I know: it’s autumn in Australia. This means the swimming season is over. I got that. I even believed it when I got to the beach in Perth too late to take a dip in the Indian ocean. Too late in the day, I mean, and not too late in the year. The ocean was warm, but it was sunset time and windy. So I skipped swimming that day, although the waves looked wonderful. The mother part of me prevailed – what if I got sick on the second day on my GUFF trip in Australia? Sometimes I am sensible.
St. Kilda’s was also warm enough to swim in. That was my own fault: I had planned to go on an Aboriginal walk that day and it was cancelled. St Kilda’s was a consolation thing, of sorts, and I just forgot the bathing suit. The library and the Vege out community garden made me forget all about the swimming, though.
Since everybody told me Canberra would be cold and there are so many things to see and in Sydney, I figured Adelaide was my only chance. When I exited the airport building, it was warm and it smelled like the coast back home. A warm breeze carried the taste of salt in the evening air, so five minutes after landing I knew what I wanted to do on my first day in Adelaide: go swimming in the ocean.
Semaphore beach was awesome. My guide for the day was former GUFF laureate Roman Orszanski whom I had met at the MSFC meeting last Friday. He took me for a walk around Melbourne last Saturday so I knew I was in for a lovely day. We took the tram to the Railway station and Semaphore beach was some half an hour away by train and then a mile or so on foot.
Apparently, there used to be a tram line directly to the beach but at some point it was very unfashionable in Australia to have trams. So they got rid of them. This is why Adelaide has only one tram line today. Melbourne trams however, and this is story Roman told me when he was taking me around Melbourne last week, escaped this fate with a bit of luck.
An old (and stubborn) brigadier general, Sir Robert Joseph Henry Risson was Chairman of the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board from 1949 to 1970 when the media and the public insisted on replacing trams with buses. He would not budge and he would not give up the trams. As he was old it was decided that it might be best to simply wait him out. By the time he was no longer there to defend the trams, the urge to pull them out had also gone.
I had a wonderful time. The ocean was warm enough to swim, cold enough to be refreshing in the 31C heat. I loved it. Even if I did not get to it on a tram.
After lunch we went to a lovely vegetarian cafe Sarah’s Sister’s Sustaiable Cafe for some desert. The decor was very Australian – old, batter and utterly charming. With an especially interesting ceiling. There are some pics here.