I laugh when I think about how much these Australia posts will contrast with my snow post
, but that's usually what happens when you travel to opposite ends of the earth when temperatures are at their most extreme. It's snowing here, and I just battled weather in Adelaide and Victoria
that got up to nearly 41 degrees (105.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
Let's go back there, shall we?
One of my favorite parts about going back to Australia after not being there for a while is that I forget how funny Australians can be. For instance, where in the United States can you find a lingerie shop called The Booby Trap Warehouse
? Across the Pacific and down south a bit, you can find one in Adelaide, Australia. I bought several bras from there. True story.
When we were driving back and forth between Melbourne and Adelaide (and to our New Years Eve destination), I found another reason why Australians are funny. I saw their country road signs.
Do you get it? Don't drive like a W-anchor
Isn't that a great way to grab your attention when you're thinking about speeding down the road and tailgating and weaving around the cars like a complete wanker? I sure think so.
If you're a super-American like my mom and really don't understand the billboard at all because you've never heard the word "wanker" before (or don't watch enough Hugh Grant movies), then I can tell you that the word basically means "jerk". There are other meanings, so look here
if you're in the mood for educating yourself in the art of British slang.
As I mentioned before, we had some very hot days in Adelaide. We spent a lot of time relaxing since that weather can make you pretty lethargic, but we got out of the house too. There were Christmas gifts to exchange, a few friends who were actually in town to meet, bras to buy at the Booby Trap, and beaches far as the eye could see.
I'm not sure if you know this about Adelaide, but they have outstanding beaches. During one of our afternoons, we drove over to Henley Beach. Glenelg is the most popular city beach, but we avoided it since we knew it would be impossible to find parking and space to even walk around on a day like this.
We walked over to Henley Square for lunch, and I got a real Greek salad. "Real" Greek salads have all of the essentials of any other Greek salad, but it's not mixed in with lettuce. There are also huge chunks of cheese, which made this girl very happy.
Later on, I met my friend Megan (read her blog Story Book Love Affair
- it's all about books, and she's a fantastic writer!) at Lemongrass Bistro
on Rundle Street (the most fun street in Adelaide). I've always wanted to eat here while I was living in Adelaide, but I never got the chance. The one time that we made reservations, I got sick a few hours before dinner.
Lemongrass has outstanding Thai food. You can order all different sorts of noodle dishes, but I was intrigued with the menu option that allows you to pick your combination of sauce, vegetable, and protein. I chose the Lemongrass (bottom left), which included mushrooms, capsicum (red pepper) and other spicy veggies. I chose the tofu as my protein, and I was not disappointed.
Megan ordered the Char-Grilled Chicken (bottom right), which was garlic, herbs, sweet chili sauce, chicken, and vegetables. We both loved what we ordered.
We packed up our bags the next day and drove to Port Vincent for New Years Eve. Instead of trying to explain where it is, I drew you a map (below). Port Vincent is the pink bubble, and Adelaide is on the other side of the water. The only way that you can get there is to drive around, so it took us about 2.5 hours to get there.
The land that juts out there and slightly resembles a boot is called the Yorke Peninsula. A lot of people who live in Adelaide also own homes there. It's an ideal place for fishing, snorkeling, diving or surfing.
Just for fun, I also "drew" you a map of Australia. The red bubble shows Adelaide, and you can just make out the Yorke Peninsula next to it.
Before I recap Port Vincent, I really want to stress the fact that you can't live in Adelaide without knowing several people with a "holiday shack". So many people own homes in the city, but they will also own a house somewhere else, such as Kangaroo Island, the Yorke Peninsula, Hindmarsh Island, the Limestone Coast, the Fleurieu Peninsula, or the Riverlands.
People often call them "shacks", because they are never as nice as their homes in the city. They may be in their Adelaide homes for 11 months and one week out of the year, but as soon as Christmas rolls around, the city empties out with everybody going to their holiday homes. These homes also have the capacity to sleep armies of people, because they often have bunk rooms. Those who don't get a bed can still sleep there; they just sleep outside in a tent or a swag
Days are spent on the beach, curled up with a book, or watching ten hours of cricket. Nights are spent with delicious dinners made on the barbie and a few bottles of wine. This is the time to relax and enjoy time with your family and your friends. You may have to share one bathroom with 17 other people and wake up to mosquitoes biting your face, but it doesn't matter. All in all, I really admire this post-Christmas tradition that can never happen in the United States of America.
This was exactly like our time in Port Vincent, except the house our friends rented was a NICE shack.
We spent a lot of time at the beach. Our friend Bonnie rented the house, but she and her sister Cat also have a family home there with a boat. I went on the boat, although I never ended up going water skiing. I definitely should have!
After beach time was beer time and nail-painting time. By the way, you can't see in this picture, but our tent was set up on the deck around the corner. Yes, we slept in a tent for two nights.
Boys got their nails painted, too.
We had steak on the barbie.
Duncan's homemade potato salad.
It doesn't get more Australian than this!
The next day included more beach, lots of time reading, and watching people jump off the dock (I stole this picture from Lara- thank you!).
Then the girls went home to pretty themselves (this house had TWO bathrooms, fortunately), and New Years Eve officially started. Bonnie and Cat's family came by to see the house, and they brought a few appetizers in addition to our own. There was a ton of food.
There was plenty of beer, wine, and cocktails.
My favorite appetizer was smoked salmon on a baguette with capers. YUM!
Oh yes, I also enjoyed the brie very much.
I didn't have one of these, but I'm pretty sure these were appetizers of the Asian variety.
They brought their dog, too.
He got LOTS of attention!
Of course, there was more barbecuing.
Duncan and Claire!
The meat! Sausages and lamb (I think it was lamb).
Lara and I were in meatless moods, so we ate lots of potato and salad.
We also got a visit from the neighborhood dog. He came up to the house a whole bunch of times and attempted to persuade us in a game of fetch.
He usually won at least one of us over. How can you say no to a face like that?
He has owners, but they let him run around during the day and play with the neighbors.
Soon, the sun went down and the dancing began. I was up there once they broke out the Backstreet Boys.
We had a delicious pavlova for dessert with fresh berries.
There were sparklers.
We all had a wonderful time.
Including the blokes.
We drove back to Adelaide the day after that, and then we went back to Melbourne early the following morning. It was an exceptionally warm seven-hour drive, so I was very happy when we made it back to Al's apartment.
I just realized that I have no recollection of mentioning that Alastair moved to Melbourne last year after visiting me in Chicago. I'm sure you would have figured that out by now, but I feel pretty silly for not bringing that up. I have the tendency to just suppose that I already told people things, so I am very sorry if I forgot!
Despite the fact that some parts of Australia had terrible weather (cyclone in the Northern Territory and torrential rain and hail in Melbourne), we had a lovely Christmas in Adelaide.
I started off my day with a three-mile run in a park near Al's mom and dad's home at 8 am. The park was full of walkers and joggers and dogs, and everybody was happy since it was a sunny and warm Christmas morning. Al's mom and dad were also out walking, and Al went there to run (although I never go with him since he runs so much faster than I do).
At 11, Al's brother Nick, his wife Anna, Al's brother Hamish, his girlfriend Ayzsa and her son Nate came over for mimosas and presents.
At 12:30, we arrived at Aunt Susie and Uncle Andy's new house in the Adelaide Hills for lunch. As usual, there were drinks and plenty of food!
We also had our assigned seats and our Christmas bon bons (they contain the Christmas hats, as you will see in a few pictures).
We had passed appetizers before the big meal, such as amazing homemade sushi, spring rolls, and smoked salmon tarts. After that, we had lunch. I filled my plate with roasted potatoes, green beans, incredibly moist and delicious turkey, and tomato pie (sliced tomatoes, onions, and crusty bread).
Most of the fam (minus myself) were from Adelaide, but there were also two uncles and one aunt from Melbourne.
I sat in between Uncle Tim and Jamie (my future father-in-law). I have fun no matter where I sit on Christmas since we are always a chatty bunch.
Soon after we started eating, we cracked open our bon bons and put on our Christmas hats. Festive, eh?
Instead of going out and buying presents for everybody there, we did a "Kris Kringle" gift exchange. Each person buys a gift with a $20 limit and wraps it in red paper. We then take turns grabbing presents. We did the same thing last year in Melbourne
when there were 30 people there, and it worked out very well.
I got a pairing knife and a dish-washing scrubbing bristle gadget that fills up with soap (I really can't think of the name of it right now...if there even is a name for it). I'm pretty stoked about them, but I'll probably trade for Al's Jamie Oliver's 30-Minute Meals
cookbook. He got the same thing last year for Christmas, and I really don't see the point of him having two of them. He doesn't, either.
We ate our dessert on the patio.
There were Haigh's
truffles, mini mince pies, brandy butter, Christmas pudding, cream, ice cream, and a saliva-inducing bowl of fresh raspberries. If you don't know what these desserts are, then look 'em up on the 'net!
I have zero complaints about the desserts. Everything was just perfect.
Soon after dessert, we got a visit from Father Christmas. He drove up the hill on Uncle Andy's jeep. Perhaps Andy let Santa borrow his car, which was very nice. We looked around for Andy during this ordeal, but we couldn't find him. Maybe he ate too much and had to lie down for a power nap.
We expected Santa to bring his reindeer, but he instead had his Little Helper named Lolla.
As soon as he got to the top, they made a dash for a the house. They had important presents to deliver.
We didn't see Santa after that, but we found Andy a little while later. I wonder what he was doing all of that time?
Santa also visited last year, but there were too many children present for Lolla to make an appearance. Alastair's family is just full laughs...yes?
I hope everybody else had a wonderful Christmas! I'll be in Adelaide relaxing until the first or second of January, and then we'll go back to Melbourne until it's time to go back to the States. As of now, I'm enjoying my relaxation and am not looking forward to going back yet!
P.S. Thanks to Penny for letting me steal a few photos off of her camera!
This is going to be a long one! That's what happens when I take a lot of pictures but wait 2-3 days to upload any of it. Silly me. FRIDAY
Friday for lunch, I went with some of my coworkers to City Zen
on King William Street in the city. We usually get sushi, but we changed it up and got yam cha. I never had yam cha before, and I didn't know what to expect. As I just figured out from my web searches, "yam cha" is often called "diim sum" in the US and the UK.
For me, an easy way to describe it is Chinese tapas. You order a whole bunch of small dishes for the table, and everybody shares.
The meal started with jasmine-infused green tea. It was cold in the restaurant, so it really warmed me up.
We also got a bottle of Geoff Merrill sauvignon blanc (from McLaren Vale) for our table. Why not? It was Friday, dudes!
We got a bunch of different sauces for the table. The one nearest to me was soy sauce, but I'm not sure what the others were. There were a few ones that tasted like sweet chili sauces. I didn't get to try all of them, so I'm not sure which ones would have been the best.
Below: fried squid
Fried prawn sushi (all of these were taken with my iPhone camera, so forgive the blurriness)
Tofu in some sweet and sour sauce that I happily would have eaten, but the girl in our group who was ordering sent it back since we didn't order it.
We all ordered some sort of dessert after the meal. I was curious about fried ice cream, so I ordered it with chocolate sauce on top.
It tasted great. I enjoyed the crunchy exterior. It was unique. Still, I prefer my ice cream un-fried!
We had tons of other dishes that I didn't load onto here. There were some things that were like egg rolls and steamed dumplings, and then we had two bowls of Chinese broccoli. I'm glad that I tried it, but I'm not sure if I would go to yam cha again. A lot the food was fried, and I just didn't feel healthy after eating it. The food also tasted good, but it was nothing earth-shattering.
I was also upset during the meal since I had a nasty confrontation with a coworker just before going to lunch, so that probably affected the experience. I guess not everybody in an office can be perfectly nice (but I'm lucky that most of the people in mine are just wonderful).
Saturday started by waiting on hold with Qantas in Australia for 45 minutes. Al, the problem-solver, used the international minutes on his phone to call Qantas in the US. There was no hold at all there, so I hung up with Australia. I changed my return ticket to the US to Monday, May 30. I also get to fly into Dallas this time. Qantas just moved their San Francisco hub to Dallas this month, which is fantastic for people who live in the Midwest and eastern regions of the US. I loathe LAX in Los Angeles. Actually, the only reason I am sad that I'm not going through LA is that I can't see Jess
While waiting on hold for 45 minutes and sandwiching the phone between my ear and my shoulder (I know that I could have put it on speaker, but my washing machine was on the loud spin cycle. I needed the phone at my ear.), I prepared hot cross buns for breakfast. I'm actually not sure if we have these in the US or not. Does anybody want to share their wisdom? They are only available during the Easter period, and they are semi-sweet tasting buns.
Al loves them so much that he bought several packages of them this year and put them in the freezer. I'm surprised he even let me eat them.
Per his instructions, I cut them in half and spread a little bit of butter in between each bun. I put them in the microwave for 1.5 minutes and ate them...all while waiting on hold.
After I changed my flights, I went to the gym and then came back to make lunch. It included this:
and three triangles of this:
Lunch came together very nicely. The fish is very lightly breaded and also doesn't taste too fishy. I also ate a mandarin orange. I'm almost positive that I call them clemintines in the US.
I also had a dark chocolate Adora disk, which is a calcium supplement. I bought them with my mom at her favorite vitamin store, and I have been hooked ever since. Lately, I've been dipping it in peanut butter.
After lunch, Al and I went to the city to hit the shops for a while. We then came back, and I fell asleep on the couch for a good two hours. I am an awesome napper sometimes. Al finally shook me awake and asked me if I wanted to go see "Thor". Of course I wanted to see "Thor"!
We saw it, and I absolutely loved it. I want to go see it again. And again. It was my kind of movie. I love fantasy and science fiction, so I was in heaven. I also bought a regular-sized popcorn, which should really be a large popcorn, and Al and I finished the whole thing. I still wanted something to eat when I came home, so I ate cereal. Don't you ever just want cereal for dinner?
Today, there was the Million Paws Walk
right by our place. Hundreds of people from all over the Adelaide area brought their dogs to the river and walked them to raise money for the RSPCA
. The RSPCA does lots of wonderful things, but they most importantly work to prevent animal cruelty around Australia.
You would have to tie me up to keep me away from hundreds of dogs a block away from my apartment, so I wandered outside after breakfast to say hello to my furry friends.
I got there just as they kicked off the walk. I have never seen such a large group of happy dogs! So many tails were wagging.
I got to pet a few doggies, so I was happy.
They also have adoption shelters. They have a huge one in the southern suburbs. I donated some toys to the pups for Christmas.
I didn't want to leave. I actually wanted to steal and/or borrow a dog so I could walk it, but I went back home so that I didn't feel too tempted. We had another exciting thing to do, so I wasn't quite as sad.
We drove to the Waterfall Gully car park and hiked up Mt Lofty.
Mt Lofty is the highest point in the Adelaide Hills. Al and I did the hike once before, right after I moved to Adelaide.
Mt Lofty sounds like a cute little hill, but let me tell you something. The hike is HARD.
We started, as we did before, at the Waterfall Gully.
Below: Waterfall Gully
As you see, it's a beautiful hike up to the top. It's about 4 kilometers (about 2.5 miles) to the summit, but it feels much longer. For a lot of the time, especially when you get to the end, it is so steep. At certain points, I was breathing so hard that it sounded like I was hooked up to respirator. I was literally breathing with everything I had. It didn't help that I was trying to keep up with Mr. Athletic in front of me.
As we got closer to the end, it felt like hours until we got to the top. The trail is so steep that you have to balance your weight so that you don't fall forward. Al has issues with his achilles tendons, and he could barely put his heels down on the ground at certain points. It hurt him a lot.
Please observe my swollen fingers (and nail polish that I STILL haven't taken off). They were so enlarged that I struggled enormously to take off my ring before getting in the shower later on. At its worst point, I couldn't make a fist with either hand. I wonder if this happens to anybody else.
This was the last bit before the summit. I wish you could see just how steep the ground was. I was huffing and puffing, but I was so determined to get there. By the way, people RUN up this every day.
I knew we made it to the top when I saw the familiar sign asking me to clean my shoes.
That thing would be dirty.
Mt Lofty summit!
The view is gorgeous. I'd love to be there on a clearer day, because then you can see Kangaroo Island from there.
What goes up must come down, right? Going down Mt Lofty is also a challenge. It's not as tiring as it is potentially very rough on the joints. We struggled not to fall forward. Not only that, but since we are going down on such a steep incline, we step down harder and put stress on our knees and feet. I relieved the stress by taking my mom and her personal trainer's advice and walking with my feet parallel. Guys, I will tell you more about this when I talk in more detail about my leg recovering. For now, let me just tell you that changing my gait has significantly reduced the pain in my leg. Maybe it could help you, too!
Here is some advice if you want to do the Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty summit hike:
- Dress like you are going to the gym. Wear gym shoes or hiking boots, and please, please do not wear jeans. You will sweat and will be so uncomfortable in anything that is not workout pants or shorts. I've seen people in boots and jeans. Please do not do that to yourself.
- Bring water. You will need it on the way up. There are no drinking fountains on the trail, and you can't buy anything until you get to the summit.
- We always bring a light and small backpack for our phones, keys and water.
- Be prepared for the fact that the hike up (and down) is not as easy as you think it will be. It's not an easy stroll through the woods.
- Take your time going up. You may be in good shape, but you will still struggle unless you are used to steep hills.
Afterwards, we went to Bunnings for a new heater and a sausage
. I was so cold and hungry by the time we got there, and some lady cut in front of me while I was waiting in line for the sausages. I was livid. Now, I am well fed and feeling much better.
I hope all of you had wonderful weekends! I can't believe I only have two more weeks of work. Crazy.
Before I came back to Adelaide, my mom treated me to a no-chip (or shellac) manicure. It involves four coats of special polish (one base, two color, one top coat) and putting your hand under a UV light for a couple of seconds after every coat. You don't have to keep your hands under a dryer; they are dry and ready to go after the last coat. My nails were perfect and shiny and would not chip!
This is what they looked like the day after I got the manicure.
This is what they look like more than three weeks later.
I have small nick on my pointer finger, but that's pretty much it. My polish is still as pink and shiny as the day I came home from the salon.
I was supposed to take it off after two weeks, but this is ME we're talking about. I never take care of my nails. I'd rather bite them off than file them or paint them myself. I'll probably get around to peeling the polish off this week, since I hear that you can peel it off! How fun! It's much more exciting than nail polish remover.
Now, backtracking to yesterday, I went to the O'Connell Street Bakery
in North Adelaide to place an order for a morning tea for work tomorrow morning (mini quiches and banana cake...yum). I bought a vegetarian wrap for lunch with olives, sundried tomatoes, feta, onion, carrot, alfalfa, lettuce and capsicum (red peppers).
It was a huge-ass wrap, but it was so tasty and filling. I might grab one tomorrow morning on my way to work.
We then cleaned the entire apartment from top to bottom. Our friend Shona came over to see our place, and then we all walked to Outback Jacks
for dinner. Al and I went there recently
, and we had a great meal. I ordered a hamburger with grilled onions and fries on the side along with a tasty James Squire brew. It was all really good, although the bun looks really unappetizing in that photo. I swear, it was good. Al and Shona also liked their dinners a lot. So far, Outback Jacks has been good to us.
Today, the family went to Aunt Susie and Uncle Andy's brand new house in the Adelaide Hills. We went there last year for Mother's Day, and it was basically a vacant lot with a few walls up. This year, it was complete!
Their house is not easy to find. I can't imagine trying to tell a taxi driver how to pick me up there. In fact, I think it's impossible. It involves taking a few turns off the highway, taking another u-turn and then driving into a ditch that turns into a dirt road and goes under a bridge and driving up a steep trail (you can't really call it a road) that finally leads to their house. It's very well-hidden.
Despite being hard to find, their house is amazing! It is nestled into a rock with floor-to-ceiling windows, so you get spectacular views of the nature around you. There is also a lot of natural light in the place, and everything is brand new.
They have a few human neighbors around them, but most of the creatures that live around them are furry and love to climb trees!
This little koala was sleeping all afternoon with his head buried in the tree. After gorging myself with food and drink for a good four hours, he finally woke up and showed me his face.
There's Uncle Andy with a glass of red and a brick in his hand. Andy, were you planning on knocking the koala out of the tree?
I certainly hope not!
Annnd with that said, happy Mothers Day to all of the beautiful mothers out there!
Have a wonderful day, and remember to not throw bricks at animals in trees!
If you didn't read yesterday's post
, make sure that you do so that you know what I'm talking about.
Continuing on, we celebrated the 80th birthday of this woman (below) for the second time on Sunday afternoon.
**The photo below is from Christmas, not the past weekend**
On Sunday right before noon, the family bused out to McLaren Vale for a fancy lunch at Chapel Hill Winery
. MaLaren Vale is a wine region that is 40 minutes from the city. I've driven through the area, but I've never actually been to a winery there until a few days ago.
It was a perfect day.
We had the dining room all to ourselves, and the view of the winery was brilliant.
We stood outside on the terrace and took some photos before returning inside to taste some wines.
At McLaren Vale, the vines sprawl out to the sea. You can see the water if you look carefully.
We could have spent the afternoon outside (and gotten sunburned), but we were also excited about the lunch. I love any meal that includes personalized menus.
I started with a glass of pinot grigio during "cocktail hour", but I switched to a rose once we sat down. The wine was called "il Vescovo Sangiovese Rose", and I will jump on ordering anything with "sangiovese" in the name. I first fell in love with the variety while I was studying abroad in Italy. I hardly ever see it in Australia, so I was so excited when they offered it to me. I also may have brought a bottle home with me...
I was with a fun bunch. Below is Gramps, Auntie Fel and cousin Jack.
Hamish, Ayzsa, cousin Alice
Uncle Nick, Anna, Uncle Chris (and Uncle Tim in the corner)
Of course, there were speeches. We did a toast at the beginning of the meal. Later on, before dessert, we all went around the table and said something we loved about Grumpy. We had a lot of fun with that.
The food, as we expected, was fit for a king. Course one (as described on the menu): a salmon, potato, dill and caper tart.
Actually, the first thing on the menu was focaccia with olive oil and dukka (spices), but I forgot to take a photo. It tasted like it just came out of the oven, and it was sooooo good. No bread is better than warm bread.
Here is the tart after I dissected it. It tasted like fancy mashed potatoes mixed with cooked salmon in a light pastry. I loved it, and I almost cleared my plate. One of my favorite parts of the dish was the caviar (the orange balls). I know a lot of people are afraid of this delicacy, but I really enjoy eating it. I love how it pops when you bite down (I know I just grossed people out).
Course two: 5hr slow cooked beef cheek with grilled eggplant, rocket and buttered mushrooms. I took this photo after I added salad and roasted potatoes to my plate.
This dish really makes me want to buy a slow cooker. The flavors soaked in perfectly to the beef. I wish there were more mushrooms on the plate, because they tasted wonderful with the sauce. The wines below are NOT all mine, by the way. I do admit that I had a separate glass of red wine to go with the meat dish (I think it was a merlot). I think Andy just wanted to add more decoration to my picture.
Course three: Indian doughnut and fresh peach, with a lime and toasted almond ice cream.
I'm delighted that Grumpy chose this dish, because it wasn't something that we assumed would be on the menu. Cake would have been wonderful, but we would have expected it. The doughnut hole didn't taste like it was fried. It was moist and cakey with beautiful spices and a hint of rosewater. It came together beautifully with the ice cream and the peaches.
We concluded the meal with plenty of coffee, tea and Devil's Tawny (port). There is a good chance that I escaped with a bottle of this as well. A very good chance.
We didn't forget to take a group photo on the way out.
We took the bus back to the city and unloaded at Penny and Jamie's house. Some of us didn't want to return to reality yet, so the fun continued in the back yard.
But alas, it was a Sunday night. The majority of us had to get up very early the next day, so we couldn't continue with the party forever.
Three cheers to a wonderful time! Hip-hip-hooray!
Grumpy is celebrating her final party tonight with another group of her friends, and then the 80th festivities come to an end. I'm sad that it's all over, but it does make me hope that I can party the same way when I'm 80. Guys, I'm already looking forward to Grumpy's 90th birthday celebrations!
February and March are busy in Adelaide. One of the biggest events is the Adelaide Fringe Festival, which is a celebration of the arts that last nearly a month. Adelaide's festival is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and the second largest in the world (Edinburgh has the biggest). For a couple of weeks, the city is flooded with visual art displays, comedians, carnivals, plays and more. Every year, the festival kicks off with a parade.
We didn't get to see it this year. These are the photos from last year. Performers participate in the parade to promote their shows. I can't remember what any of these shows were, but enjoy the wacky costumes and floats!
In addition to the Fringe Festival last year, there was the Adelaide Festival of the Arts at the same time. There were light displays set up all over North Terrace that reflected onto the facades of the old buildings. It looked amazing.
North Terrace usually isn't busy on weekend nights, but I remember that the sidewalks were packed during this event. We could barely get from one building to the other without difficulty. These light displays happen every other year.
We've seen some great shows over the past two years. If we have time, we may see some other shows before the festival comes to an end. If you are in Adelaide and haven't seen Phillip Escoffey's
show, you MUST see it! It's called "Six More Impossible Things Before Dinner". I can't tell you too much about it, because it will spoil it for you.
The Festival ends March 13.
Well, I'm still on the fence about whether or not I'm going to work tomorrow. I went home early from work sick on Monday, and I haven't been back since then. I am still very nauseated and have a terrible headache, so it's hard to sit through a full day of work when I feel so terrible. I got a blood test today, so I should hear back tomorrow if it's some more obscure virus. I'm supposed to attend two of Grumpy's several birthday parties this weekend, so I need to get better!
These past few days have been a pain in the neck, as well as in the throat, stomach and head. I came home Friday after work with a fever (I knew something was wrong when it was a super hot day but I was too cold to take off my cardigan on a bus without air conditioning), and I haven't felt much better since then. The fever is gone, but I'm left with intense nausea, fatigue and a burning headache. I couldn't even make it through a full day of work today.
So far, I've missed out on seeing a Fringe comedy show* with Al (we couldn't find anyone to take our ticket last minute on Friday night), money from working a full day and several workouts. I did, however, gain the opportunity to sprawl across the couch this afternoon in my pajamas and watch the Oscars live on TV. Who thinks Sandra Bullock should host the Oscars next year? I do!
Backtracking to the weekend, I didn't leave my apartment at all on Saturday. I stayed on the couch and took my temperature every hour. On top of that, I watched several episodes of "Glee" that I needed to catch up on. Al played cricket all afternoon, and then he joined me on the couch. He later grabbed some food from one of our local bakeries for dinner (pies and pasties
, of course), and he surprised me with a Nutella heart-shaped donut.
You know it's good when you see the grease seep through the paper bag. We split it for breakfast the next morning. While every Nutella bite was a taste of heaven, I still felt super sick after eating it. It was incredibly rich, and I feel nauseated from eating everything right now. I have been known to eat Nutella straight from the jar, though, so I could see myself eating one of these again.
Before I go, I want you all to know that living by one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the city has a cost. There are bells.
On any given week, the bells of St Peters Cathedral ring on Sunday mornings at 10:30 and on Tuesday nights for bell practice. In February, however, there is a special bell ringing schedule for the Fringe Festival. If you can make out the times at all below (they are highlighted in yellow), then you see that they ring for a long time. 4:30-8:30 on a Friday night? That's a little excessive.
I like bells when they make an actual melody (think Altgeld Hall for you University of Illinois people), but the bells here are just a cacophony. They are LOUD. They sound pretty at first, but then you realize that they don't sound like anything. Are most church bells like that? I really have no idea. Anyway, I'll be a little bit happier when they resume their normal ringing schedule after tomorrow.
I hope you like my golden retriever magnet, by the way. It came all the way from America.
* I need to write a post on the Fringe Festival. I've mentioned it before, but there is a lot to say about it. Don't let me forget to fill you in, because you may have no clue what the Fringe is if you're not familiar with Adelaide.
Where have I been for four days? On a blog hiatus? Usually, when I'm away for a few days, it means I'm out having fun. But I always miss my blogging! I need to learn to have fun AND blog at the same time.
The soon-to-be Mr. and I had a great weekend. Highlights include:
- my first massage (I went to the Divine Wellness and Beauty in North Adelaide- thanks to a wonderful Christmas gift from a client). It was a sixty-minute full-body aromatherapy massage. I also got my eyebrows shaped. I could get used to this special treatment
- finding great deals at Harbourtown. I came home with four shopping bags
- three showers in one day. On Saturday, I took one after my run, another after I came home post-massage covered in oil and another when I still smelled like oil and needed to wash my hair
- going to the movies with Al. We saw "No Strings Attached". Good movie.
- getting Indian food at 10 pm after the movie
- eating a lot of chocolate (FRUCHOCS!!!) in the movie (and having no appetite for that Indian food)
- celebrating Valentine's Day one day early
Guess what we did? We picked strawberries! We drove up to Hahndorf
in the hills. I've always wanted to go there, but I never had the chance. It was a German settlement in the 1800s, and it still has its ethnic flair.
While driving up the main road, I saw a Ferrari that said "broke" on the license plate. I thought it was amusing, so I took a picture. I wish the photo turned out better.
That should be better.
We drove to Beerenberg Farm
on the edge of town. It was just as cute as I imagined.
Beerenberg sells heaps of different jams, honeys and sauces. You can buy their products all over Adelaide.
We paid $3 each at the front. That got us a wristband and two plastic baskets for our strawberries. We crossed the street and then walked a little more.
I think non-ripe strawberries look interesting.
Does this make anybody want a strawberry?
We easily filled two of these. All together, the strawberries cost us about $20 ($9/kilo). We liked it so much better than going to the grocery stores, because all of the strawberries you pick are good ones. You don't have to worry about getting moldy ones in your basket.
After the farm, we walked around the town.
I want to move here.
We ate lunch at The Haus.
If you go to Hahndorf, I strongly recommend it. I ordered roasted pumpkin and feta pizza with pine nuts, baby spinach, pesto and rocket. It was one of the best pizzas I have ever had in my life. Unfortunately, my half-sun-half-shade lighting didn't help with the photo.
Al ordered a pie from the specials list. He liked it a lot.
I took half of my pizza home and ate it for lunch today with some strawberries. Yum!
We had some other exciting adventures yesterday, including drinking a mammoth-sized iced coffee with Penny and Jamie and seeing our first Fringe show of the season. I'll tell you all about the Adelaide Fringe Festival when we get more time! I also have to remember to blog about iced coffee in Australia, because it makes me laugh every time that I order one.
I hope I'll have time to blog a lot this week, because we're moving tomorrow! We have to cross our fingers that we have our internet and electricity hooked up ASAP. I'm getting so excited. I'm also looking forward to my day off of work on Wednesday.
Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!
Once upon a time, an Australian boy lived with an American girl in the sprawling northern suburbs of Chicago. The American girl had never been to this mythical place called Australia, but the boy told her many stories about it. She hoped that she could travel there one day. One of her favorite stories that she heard from the boy was about a place on top of a hill where tall furry creatures hopped around with their babies in their pouches and gigantic rodents ran wild. He told her about the dogs that lived there but preferred to live outdoors and without a master. The girl knew that when she made her long journey to the other side of the world, she must visit this place.
In September 2009, she did. She went to Cleland Wildlife Park.
The Australian boy and the American girl started at Waterfall Gully
and walked up from there. It was a very long and a steep walk, but they knew they made it when they saw little animals hopping on the other side of the fence.
When they got inside the park, the American girl saw her first Tasmanian Devil.
She was saddened to hear that many of them were dying from cancer.
Then she saw the wild dog, called a dingo, that the boy told her about. It was sleeping.
She also met a large rodent. It was very friendly. It may have been a potoroo or a bandicoot.
The boy and girl then met the tall and furry animals with the pouches. One of these creatures really loved the food in the bag that the girl and boy bought at the front gate.
The gray kangaroo tried to steal the brown paper bag out of her hands. The girl thought it was very comical.
After the American girl had her laughs, the native boy wanted to feed the funny marsupial.
The little creature held on tight with both hands while he ate.
This photo became of favorite of the girl.
The girl loved her playful little 'roo.
Not all of the kangaroos wanted to play.
Some of the kangaroos were not hungry.
The American girl did not want to leave the kangaroo enclosure, the the Australian boy told her that they had to leave. They spent a lot of time there, and there was so much more to see!
There were emus.
There were wallabies. The girl learned that they were little kangaroos.
The girl saw a foot sticking out of a wallaby pouch! The stories of the babies in the pouches were true!
There was even more to see, but the rain began to fall from the sky. The girl and boy were very cold. They knew it was time for them to go, but they knew they would be back.
The American girl told her mother and father of her adventures in her letters. After a while, they also took the trip to this mythical land of hopping, pouched creatures.
Once again, they fed the kangaroos.
They met an old and serene koala bear.
They saw the pelicans that the American girl often saw when walking along the river.
There were many birds there. When the American girl tried to feed the duck below, it walked right up to her and bit her on the leg. Everybody, including the girl, responded with shrill laughter.
The American girl loved her duck bite. She did not want her little wound to heal. She wanted it to stay there forever so that it could always remind her of this magical place. Plus, she knew that her duck bite would make good stories.
Day after day, the American girl dreams of this place. She is glad that she was able to tell the story of the place called Cleland, and she hopes that all of you will go there one day.
What do I need for improvement?
- I need to use my real camera instead of my iPhone camera.
- I have to be more comfortable taking photos of food dishes and with people. Often, when I go out to dinner, I don't want to draw attention to myself by photographing all of my food. I know that other bloggers have this issue when they first start out, but I need to get better about that. It won't happen overnight, but I think it could be a work in progress.
- I need a new camera. I also need to get a new laptop. Those things also will not happen overnight. Both of these things cost a lot of money.
With that said, I did manage to snap one photo of my dinner at Guacho's
from Saturday night. As expected, I used my iPhone. Not surprisingly, the photo turned out terrible.
Don't let the bad photo fool you, though! This dish was divine. Guacho's is an Argentinian steakhouse, and you can't get a steak there under 350 grams. Basically, you can't get anything other than a monster portion. I wanted to try some of this meat that everybody in Adelaide raves about, but I knew that I couldn't come close to finishing a real steak. Instead, I ordered the Pinchitos:
Skewers of yearling beef, zucchini and Spanish onion with a saffron, sundried olive and roasted capsicum couscous
Yum. My friend Claire and I got the same dish, and we both could only finish one of our skewers. We should have shared, right? I'm not much of a red meat eater, but I'll have it every once in a while (living with Penny and Jamie, I eat it almost every night). I prefer chicken or a nice fish such as salmon over red meat, but I knew that I had to get Guacho's specialty. I would have preferred to have my meat a little more well done (I'm learning), but I still enjoyed it very much. I'd definitely order it again. If I had someone to share it with, that would be a bonus! The couscous was also great on the side, but Claire and I agreed that it was too salty. I make couscous all the time, but I never put salt in it. Oh well.
As for the boys, Al and his friend Duncan ordered steaks. They cleared everything on their plate, and they ate our second skewers. I guess the food was worth feeling violently full afterwards. Thank you to Guacho's and to Al's previous employers!
In other news, I hear that parts of the US (including Chicago) are facing some terrible blizzards. Queensland is also bracing for some wild weather. This time, it's a cyclone. How incredibly sad. As if Australia- Queensland especially -needs to be hit with any more storms.
Well, all of you stay safe! Don't go out if you don't have to.
Of course, if you need to get out of the bad weather, come to Adelaide! It's beautiful here.