South East Australia
A shock to see buildings over three storeys. There’re women with severe blond hair and silver jewellery. In a pleasant Adelaide campsite next to the river I wake at seven to the bad-tempered shrieks of cockatoos. I like it. The warm autumnal days and crisp clear nights are perfect.
I attend a small demo against the war outside parliament. Even the organisers can’t hide their disappointment. To add spice to the V8 racing on the other side of town the air force provides some low level fighter jet action. The pilots buzz the demo. The speeches are drowned in noise. It’s tasteless and disheartening.
From Beachport I ride to Bordertown. The south is peppered with these literal settlements. I am enjoying the clean well-organised cities of Australia’s population centre. Melbourne is a well-provided for multi-ethnic city with excellent food and wine. A Mediterranean climate with northern European civic values is about as good as you can get. It’s a fine life they’ve made for themselves down here. It really is veranda beer and barbecue living. They do say :”good on yer”. They don’t say “strewth”.
Backpackers are a very different breed in this land. Mostly English, they just watch TV all day. It’s like a sickness or something. They put it on first thing in the morning. Like they can’t exist without it. Come all the way around the world and watch TV. I mean.
Three weeks of rain conspires to ruin my experience. Life under canvass loses its charm. In Nambuca Heads I return to the campsite after my evening meal to find the tent blown away. Next day I ride to Sydney to say hello, and it responds “give me all your money now”. So I just keep riding. Just three hours in the city I came to Australia for. You do strange things on a motorbike.
Posted by at August 12, 2002 12:15 AM GMT