Our overnight bus ride from Melbourne actually wasn't too bad. Seats were more comfortable than a plane, for sure. We boarded about 8:30 pm and were entertained by our jocular Aussie driver. He put on the most inappropriate movie I've ever seen for a mixed age group. Rob and I glanced at each other in astonished amusement at the innuendo-laden film about a man who switches his semen for the sperm of his not quite girlfriend. Hopefully, a lot of it went over the heads of all the kids on board. At midnight, our driver switched off the lights ant told everyone to get off their phones and go to sleep. We arrived, bleary-eyed, into Adelaide station at about 6 am. Although I still mourn the loss of our planned Great Ocean Road tour, I have to admit that that was the most comfortable bus I've ever ridden.
Upon our groggy exit from the bus, we catch a taxi to our Bed and Breakfast. Our kind hostess, Suzanne, is unfazed by our arrival a day early due to the auto debacle and welcomes us warmly. I get Rob ensconced into bed where he can continue to recoup, while I go into the city of Adelaide with Suzanne. She drops me off at a huge collection of shops and eateries called the Adelaide Market and promises to pick me up in a few hours.
I have a great time souvenir shopping. (Alas, I must control myself as the weight we can carry on the plane home is strictly controlled.) I come across a booth announcing "Chinese Massage." With plenty of time to kill, I sign up for foot Reflexology, which I've always wanted to try. Although most of the massages are being given by young Chinese women, my choice of reflexology earns me the attentions of a wizened Chinese crone, with gimlet eyes and hands of steel. I tell her I have plantar fasciitis and my heels hurt. She crushes my big toe with skeletal fingers that feel like pliers and mutters, "Bladder very bad. I fix." She then prepares a foot bath and drops in a handful of brown powder. I put my feet in as directed and she mumbles. "You soak. Good for bladder." As my feet soak, she begins kneading my neck and shoulders with a backhoe, at least, that's what it feels like. I roll my eyes and clamp my mouth shut as my muscles quiver in surrender for 20 painfully ecstatic minutes. She then removes my feet from the cooling bath, dries them, and begins. My heels ache and long to be squeezed. She never touches them. Instead, she grimly attempts to dislocate each toe with her fossilized knuckles then goes on to attack my metatarsals so fiercely that I have to stuff my sweatshirt in my mouth to keep from screaming. With a last satisfied subluxation of my ankles. She leaves me to my trembling recovery. The funny thing is, my heels haven't hurt since. (Maybe they're afraid to.). And my bladder feels fine too.
|Down Under Foot Bath|
|Amazing Souvenir Choices|
Back at the B and B, Suzanne fixes us the best, the only roast leg of lamb I have ever enjoyed. She insists that Australian lamb is different, since it's 100% grass fed, and I believe her. Americans, she proceeds to tell us sternly, do not know how to go on holiday. Only 10% of Americans, she continues, have a passport; and only 15% of those actually travel internationally. I have heard the same sorts of things from our tour bus guides, who complain that they see few Americans on their tours. She goes on to deplore the lack of paid vacation for American workers, pointing out that 4 weeks paid vacation is a minimum for an Australian worker. Can't argue with her there.
The next day we decide to visit the German town of Hahndorf. I can't resist the kangaroo hide slippers, and they're really great for the freezing cold floors of our B and B. (Suzanne might be termed a bit of a health nut — making fabulous meals from scratch and keeping the house to a lung-bracing arctic chill. (She keeps an electric blanket and a space heater available for those of us with weaker constitutions, however.
The next day is our first time attempting to navigate the Australian bus system and we make it back in one- well, two- pieces. That evening, Suzanne is hosting a jewelry party and I am invited. Rob is, of course, appalled at the amount of blatant estrogen in the room and burrows under the electric blanket without delay. The saleswoman arrives and begins to peddle a variety of handbags, scarves, and jewelry while Suzanne plies us with upside down pear ginger cake. I am tutored in some of the more bewildering fashion terminology such as jumper (sweater- but not a cardigan,) wind cheater (sweatshirt) cardie (cardigan sweater,) cossie (swimsuit) and so on. When in doubt, I decide, shorten the name and add -ie. I buy a scarf and a handbag. My suitcase is beginning to bulge.
At the party, I find out that tomorrow is the beginning of the Royal Adelaide Show, which sounds rather like the Puyallup Fair, and that the weather is expected to be good. Our plans are thus made for our final day in Adelaide.
When we get up, our host has left a note saying she's flown to Sydney for the day. After some consultation of the bus schedules, we figure out how to get to the city center then, with some asking around, on to the Royal Adelaide Show. It's a lot like one of our fairs, with livestock and rides and fried foods, but there's also a top notch horse show and flat racing and a benched dog show. Everything in one! Dog shows are similar to home, except that ours are almost never benched anymore. The stadium jumping is first rate. The poultry are very different from what we would see. The bantams are all really big and the silkies appear to be large fowl. They must be breeding to a completely different standard as I saw no bantams that would be show quality in the U.S.
|Benched Dog - He seems OK with it|
|Our kind of show|
|Southern Hemispheric Polish|
Returning to the B and B requires a lot more effort. I ask quite a few people for directions to this street or that stop before we get where we're going and, every time, Rob fumes a little more. What IS IT with men asking for directions? When he finally explodes it's to snarl, "I can't believe your only plan was to ASK people how to get there!! Now you've taken all my glory!" (And they say women are illogical.) Tomorrow, the train!
|Stay Tuned for the Next Exciting Episode!|
**Travels with Spencer**
|Spencer with woven owls|
|Spencer loves a fair!|
|And, anything at a track!|
|Feed Spencer a Waffle!|