Adelaide- Day 1

I think the bus tour wore us out because Matthew and I both slept until 10 o'clock the next morning. We had agreed that day 1 in Adelaide would be a rest and recoup day. I had felt the need for such a day and I had also noticed that most backpackers seemed to schedule in rest days each week in between changing cities.  For that reason I think we left most of Adelaide unexplored during this trip.  


I spent the morning catching up on my writing and at noon I called and talked to my parents for an hour on the phone. I caught them up on everything that had happened since leaving Melbourne: the lost clothes, the bus tour, the new friends and our plans for the next few days.


I found it interesting that I had to explain to my parents what the difference between a hostel and a hotel was. I hadn't thought about it but I guess there was no reason for them to know the difference. I told them that from my experience hotels were more luxurious: air conditioning, room service, cleaning services and privacy. Hostels were simple, low-maintenance places that made a great place for young backpackers to rest. There were public kitchens and bathrooms at most hostels and room service was not an option. The hostels were generally clean but it was mostly up to the guests to keep it that way.


One important thing I had learned was that hostels do not provide towels. This had become a problem when I left my towel in the laundry at Jen's. We were still without half of our clothes and my towel was one thing I didn't have. It was quite interesting trying to wash my face and shower without having a towel. I had mostly learned to shake and air dry and then use my dirty shirt as a way to dab my hair. Either way I ended up walking around with soaking wet hair for several hours.


After Matthew made some phone calls we made our way downstairs to reception. I hadn't paid for the room yet and the man on the phone yesterday told me to worry about it when I got there. They had been closed when we arrived the night before so this was our first opportunity.


The man at reception was the same man that I had talked to on the phone the day before. He recognized my name and told us his name was James. James was super helpful. He helped us arrange a bus for Sunday morning to the ferry and also found us a wine tour for Saturday. He printed out our vouchers and even gave us a map of cool things to do while we were in Adelaide.


The wine tour sounded fun but the three things that worried me were the three things that described it: bus, wine and beautiful windy roads. I decided to grin and bear it, worrying about it later.


When we got done with reception it was 4:30 and Matthew and I were starving. We hadn't ate all day but we didn't want to ruin our dinner. We also had a heated debate about whether it was "dinner" or "supper" but eventually decided in Australia it was “tea.”


We decided on a Greek snack food place. I ordered four individual calamari rings and a bowl of chips. The calamari was fresh and luscious, like it had been caught in the sea that morning.  The chips were thick and crispy.  I almost burnt my tongue on the first bite because they were so hot.  Matthew had four chicken nuggets and a bowl of chips as well.


Halfway through the meal I noticed I never got the glass of water I had asked for. I went inside to find the lady who had took my order but instead found a Greek man who seemed to be a few years older than me. I asked him for tap water but he said they didn't have any. He offered me water out of the sink and I said that was fine as long as it was safe to drink. I had noticed in the non-American world that water only came out of faucets and some of them were safe (assumedly) and others were marked with all caps signs saying, "DO NOT DRINK!"


He laughed and asked if I was from America and when I told him I was indeed from the States he informed me that my water back home wasn't any safer than the water on their tap. I shrugged and he came around the counter and handed me a bottle of water. I was so happy to see a bottle of water I could have kissed him.  He said the bottle of water was on the house since I was American. 


“What part of America are you from?”




“Nice. I have a cousin who lives in Baltimore.”  I found it common that when people knew someone from America it was usually one of the main coastal states like New York or California.  Though it was interesting to hear of people's relations to America, it was almost impossible for me to reply.  I had been to Baltimore once but neither I nor the man speaking to me knew enough about Baltimore to carry on a conversation.  

As the air grew quiet between us I decided to thank him once again for my bottle of water before turning to walk back to my calamari.  As I walked off I overheard him excitedly tell his friend that I was "all the way from America."


After our "afternoon tea" Matthew and I went back to the hostel and found a seat in the lounge area. There was a table next to us full of extremely loud men our age. We listed to their accent and tried to determine their nationality.  They were using their hands a lot and talking loudly.  The tones in their voices went up and down like an accordion playing a lively tune.  Were they French?  It wasn't German, not enough spitting.  We finally agreed they were Italian.  It became quite clear that the hand motions and voice fluctuations were dead giveaways.  They also had pasta in front of them too.  With our surroundings figured it out, it was here that I wrote for another three hours while Matthew assisted me in remembering details.

We went over each day of the bus tour.  What had happened on Day 1?  Who did we meet and how did we meet them?  I had scribbled notes at the end of each day but the details were what always fled my mind.  I would describe a scenario to Matthew and he would chime in with interesting facts he had remembered.  He'd tell me the good stuff I couldn't leave out and he'd also give me pointers on things I probably should leave out.

We talked about my blog and what I would do with all of these writings.  I told him I wanted to keep a clear record of everything we were experiencing in Australia.  I wanted to remember my trip when i was old and forgetful one day.  I also wanted others to be able to read about my journey and feel like they were on it with me.  I wanted to inspire those who were thinking about doing what we were doing and I wanted the people I had met to feel the impression they had made on my life.  

Matthew asked me if I thought I could turn it into a book and I said I was afraid that might happen because of how lengthy all of the descriptions were.  He decided it would be a good book and that I could leave the more detailed stuff off the blog so I could have more content for a book.  I thought this was a good idea, especially since I had already written eight pages on just one day of our trip.  

We sat and wrote and remembered for three hours.  Around 9 o'clock I finally called it quits and we made our way upstairs to the balcony outside of our room. There we met an interesting character from Israel. Ethan was traveling the country by car and paid the small fee of $15 per night to use the hostels facilities. He didn't pay full price because he didn't actually sleep in the hostel, he saved money by sleeping in his car.


Ethan had a long, full beard and dark, uncombed, curly hair on top of his head to match.  When Matthew complimented him on his beard he laughed and said he had a theory on beards.  He said his beard made him both trustworthy and crazy. He said people believe anything a bearded man says. One time he told a woman that he killed a bear with his own hands and she believed him. He blamed it on the beard. On the other hand, he said sometimes people assumed he wasn't trustworthy because his beard and hair made him look somewhat homeless.


We laughed at Ethan's jokes and then began discussing Israel. I ashamedly admitted that the only things I knew about Israel were out of the Bible. I had no knowledge of present-day Israel. When I pulled out my map to find the country I looked for several minutes before admitting that I couldn't find it. I was looking for a big chunk of land but what Ethan pointed out was a sliver that wasn't even as big as the name “Israel.” I was shocked.


I asked him a bit about the culture of Israel, mentioning I would like to see the ancient monuments of Christianity. He said Israel was so much more than historic monuments. He highly recommended I look into a city called Tel Aviv. Apparently that is the hip and upcoming place in Israel. He said it was second in the world for tourism destinations.


After a long visit with Ethan I noticed I was severely losing brain power. While Matthew and Ethan talked on about politics, religion and other interesting topics, I caught myself gazing at the mural on the side of the balcony. Swirls of blue and gold painted a whimsical picture of Adelaide.  The colors did remind me of the city surrounding me.  The peculiar style of the art matched the hostel with its bold and unusual style.  A few minutes went by before I realized I had missed whole parts of conversation. I decided I needed to get some sleep so I would be able to get up early the next day.  Afterall, I would need to be well-rested for the wine tour.