Our last visit to Adelaide was probably about 12 years ago and I remember feeling distinctly unimpressed with it. Maybe we just had a handful of unrepresentative moments but it sure felt like redneck wonderland at the time and I was in no rush to come back. Thankfully this visit was a much happier experience and now I am keen to return!! After only 3 nights in South Australia's capital, I suppose I should be.
Sunday morning we had planned to catch public transport into the rally but were too busy washing and so on, and ended up needing to bring the car. Paul dropped the boys and I to the rally then went to find a park. On arrival we spotted a few frank slogans on T-shirts that we thought perhaps the kids didn't need to add to their vocabs! Sascha fairly quickly realised that he needn't mention a certain word used on the T-shirts again, from our vigorous shushing reaction when he casually mentioned what he had seen to Paul! Aah! Life as school, eh! You never know what lesson is going to be served up on a given day!! We certainly all enjoyed the planned lessons of the day! Hearing firefighters, meteorologists and pollies telling it like it is and motivating change was all more inspiring than I expected. And the big kids really enjoyed it also, in spite of the heat.
Aside from hearing the speakers, chanting a few slogans for the media and signing a few petitions, it was great to see real grass roots change happening and get to put my money where my mouth is. The highlight for me was finding CORENA (Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia). I had often ranted to Paul, "I care so much about renewable energy as a way to decrease our carbon footprint. I bought Green Energy initially when that was my only option, then converted to our solar panels on our roof. I've got a garden, recycle my waste and there are only so many lightbulbs one can change! Now I wish there was something more that I could do! If there was some way to donate to help others do the same or to build a big solar themal plant I would do it. We can't waiting for top down change on this one". Etc etc. And now there is CORENA! Check it out. It feels good to be doing something positive again!
(PS I do not miss the irony of the carbon expense of this year. I will be offsetting for some time to come, to pay it back, and planting plenty of trees as penance! And our car is as fuel efficient for its price, and required size, as possible. Statement authorised by Paul Tenorio, Cardiff Heights)
While on a greenie rant, I must share a little insight that I learned about myself on this trip. I have always had a bit of a city girl's dream of the country life and there have been plenty of sweet places we have visited, where I have thought "We could really live here". I discovered along the road that no matter how far afield we go, our future home must always be in a place with some sort of recycling!! Initially, I used to try to keep it all till the next place that recycled, but as time went on our caravan shower filled up with recycling and the whole van started to smell like a tip. I just had to learn to chuck food, paper, tin cans and plastic etc all into a hole in the ground. Places such as Kununurra, which steadfastly refuse to introduce any type of recycling "as it will make the rates go up" helped me to learn how far, literally and figuratively, I was willing to move.
We ate at a funky little Mexican fast food place called Zamberos where the food was fresh and organic, and the ethos admirable. We came back for more of that the next day also, visiting another branch in the chain!! The Art Gallery was OK but we skipped out of that fairly promptly after a PR incident that just kept escalating. The lady at the front desk when we arrived said I could check my backpack in at the front or at the back of the museum, as there was two cloakrooms. This seemed like a boon so I thought I would keep it til the back one. Unfortunately, no one informed the zealous gallery staff that the lady at the front was encouraging visitors to utilise the back cloakroom and I was pulled up by one after another for various misdeeds with the bag. The first one saying I should have checked it in at the front and me stating I was told I could do it at the back. She then begrudgingly conceeded that it would be okay to carry it to the back of the gallery but I must carry it on my front. The next woman said I definitely couldn't carry it on my front. I had to carry it in my hand but I shouldn't have had it at all. I should have checked it in at the front! Feeling like a naughty child by then we retreated to the kids art/play area for some therapy and headed to the museum as soon as our misplaced guilt and anger eased! It was annoying, as it is hard enough to get our kids to walk into a gallery at all. These sort of setbacks don't do much to rebalance the art vs science ledger in our family.
A brief city based visit was balanced by an equally brief visit to the surrounding, foodie countryside: the Adelaide Hills. Much like with the Margaret River region, we were pleasantly surprised how much it matched up to the hype. We were to drive by Hahndorf but I felt compelled to make an early stop into our days driving and soak up its touristy German goodness. The bratwursts we ate were unfortunately not that great but we still enjoyed ourselves, and the history and architecture of the place. It was tough choosing which place to eat at and unfortunately we just chose wrong! We'll do better next time... and take more time. We had rushed to get into SA and we had to rush out again, to get to Sydney for Paul's work starting in early December. Our SA "sampler" was enough to bring us back. Just when, will be the issue.