Thursday, February 14, 2008

Canberra and Adelaide

It's been such a mad whirl that it's been difficult to note down stuff and figure out what can be blogged about and what can't be. But then, that's how it is, and that's how things will stay.

I've made my way across to Bradmantown now, from Canberra - the political capital of the country, and easily the worst centre in the world. I've been to many terrible places around the world - none of them are as tourist-unfriendly as Canberra is. We were there for only two days and though the Manuka Oval is rather beautiful, the city itself is crap. And I'm not even getting into the lack of Internet facilities, which all of Australia is pointless about. In Canberra, all you get is McDonald's shit to eat, because restaurants shut by 1.00pm for lunch and 7.00pm for dinner. Booze shops shut by 7.00pm as well. Taxis don't ply, or answer to phone calls. There are no people on the streets - day or night. It's all a big pile of shit.
But then, as always, the next stop is worth the wait, and Adelaide is quite like that. Quite like the word 'Adelaide' itself, like a beautiful Victorian damsel.

It's green as green can be. Spacious roads. More space than Melbourne, primarily because Adelaide is also a planned city, unlike the more Calcutta-esque Melbourne. They have 'a' tram here as well. Only one straight journey from the centre of the city to the beach out in the outskirts of the city. It plies to and fro. And it's all really convenient. The area around the really small Torrence River is also very beautiful, and some of us spent a nice lazy afternoon sleeping on its banks the other day.
But the big deal about Adelaide is, of course, Donald Bradman. And it's fascinating to note how the people of the city feel about the greatest batsman in the world. But first, let me tell everyone that I visited Bradman's house at #2, Kensington Avenue. I also visited the Bradman Museum around the centre of the city. And there are little bits of Bradman scattered around the streets in the form of statues and little plaques and the at the Adelaide Oval, which is worth signing paeans about forever - it's so incredibly stunning. Beautiful. Really beautiful.

Anyway, people here hate Bradman. John Tiles, the taxi driver, told us about 'that bastard' who would report little kids who made a noise returning home from school. A member of the Adelaide/South Australian cricket community told us about how Bradman was the worst cricket chief Australia ever had, and how he forced many good cricketers to leave the game, because he refused to spend a cent on anything. People bitch about the cricket legend's miserly ways. Neighbours bitch about Bradman's grandchildren scrapping over his estate. In essence, Bradman is not a liked man. Another man I met on the road told me, "Oh he could bat, couldn't he? But he was a nasty piece of work. Not one nice bone in his body."

That's that then - but he's The Don, isn't he?

Anyway - more about Adelaide as we spend a bit more time here...