Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Pigs and Pandas in Adelaide

I ventured to Adelaide in the state of South Australia for the first time for a conference along with a friend who’s working on the same project, and we added on a day on either end for some sightseeing. I enjoyed the city and, as usual, the food and atmosphere in Australia. Everyone was so friendly – I forget what that’s like. At the checkouts people are smiling and saying have a nice day, and seeming like they really mean it. Stuff like this is why I feel this country is more similar to the U.S. than New Zealand. I miss the smiles! 

After a long day of travel connecting through the Melbourne Airport we found the Airbnb south of the city and a nice Italian restaurant to get a good meal. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it was a nice ragu with pork that had been marinating for a minimum of 12 hours and it was quite tasty. 

The next day we did a museum blitz, hitting the South Australia Museum, the MOD (Museum of Discovery), the Centre for Democracy (a small one), and a little bit of the Migration Museum. 

The weather was really nice and many flowers were in bloom, so it was a good day to be out and about (but there are more of those in this country than NZ!).

I really enjoyed the ‘Rundle Mall Pigs’ – four bronze sculptures of friendly-looking pigs on a main pedestrian mall in the center of town. They’re a great landmark for people like me who navigate better with them. And they were such a magnet for kids – they love climbing on them and getting photos taken. There is a lot of cool architecture around the city, too – it’s pleasing to walk around and look at.

My friend hadn’t had a Krispy Kreme doughnut before and I haven’t had one in years so we popped into a shop to get two original ones. Mm – they taste the same and so sugary good and he liked the soft and fluffy inside that makes them so popular. 

I wasn’t a huge fan of the MOD – a new science and technology museum that just opened a few months ago. Their target demographic is young adults but they cut way back on the signage, to the point of minor frustration at times. I get that people don’t want to read, but for those of us who do, it would be nice to have more explanations or at least a QR code so we can use our phones to get more info. I did like the science fictional exhibit asking whether or not you would approve modifications to the heads of a baby in order to give them a better chance at competing in the future. It was thought-provoking and creepy, and definitely something that stays with you. There were also lots of artworks that, if you downloaded an app and held it up to them, would move using augmented reality (AR). It was an interesting idea and perhaps that might become more popular in the future as AR becomes more accessible. We grabbed a sandwich at a cafĂ© before heading back to the MOD for an evening conference reception. They told us about a cool exhibit where you can listen to one of Australia’s oldest trees, and we realized we had missed that one (again, lack of signage!). There were little pods you sit in and above you is a changing light fixture with sounds of trees creaking. 

Epidermal Myostomy (where a new orifice is made to absorb drugs)

Thermal Epidermiplasty (where skin surface area is increased
to enable person to withstand higher temps)

Podiaectomy (where toe is removed to allow for
hookworm parasite, which can reduce allergic responses)

Bibuccalplasty (where cheeks are extended to
allow faster caffeine absorption)

Extension Osteogenesis (where pins are implanted
in nasal bridge to achieve a more rounded face)

After the conference, we checked out the famous Central Markets and found a little Spanish-inspired stand where we got cheese empanadas and a potato dish with pork crackling (very salty). It would be nice to live next to something like that where you could choose from lots of fresh food stalls and a variety of world cuisines all in one place. Like, I don’t think I have seen an African food stall before anywhere else yet, and the one there was packed. We walked through Chinatown on the way back.

The final day we decided to go to the Adelaide Zoo since he hadn’t been to Australia before or seen a lot of the animals that I have at other zoos, and I’m always up for the zoo. They had the only giant pandas in the country and we went to the keeper talk first thing and learned a bunch of interesting stuff about them that I didn’t know before that are really unusual. For example, they only have a 36-hour mating window and the female pandas go through pseudo-pregnancies so it’s really hard to tell when they are actually pregnant. They can also apparently reabsorb an embryo up to two weeks before being due to give birth, so they seem to have a lot of control of their reproductive systems.


After hours of walking around the zoo, we couldn’t help but swing by San Churro Chocolateria, a dessert place I’ve been to on other trips, and get a churro and ice cream dessert during the late lunchtime. Then we went to the National Wine Centre and learned some more about Australian wines. I finished off the day with some honeycomb gelato at Gelatissimo - a last taste of Australia. Thankfully I plan to be going back soon for another conference later this year.