Pamela has made it to Adelaide


Instalments one and two.

Day 6: Glenelg, Adelaide

I’m currently holed up in a motel in the Adelaide beach-side suburb of Glenelg. Kind of like Perth’s Fremantle without the hippies, or perhaps Melbourne’s St Kilda minus the cool. Sleeping 300m from an ocean beach is my idea of heaven, but turned into hell yesterday when the stench of 500 rotting carp dead in a nearby waterway wafted over the area. A cool breezy change is helping clear the air, and not a moment too soon.

I’ve spent the past couple of days in at the State Library of South Australia and the Royal Geographical Society of South Australia looking through albums of photographs from early exploration parties through central Australia. Exhausting work (no, really, it is!) and I’m already over it. It could, however, be much worse – the guy next to me in the library reading room appeared to be attempting to reconstruct a cricket test match from 1937.

Eating these past few days has been non-remarkable, partly because of fiscal restraint on my part, partly because of lack of inspiration. Restaurants abound in Glenelg, but most are over-priced Australian-fusion fare. But this morning’s breakfast at a café in Henley Beach was fantastic: creamy scrambled eggs with a side of warm smoked salmon tossed in baby rocket and served with perfectly browned toast and great coffee. I sat and ate as I watched a group of teenagers haul themselves out of a rough sea at the end of a 2km ocean swim. I had driven north to Henley this morning hoping to attach myself to an informal training swim held by the local Aussie Masters club, but took one look at the churning sea and thought better of it. I think I’ve a way to go before I’ll be swimming the 20km Freo to Rottnest.

During my meanderings through the archives I came across the following entry in an account of a government expedition into Ngaanyatjarra country in 1903. It was written by a young Herbert Basedow, whose life’s work was recently celebrated in an exhibition at the National Library of Australia. This one goes out to all my fellow photographers, who know as well as I do what a pain in the arse we can be:

“After I had spent some time with the natives and taken several photos, an old man gave me to understand that my presence was no longer required. In fact, he actually turned me round to face our camp and gave me a slight shove towards it.”

For those of you who have no idea where Ngaanyatjarra country is, here is a link to a map of the area that familiars call “the Lands”.

Given my pre-occupation with the library this week, the only photo I have for this post is of a gem I picked up in amongst shelves crammed crocheted footy earrings, decorated jewellery boxes and jars of tomato chutney in a little craft shop in Waikerie. The name of the shop, “The Cobweb”, doesn’t exactly in still a sense of confidence in the freshness of their products, but this jar of fig jam was clearly made with love. A lot of love. I’m looking forward to sharing it with Edwina, who will be hosting me during my stay at Warakurna community. Being a good country girl from Hay, she is herself a great enthusiast of the stuff. Thank you, lady number 53A from Waikerie, we will enjoy it.


7 thoughts on “Pamela has made it to Adelaide

  1. I love the scrawly handwriting on the label … some old blind bat probably, bless! So love fig jam, nom nom nom.

  2. When staying in Glenelg, I decided the the cafe on Mosely St, near the corner of Jetty Rd, was the go for coffee. I think it had a blue sign, but I can’t remember what it was called. It was near the second hand book shop and the bus stop. The food was ok too, and the staff were nice.

  3. Adelaide has some fabulous food but you need time, transport and food guides to find it, and your Adelaide-visiting timing is awful as you will have discovered by now, because there is a stupid car race on and half the city is being blocked off and held to ransom. But I would recommend at least one mooching trip to the Central Market, at least one Thursday/Friday/Saturday night on Gouger St (the Wah Hing, T-Chow, Stanley’s Fish Cafe and/or Mezes all have good food and are okay if watching pennies), and lunch at the Food Business in the eastern suburbs if you can splurge once and if you can manage to get across town around the temporary race track.

    Or, if there are a few spare pennies, try Enoteca in Carrington St in the city, or the European Cafe on Norwood Parade, or go back to Henley Square and have a Greek dinner at Estia. Tell them you’re a food writer and ask if someone would show you the wine cellar. Unfortunately the really great Adders cuisine experiences are mostly down in the Southern Vales — the Salopian Inn and d’Arry’s Verandah near McLaren Vale, and the Star of Greece in Port Willunga.

    • Super tips, thank you. I’ve had a few local wins in Glenelg this week – have discovered smooth strong coffee at Europa by the Bay, prepared by an equally smooth barista. And then mid-week, just when I was contemplating staying in for another tin of beans, I found THE BEST PIZZA IN THE WORLD at “The Good Life”, an organic pizza restaurant on Moseley street, upstairs, with a great balcony overlooking all the shenanigans below. And the service was ace – as a regular solo diner, I was most impressed when the waitress offered me, unsolicited, something to read. Oh, and mooched my way around the markets tonight. Lovely, despite the city being full of (cheerful) petrol heads.

      By the way, do you reckon I can get away with calling myself a “food writer” yet?

    • Just as well steak is not on the menu then! I’m pretty sure there is some kind of relationship between latitude and meat consumption in this country i.e. the further north you go, the more enthusiastic the carnivores. I’m leaving for Alice tomorrow, and expect my meat intake to increase dramatically over the next little while, so I’m opting for veggo wherever I can. Even pizza: “swiss brown mushrooms marinated in organic garlic thyme, balsamic vinegar with an organic lemon aioli garnish.” It was almost perfect (did need a little more salt).

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