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Adelaide, 2008

My flight path down to the airport took me over more cricket pitches than I’ve seen in my life. I was going to like the place, even more so because of its weird half-hour time zone.

Despite thinking that my luggage would allow me no such thing, for the second time I caught a bus downtown, whose first impression of was of a solidly built, grand city. It was like Sydney and not like the dull modernism of Perth. From the CBD, a roundabout taxi route (do cabbies think all visitors are directionless, clueless idiots?) took me to my prebooked B&B.

The Princes Lodge Motel was fantastic – reasonably priced, a huge room and with a fridge. The Australians have that right about hotel facilities. The owner was agreeable and I was a short stroll from North Adelaide, which is about the trendiest part of town. I even forgave the price of my first pint – a good couple of dollars dearer than Perth.

Dinner was at the Archer, a splendid pub on O’Connell Street. Then one of the subsequent bars even had a live band – not the most impressive act: the drummer hardly showed the enthusiasm of the Muppets’ Animal. But after a couple more pints I enjoyed them and the company of two local ladies at my table. I could have stayed a while but the next day my campervan and the real start of the trek loomed. Thus far had been preamble.

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