Before the Fringe — Adelaide

Objectively speaking I should like the Adelaide cruise terminal less well than the White Bay terminal in Sydney.  It is at outer Harbor, which is further from downtown Adelaide than White Bay is from Sydney.  There is no shuttle bus, you have to pay for the train and it takes twice as long to get anywhere.  OK the golf course is within walking distance but a at 103 Fahrenheit who is playing golf?  Ok, so the humidity is low but still.

Despite all of this the Adelaide terminal leaves a much better impression.  An Aussie folk group (that sounds pretty Irish) greets you as you get off.  There are lots of people with maps and a lot of local knowledge.  They greet you, ask where you are from and make you feel welcome (mate).  At the train station there is an extra kiosk selling tickets, and you can get mass transit day or two day passes right there that carry you all over Adelaide and suburbs.  It was just a much different feel. 

Another reason that the Adelaide Terminal leaves a good impression is the beautiful sunrises you see from the ship when it is docked and the different colors of water sailing in.  Sailing into Adelaide is not like sailing past the Sydney Opera House or under the Coat Hanger bridge, but it is still pretty nice.

On the train ride to town in a group of, what looks like middle school kids in uniform got on the train.  School here starts on February 1.  There Is a 6 week summer break from Dec 16 to Feb 1.  Two girls walk up to two older passengers off the ship and one says ‘Hi guys, how ya doin’?  Are you off the ship?  What one is it?  Oh a ‘dam’ ship, mum and dad took me on one of those once.  I loved it.  Welcome hope you love Adelaide.”  No stranger danger here.

On the ride in you pass cottages with wide verandahs with lots of shade.  Adelaide is hot and dry, the wind coming off the desert inland.  Before air conditioning these verandahs would have been a real asset.  I guess they still are in the shoulder season.

Our last time here we arrived during the Adelaide Fringe Festival.  It is the largest fringe in the Southern Hemisphere.  This time the festival starts the day after we leave.  There are lots of posters and in the parks we watched the pavilions going up.  The local press is warning that the fringe could become a viral super spreader and is urging hand washing, mask wearing and general caution.  But this looks like a town ready to party.

We got off the train and took a Tram to Victoria Square where the preview of the Cirque performance was lining up, and walked along the streets past other venues giving preview performances to The Mill, an artist’s center with 30 working artists studios, rehearsal space and a black box theatre.  They run workshops and residencies all year but shine during the fringe rotating 10 different performances throughout the festival, sometimes three back to back, including music, stand-up, improv and short plays.  “The Mill” Is a proper title.   They advertise “The Mill is a permanent venue, not a pop-up.”

I went online and found a few of the fringe events previewing before the event so got tickets to one of them “Table for Two?” an improv piece where Will Tredinnick plays the waiter, chef and owner of a restaurant that is having its “Grand re-opening.” And of course, everything goes wrong.  Suzi and I know not to sit in the front row at an improv performance.  But the woman who was called up was brilliant, throwing the actor as many curves as he threw her.  It was great improv physical comedy recalling Buster Keaton.  At the end the actor said “I don’t know how I’m going to end this except to say this is our first night and thank you for coming.” Sherry, the woman called up from the audience played along so completely that none of the possible endings they had planned really worked, which meant that it was great theater and a lot of fun.

Picture by Suzi McClear

Afterwards we went to Coopers’ Brew Pub with friends from the ship before heading back to the ship on the train to get ready for the next day’s adventure to the Penfolds’ winery. (See separate post.)

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