Adelaide, Australia.

Arrived in town this morning on the overnight train. The train ride was pleasant enough and we both got at least a few hours of sleep.

Adelaide is hot, at least 100 today as it has been for about 2 weeks. There is not a cloud in the sky. And this is on the cooler coast! There goes our hopes for a white Christmas.

Adelaide is also much more laid back than Melbourne. Although Adelaide is a city of over a million souls, it seems just like a sleepy rural hub. Melbourne was an interesting city. We had a few observations: I’m not sure if this is indicative of Australian culture in general or Melbourne in particular but there is a tacky streak that produces some pretty funny results: belly shirts and skimpy tops on most of the girls (even those who shouldn’t), hawkers with megaphones outside many stores, short shorts, drunken louts, and screaming fools on cell phones. Also, on the morning TV programs they switch seemlessly from news to infomercial (it happens so fast you don’t realize it). In short, it all seems very American. Especially in comparison to New Zealanders, who always seemed to be on their best behavior (I think they are waiting for the Queen to arrive and declare them a part of the United Kingdom).

We are staying in a suite with kitchen for 5 days over Christmas; we are going to do some cooking and try not to move around too much. Maybe we’ll spend Christmas on the beach. Cheryl has sworn off the beach in Australia due to the fear of the alarming array of dangerous sea animals: poisonous box jellyfish, poisonous blue-tipped octopus, 8 varieties of poisonous sea snakes, poisionous snail (!), dozens of shark varieties, and crocodiles, oh my! I can’t say as I blame her; although she seems insistant on my taking out an insurance policy.

We are already missing the fantastic Queen Victoria market in Melbourne. The market had a fantastic selection of fruits, veges (as they say here), meats and seafood. Although we couldn’t buy anything to take with us, we enjoyed a delicious grilled bratwurst on fresh bread. So far the food has been much better in Australia than New Zealand. At least you don’t have to salt everything. The New Zealanders hate salt for some reason.