Port Adelaide: home of tumbleweed

The Port Adelaide Derive Top Five:

1. It’s a sea shanty kind of town; if there were people to sing them! It’s got potential. It’s obviously an industrial area and one of the deep sea ports of Australia (think Melbourne Docklands, Wollongong, Newcastle etc). Unlike places like Newie, there’s still the essence of the sea; narrow cobble stone streets, with terraces on either side; colonial shops covered with wide traditional Australian verandahs and (most importantly) pubs on every corner. At 2pm on a Saturday, the key component to this scene that was missing, was people.

No one. The pubs were empty, the streets were empty, and the whole place felt more ‘The Legend of Old Gregg’ than ‘Doc Martin’. For a place that is a hub of scientific research for aquaculture, it was pretty dead. Saturday afternoon sessions at the pub obviously don’t go down a treat with the locals.

2. There’s More Fun For Signalling Engineers than Library Students. There’s a railway museum, but the lack of atmosphere (more likely lack of lively pub atmosphere) had Ross doing the unthinkable and bypassing this mecca for trainspotters. In all honestly, the only reason I’ve mentioned the trains is due to the fact we technically spent more time waiting at the station for them than actually exploring Port Adelaide. Half an hour after arriving, we turned back; only to discover the reality of public transport in Adelaide: there is none. Message to all in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane who complain about public transport: yours might be a bit late, or a bit cramped, but it turns up. Down here, there’s an average wait of an hour between buses and trains, and sometimes they don’t even bother on the weekends. For a couple who balk at driving everywhere, it means long walks or long waits. (I didn’t mention Newcastle because I’m fairly it’s another area that still thinks public transport means ‘BYO car’).  Anywhoo, insert generic photo of deserted railway line here:

3. Count Duckula Reigns Supreme. Silly mention here, but a highlight of the trip was discovering Count Duckula in the local Vinnies. He now resides in City East, and has spawned many Youtube viewings of old episodes. If this is all I get from Port Adelaide, it’s a pretty fair swap. At $4, I think the duckman makes the trip worthwhile! He has also started another great pastime, commonly known as The Worst Ornament Ever/Dodgy Toy Project

4. After Port Adelaide Comes the Wine. Back in the city, Ross and I took the long way home and discovered we live amongst a veritable smorgasbord of gastro-pubs and bars. The Saracens in Carrington Street has a woodfire pizza oven in the courtyard that is fired up daily; you can have your food cooked by a chef surrounded by vine leaves and cobble stones; The Crown& Sceptre on Pultney St is a retro pub with a 50s influence and young crowd; and the Kings Head on Pultney is the only ‘South Australian only’ bar in Adelaide: everything is local, including beers and ingredients and you won’t find anything from the other states. Sounds parochial, but the bar sells beers and wines that you can’t find anywhere else, with food made from local produce and farms, supporting their farmers and graziers. It’s a nice idea that pubs in other states should get behind.
5. Football is Life, and Seating is Negotiable. I did something completely unimaginable on Saturday night. I went to an AFL game. It was the local derby (‘showdown’ to the locals, which sounds ridiculous considering every game is technically a showdown of sorts), and I’ve always had a soft spot for the Crows; they were the first team I ever watched in a game on tv, and they went on to win the premiership the year I actually bothered to attempt to understand it. We discovered that a group of Port Adelaide Power fans had taken over the entire row of seats, including ours, and after being told that ‘we always sit here, every game’ the traditions, superstitions and bizarre attitudes of AFL tragics became clear. It didn’t matter that we’d paid for the seats that they occupied; flat out defiance by a group of determined and slightly scary looking fans meant we would not be sitting there. This was a heated game; the rivalry between the clubs was fierce, and these women in our seats probably would have come after us if they’d lost.  They didn’t, but my interest in AFL, although fleeting, was: two hours of football and I understood about 10mins worth. This is one are of the local culture I’m happy to let slide.

Apologies for the lack of interesting content this week; we’re in Thailand next week so la Dérive will be going to South East Asia for a week!

Pub of the week:http://www.thekingsbardining.com/Fabulous pub with local beers, wine and produce, and switched on staff who are happy to give you a background on any of the suppliers.

Website of the week:www.pir.sa.gov.auThe homepage of the Department of Primary Industries and Resources, who are my new employer! Information on mining, agriculture, viticulture, biodiversity and biosecurity and aquaculture in South Australia. Check this out for quarantine info too: no fruit!!!

Wine of the week: http://www.rookerywines.com.au The Rookery 2008 Zinfandel. Grown on Kangaroo Island, Zinfandel is one of the rarest grapes in Australia. A younger, floral red. 

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