Day 1 – Gaols, Emos and Glenelg

Like the majority of the golden girls trips away we start at “frigging early in the morning”. This is mostly caused by me booking cheap flights but there is also some appeal in leaving the house while it is still dark. It gives the trip a sense of adventure even while being in familiar surroundings while adding the extra benefit of arriving at your destination halfway through the day giving you more time to do stuff. Therefore it wasn’t out of the ordinary when we rocked up at Andrew’s Airport Parking at 5.30am. Andrew’s parking is distinguished by having the kind of 1950s cartoon work normally seen in a Mad comic than on the front of a blue bus driving to the airport. I wonder to myself whether Andrew exists and does he have what Kelly kept calling a comb over but what more knowledgeable hair people would call a “side part”. Thankfully his hair style wasn’t enough of a distraction to stop us from making the plane on time.

So who is on this latest golden girl installment trip to Adelaide? All are seasoned golden girl trippers – in fact 4 are the original golden girls.

Lynne – trip organiser and accountant, keeper of the plane tickets and accommodation bookings, sister of Sue mother of Kelly and Amy. Occupation: Banker. Lynne
Sue – Sister to Lynne, mother of Fiona, aunt to Kelly and Amy. Her role is to provide unintential comedic relief on the trip. Occupation: Energex call centre team leader Sue
Fiona – daughter of Sue, cousin of Amy and Kelly, neice of Lynne. I’m sure you are drawing the family relations dots by now. Occupation: Call centre consultant for Queensland Health Fiona
Pauline – partner to Amy. Not much of a nomad before the first golden girls trip, now a seasoned world traveller. Occupation: Computer technician at the University of Queensland Pauline
Kelly – daughter of Lynne, sister of Amy, you can figure out the rest. Occupation: Assistant at a financial software company Kelly

Adelaide International Airport is one of the newest airports in Australia and it is immediately obvious. A ramp up to the terminus from the plane is illustrated by artwork that has shapes cut out of it. The bathrooms are modern and look they were designed by a qualified designer rather than an architect saving money. There is a coopers alehouse and noodle bar among the usual airport stores, all of which were so appealing I was actually looking forward to the flight home because the airport seemed like so much fun.

$5 each was all it cost to catch an airport bus to our hotel. On the speedy trip there I had my first taste of the famous parks that surround the CBD and was disappointed to realise that they were brown and dusty. I was later informed that this is because Adelaide gets all it’s rain in the winter and since we were arriving at the end of summer all we had to look at was essentially the sahara. I counted approximately 4 churches on the 15 minute bus trip and all 4 were in the final 5 minutes of the journey. In fact we hadn’t even reached our hotel and I had already gotten a sense of Adelaide’s past and future.

One of the first stops for the bus trip was at the Adelaide Central Bus Station. Sounds rather impressive but really all it is is a shed like Brisbane had in the Valley all those years ago before the Roma Street Transit Station. I was surprised to find this capitol city still didn’t have a good bus station until I saw the sign across the road above the construction site that had a picture of the new state of the art bus station. I realised that Adelaide is a city in transition, it’s growing up in the same way Brisbane did in the 1990s.

We were too early to get the key to our rooms at Franklin Central Apartments so we dumped our bags and headed off to the free bus that travels around the CBD. There are two lines, one that heads up King William Street dropping off people at the Rundle mall while the other line does the outer loop in a square. Both lines stop at the tram station to Glenelg so we noted that for later and took the loop to the old Adelaide Gaol. The bus was full but the city was deserted, I guess because not only was it a Sunday but it was also a long weekend for the people of South Australia. The lady bus driver announced all the relevant scenic locations but when she got in a conversation with a guy about bus driving she didn’t realise that the rest of us could hear it. We found out that the buses are easy to drive because they are automatic, you get a short break every 5 hours and she likes her job. The bus doesn’t go past the gaol but she kindly let us off on the corner closest to our destination.

Auntie Sue's new friend Our walk to the old Adelaide Gaol led us through another dusty park where men were playing cricket, across the bridge that lies over the train lines that used to take The Ghan away from the city and around the police barracks where they keep the police horses. For a moment Auntie Sue thought she had made a friend with one of them until we turned and saw a police lady with a handful of fruit. We didn’t go closer because apparently horses can hurt you.

Kelly's mugshotThe old Adelaide Gaol was Mum’s choice as a destination and something I honestly wasn’t that interested in. We’d been to the one in Melbourne that had hung Ned Kelly and also visited Boggo Rd Gaol and Trial Bay so I’d thought I had my fill. This was different somehow though as even though it had closed down in 1988 it was still very much an eighteen hundred type era. It was a poorly designed gaol since it was very easy to get lost in the multitude of structures. Some buildings hid other buildings while other buildings almost caused the financial ruin of the early city of Adelaide. The meet and greet area was 1960s, the Telecom phone booths were 1980s, the cells were 1890s and the toilets were 1970s. They even had a white washed wall for mugshots. I was careful not to touch the walls of the conjugal visit room because you never know what could be on those walls. I found it fascinating and the best gaol I’ve ever visited. It wasn’t spooky even though the lady at the counter claimed there were ghosts but I could’ve found out for myself if I’d stayed the night. You can actually book a room in the gaol which I peeked in on and looked pretty homely. I’ll stay there the next time I visit Adelaide purely for the novelty of it.

Our afternoon at the gaol without eating kind of wore us out a bit so we headed back to the rooms to get settled and have a rest. Pauline and Mum headed off to coles as the hunter gatherers while Kelly and I prepared the lunch when they got back. While everyone else rested I watched some soccer on SBS where I supposedly inhaled loudly whenever a goal was scored according to mum. Around 5 we all got ready to head off to Glenelg.

Glenelg TramThe tram to Glenelg leaves from Victoria Square which was only a short walk around the corner from our hotel in Franklin Street. The tram arrived just as we did so we didn’t have to wait long to head off. It was pretty full – especially with a bunch of emo kids with big suitcases singing loudly at one end of the tram. One girls exploits with her chin stud was enough to scare an 11 year old girl to our end of the tram. Their noise battle with the conductor kept us busy during the 30 minute ride past houses with multiple chimneys as we watched him yell at them for singing while they just continued to be arrogant teenagers. The existence of the emo kids caused some discussion as Mum wanted to know what they were. Once the scenery outside turned to Norfolk Pines we figured we were close to the beach and a few minutes later we were getting out at the end of the line.

Pauline's salami pizzaEarlier in the day when we had toured the city it had been virtually empty and now I understood why as everyone was in Glenelg. The tram drops you right in the middle of a bustling entertainment district with pubs, restaurants and clothing stores everywhere. We were here for dinner but first we took a walk on the jetty to get a view of the suburb from out in the ocean. They call it historic Glenelg but with all the renovations that have just been completed it’s more like trendy Glenelg. There are many medium rise hotels and apartments along the beach and I totally understand the appeal of this suburb now. We headed down the main street to the restaurant I had picked, Good Life Pizza. I’d found out about it on the net and it totally lived up to expectation. All their products are organic and the pizzas are also inventive. We decided we’d share three pizzas but then realised everyone wanted a different flavor so it was decided we’d order our own and try each others if we wanted. I rated them all but my favourite was my own, not for the duck part of it which was great but the amazing smashed tomatoes that were on the base. I haven’t tasted tomatoes like that in a hell of a long time, even now I want one. The salami on Pauline’s pizza was incredible too. The restaurant filled up pretty quickly as it’s obviously not a secret. I love the look of the restaurant which is designed to remind you at every turn that the food is organic – they even leave the flour bags on display.

Buffalo family restaurantAfter filling ourselves with red wine and lemon lime and bitters we searched for the ship that Pauline found on the internet. According to the waitress we had confused temporarily, it was over near the marina which was a short walk away. We welcomed the detour as it meant the exercise would allow us to digest the pizza and allow us to fit in some ice cream for dessert (what diet?). Unfortunately the ship was a bit of an anticlimax as it was essentially an old ship sitting in a centimetre of water moonlighting as a restaurant. We took some back streets past what else but a church to have some ice cream and then we scoffed it down in time to catch the tram back to the hotel.

What happened when we got off the tram can only really be described using a movie script style scenario:
MUM LIFTS THE HOOD FROM HER JACKET OVER HER HEAD AND LOOKS DOWNWARDS HANDS IN POCKETS
Mum: “I’m an emo”
Sue: “What’s a nemo?”
KELLY, FIONA AND AMY LOUDLY GUFFAW, LAUGHING TO THE POINT OF TEARS. JOKES ENSUE
“A fish that cut’s itself and listens to Dashboard Confessional”
With that, our first day in Adelaide ends.

For more photos, check out the Day 1 Photo Gallery.

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