Saturday, January 17, 2009

Adelaide, Oh Sweet Adelaide

Not even twenty-four hours in Adelaide and I am ready for medication again. Part of it most likely due to not having the air conditioning on last night. We did not ask for it, because it would cool the three other rooms around us too, so we were being considerate. Having the window open for air did not work either. We are on the ground floor and the party people who are not allowed to cause a ruckus inside, stand outside to drink and carry on. It was a trade-off between heat or noise. I woke with a sinus headache, not feeling rested, and as dreary looking as before Hobart. Where did that Hobart healing go so quickly? Up in the kitchen, we made our scrambled eggs and raisin bread toast. There were young and old scrambling around cooking, cleaning up their dishes, or using the computers in the lounge. As I watch all of these twenty somethings, it makes me sad that I missed out on these opportunities in my youth. When I grew up, hostels certainly existed, people my age backpacked primarily through Europe, and experienced life. I on the other had was raised with fear. Fear of being alone, fear of asking my family if I could go, fear that I knew the answers already, fear of not knowing what, where, when, and especially how to navigate from one place to another. There certainly wasn't Internet back then to help plan the details out or to keep in touch to let those left behind know I was still living and breathing. For God's sake, my family had a fit when I went to Europe the first time and I was then thirty years old. They had no sophistication about travel, museums, culture, or life experiences in that fashion. Since then, I have truly made up for these deficits by traveling extensively. This is the forty-eight country Ron and I have have visited together in the last fifteen years. I have been to Mexico before I met him, so I am one up on him. With all of the flurry of youthful activity, I also regret that my own nephews have been raised with the same types of restrictions I lived through. Our parents were so much more liberal with my brother, it would seem he would be more liberal with his sons, but apparently not. When we lived in California, I repeatedly asked for them to come visit, even offering to pay the airfare. Since, we have made the same offer for their visiting Budapest, all to deaf ears. Even appealing directly to the offspring has not dented their armor. The response is always, I will have to ask my father, but then there is never another response. The eldest no longer needs his father's permission. Soon he will be graduating college and is over twenty-one years old. One would think that if you had college buddies who knew you had an uncle in Europe, they would prompt you to visit just so they could join along. Free lodging for all, what a deal. Apparently, American youth have a lot to learn from European and Asian youth who seem too jump on any opportunities they can. Back to the moment, Ron tried booking the tour he was interested in, the wine tour. Unfortunately, they were not planning on running it tomorrow due to lack of interest. He is considering other tours with different companies. The major agenda item today was shopping. We have not bought a single souvenir or gift yet. Each time I have seen something, the response I get is “That will be everywhere we go, do you really want to lug it around? Wait until we return to Adelaide.” Refusing to do anything until we went shopping seemed to work, now we had to remember where the shops were. The first one we went to had some of the things that caught my eye in Melbourne, but at twice the cost and not as good quality. Keep looking. Another shop, but more disappointment. They did not have what I wanted. They did have some adorable plastic bag storage bags with kangaroos and koalas on it. I bought five of them for gifts. With today being Saturday, nothing will be open tomorrow, so the pressure was on. There was a small department store that is a chain and I had a feeling, which turned out to be correct. They had some stuffed animals that were just right and at a better price than anywhere I had looked. Put a bunch of these in the shopping cart. As we were sitting at a coffee stop, Ron had mentioned Iowa with the idea of going there this summer. Normally, that would be fine with me, but we may have to return to New Jersey to clean out my father's house, in addition to deciding on what to do with our things in his back room. This led to my re-entry thinking, which I really hate dealing with. Re-entry thinking usually starts toward the last two to three days of a vacation if I am lucky enough to hold it off that long. The phenomenon creeps on on me with thoughts of things I need to do as soon as I get home that have to be dealt with. As soon as I get home, I have fourteen thesis students to advice and kick in their butts to get their thesis written and completed by March. Never have I had this many in one semester before, so the reading is going to be insurmountable, but each was warned with a strict time line expected of them for my return. This led to thoughts of my father and his predicaments, leading to the B and B if we were both gone at the same time, but how could one of us make decisions on what was worth keeping or not alone? However, this led to the negative thoughts that neither of us have a valid driver's license any longer, so there is the hassle of getting from the airport, but more importantly, the stress of being held captive at my father's house since he does not drive any longer. He doesn't have Internet access, so I am cut off from the world; the city he lives in is not all that sophisticated to have Internet cafés within walking distance. It may be lesser of a strain and expense to have the whole lot of it shipped to Hungary and we sort it out there. Oh, how I hate re-entry thinking. A diversion is what I need, to ban it from my mind. The Tandanya Aboriginal Museum did the trick; we went to look in their gift shop. Everything there is guaranteed work done by Aboriginal people. We found a small wall hanging called “Men's Ceremony” that was also on sale for 20% off. That and a boomerang will fill our souvenir needs for ourselves. The next stop was the Central Market, after taking a two stop ride on the free inner city loop bus. The market is a humongous place filled with produce stands, butchers, cheese shops, and pre-cooked foods for sale. Aside from the Budapest Central Market being more attractive, next to this one, it looks like a small convenience store. It was mobbed with people shopping for the weekend. The market is closed on Sunday and Mondays. One would think it was a Christmas rush at a give-away sale. Avocados out for sample were creamy, rich in flavor, and ready for eating. We bought a couple of them, a few sweet potatoes, and some sausage with chicken, spinach, cheese, and onion. Ron likes a snack before dinner with a glass of wine, so we found some sharp cheese we sampled, so we bought a piece along with plain crackers. At another stand, we found beautiful bacon to supplement our breakfast. We walked out with our arms full and spent less for two days dinners than we would have for one night in a restaurant.. There is some sort of bicycle race starting here on Monday, but tomorrow is the pre-event, though I have no clue what that means, there are a number of cyclists riding around the city. We returned to the hostel to put our food away in the wall filled refrigerators in our marked bag. Now I am sipping tea and writing while sitting on the balcony of the second floor, shaded and enjoying the breeze. When Ron mentioned he wanted to go on a wine tour, I briefly stated he should go alone since I don't like most wines. He went and booked it for tomorrow for himself without asking me again. I sent him back to book me too. Being Sunday, there will not be much for me to do here alone, so I might as well get to see some of the countryside. They also have an offer that if you spend $100. on travel you get a free hour of Internet that they otherwise charge $4.00 an hour for, but it turned out that one person has to spend $100. on themselves, not combined. Well, I wanted the day out anyway, so the tour should be fun, but in the meanwhile, I am paying $5.00 an hour for WiFi or Internet in any fashion. Our plan is to do laundry on Monday evening. The worst thing when you get home is to have lots of wash to do. The charge is $3.00 for a load of wash and the same for the dryer. We only travel with a small amount of clothes, so one load should do the trick if we combine colors with whites. The dryer can be increased with 20 cent coins. When we get home, the only dirty clothes to worry about will be the ones we are wearing. This is another advantage of traveling with only a carry-on suitcase for five weeks. I left behind three shirts as we went, shirts I had intended to toss or donate anyway. When they used up their usefulness, I left them behind, lighting the suitcase. Conversely, we bought about five t-shirts with slogans on them, so we do have alternative clothes to wear. When we get home though, the clean clothes can be put away and we can recuperate the flights with “no worries” as everyone says here. No worries, mate. No worries, no worries, no worries. No wonder the Australians can afford to be nice and kind. None of them have worries. Must be nice. The other thing that I noticed is that they spell thank you as a closed compound: thankyou or Thankyou. Oh, and gyro or giro is yiro. There are tons of slang words we have had to ask as people used them, but none that I will commit to memory for longer than our flight home. We did not do much after returning earlier. Ron bought at bottle of sparkling shartz wine, so we had a couple of glasses before dinner with the cheese and crackers we bought. The wine went down really well, but the kitchen started turning into a frenzy, so we hightailed it in to start our dinner too. We fried the sausages in a cast iron skillet while microwaving the sweet potatoes. After the sausages were cooked, I cut the sweet potatoes into large chunks and fried them in the balance of the butter from the sausages; the sausage did not have any fat to coat the pan. It was delicious, but we continued drinking the 750 ml bottle of wine with dinner as we sat on the balcony enjoying the breeze. If you don't know how much 750 ml of wine is, let me tell you, I can get shitfaced on 200 ml. This particular wine is sweet, so after a more than a few glasses, I was ready to collapse face first into my dinner dish, reminding me of Ruth Gordon in Where's Papa, an old movie with George Segal. Ron, bless his heart continued drinking, finally finishing off the bottle to save me from myself. His Irish background comes in handy for things like that. Give it to Ron, he will drink anything, reminiscent of the LIFE cereal commercial, “Give it to Mikey, he'll eat anything.” After crawling to the sink to get the dinner dishes done, somehow I miraculously made it back to our room, though I don't remember it spinning before dinner. After resting for an hour, Ron insisted we walk around the block to get our gastric juices the motivation to perform. That was the longest block I walked in five weeks.

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