours. Winds are whipping 45mph according to the navigation channel, and the temp is a chilly 61. As the Captain accurately predicted, we went through the center of a storm system several hours after leaving Hobart – we hit rain, wind, and the seas of 10 feet stayed with us through the night and all day yesterday. Cheryl and I were sitting next to the indoor pool playing cards and the water was hammering so viciously we were sprayed at one point! I eventually won that particular card game – Cheryl blames it on the cold water from the pool J– we’re now tied at 16 games!
One of our tablemates (and good friend) was involved in an altercation while exiting a tour bus in Tasmania. I’ve occasionally mentioned in my updates about the level of immaturity & crudeness displayed by some of our passengers – boarding buses and buffet ‘feeding times’ are two of the worst. Mention the word food, and it’s every man for himself – good manners are nonexistent – being first in line is suddenly a competitive event even though the buffet is open for grazing several hours. And the older they are, the more spirited & bloodthirsty! The incident on the tour bus, as we understand it, was a situation where a man in the back of the bus tried to power his way up the aisle as other folks were aptly awaiting their respective turn to exit. Our tablemate, concerned with the safety of passengers in this guy’s pathway, simply said, ‘Hey, you apparently don’t understand how this process works.” The galloping fella had a temper burst at that point, rendering an elbow to our friend. The rest of the story is trivial, but suffice it to say the ‘sprinter’ learned a quick lesion in proper bus etiquette. I’m very proud of the actions taken by our tablemate, and in fact he was applauded by fellow passengers! Frankly, in many instances with several people, but particularly the elder group, it’s synonymous with supervising preschoolers. They push, shove, whine, snivel, & complain. They must always be first in line, first on the bus, first off, served first – you get the gist here – it’s like they revert back to infanthood behavior. Unfortunately, we see this type of behavior every day, much the same as last year. Many of the eldest folks participate in a daily shipboard activity entitled ‘Sit & Knit’ – we’ve warmly and fittingly renamed it ‘Stitch & Bitch’.
Please know…there are dozens of wonderful, very kind, considerate, loving ‘seniors’ – many of them are very close friends of ours. Don’t interpret this as stereotyping. As in all cases, it only takes a few.
Greeting us as we were in the docking process shortly before 10am was an Aussie Band. They were set up outside the ship terminal on the second level. Immediately, the passengers migrated to the open decks and balconies on the port side to enjoy the show while dockworkers were busy tying our lines and securing the gangway. They had an excellent sound system so their many welcoming Australian songs could be heard by all. Of course, the tune ‘Matilda’ gestured & encouraged audience participation, so one could see several hundred hands clapping & waving enthusiastically throughout the song. By far, it was the best organized and most enjoyable ‘welcome’ thus far. True to their colors, the Australian folks really embrace you, & make you feel welcome and at home – love them all! We were docked by 10am.
Cheryl and I opted out of all ship-sponsored tours as we heard the city itself was so beautiful, and wanted to explore it at our own pace. We weren’t disappointed. We hopped a commuter train across the street from the pier. While enroot to Adelaide city center, we were able to make stops at 19 locations, giving us a very unique observation of the city peripheries. What an enjoyable trip for us – we were able to meet a combination of local business folks on their way to work, rambunctious school children, neighborhood mothers with strollers, & cyclists who were perhaps taking a break for a few miles. And unlike the ships shuttle busses, there were NO altercations!!
As the pictures below illustrate, the city of Adelaide is everything advertised – absolutely beautiful!
Adelaide was once regarded as a city of religious conviction and was renowned chiefly for its disproportionately large number of churches. Nowadays, much to the parishioners chagrin, pubs & nightclubs outnumber the churches. There is no denying that the city has a superb setting – the center is surrounded by green parkland, and the metropolitan area is bound by the hills of the Mt. Lofty Ranges and the waters of Gulf St. Vincent. Nearby is the Barossa Valley wine region. Adelaide sits on the eastern shore of Gulf St. Vincent, in the far south of South Australia. The streets of Adelaide’s central business district follow a grid pattern, which makes it very easy to find your way around. Victoria Square sits in the center of the grid, and the main street – King William – runs through it. Although not the geographical center of town, Rundle Mall is the shopping center of the city with all the big department stores – and Rundle Street’s eastern end has some of the city center’s best dining and boutique shopping. North Terrace, running parallel to Rundle Street, is the city’s cultural center – this is an awesome boulevard lined with a gallery, museum, state library and university. The River Torrens separates the city center from North Adelaide, and a beautiful green belt of parkland surrounds both areas.
The only hint of a potential problem was a protest being held on the Parliament steps, about one block from the railroad station. It wasn’t a protest as much as it was a solicitation for help from the Australian government. Apparently, the Hazara people from Quetta, Pakistan are victims of genocide at the hands of their government. Many Hazara’s have migrated to Adelaide, and their gathering on the Parliament steps was an effort to gain support in fighting back. That’s all I know – that’s all the information I was able to gather when I asked one of the participants the nature & purpose of their congregation. It was a peaceful assembly with several news stations feeding live coverage. When we returned to the rail station several hours later, the crowds had dissipated.
We were back at the ship by 6:00 and intended to participate in an Aussie BBQ on deck #8, but so did the entire passenger population, or so it seemed. There wasn’t a chair or table available anywhere – folks were having a terrific time with live music, drinks, and what smelled like great BBQ. We ended up back in our cabin ordering room service…chicken sandwiches w/fries. It was our own fault – we should’ve returned earlier. Overall, what a wonderful day!
Next stop, Kangaroo Island – we arrive tomorrow morning at 6:00.