I recently spent 5 days in Adelaide, from the evening of Sunday 21 September to Friday 26 September, for Telstra client work. The focus of this article is on my first impressions and general experience of Adelaide, outside of the four days of work.
1. Flight & Arrival
I had elected to fly up on Sunday evening (6pm departure) so that I could at least enjoy one evening before the four days of work. Payment of the flight and hotel was handled by Telstra directly, and I used the internal processes and systems to organise the return flight and hotel accommodation. I settled on a hotel known as Comfort Hotel Riviera, located on North Terrace. The flights were with Qantas, and I was fortunate enough to be able to use 5000 of my frequent flyer points to get an upgrade to business class on the Melbourne – Adelaide flight.
Flying business class, even for the short one-hour flight was fairly uneventful. The seats were roomy and the service was impeccable and attentive. As is the general treatment, the flight crew serving business class passengers have a printout of the passenger names so that they can address us appropriately. As part of the business class experience, the light dinner served came with proper cutlery and plates. Fresh bread was served separately and the meals were packaged so as to minimise the feel of it being mass-produced. Unfortunately, since I had already made dinner plans for later that evening in Adelaide, I chose the tuna salad over the lasagna option, and even then, I barely touched it…
I spent the majority of the flight reading the Qantas magazine and as we approached Adelaide for landing, I took some photos including the one that is featured up the top. I observed that the airport was quite close to residential suburbs and the coast/beach.
2. It’s A Small World After All
Sunday evening flying in I had already arranged to meet up with my fellow cell group leader who had been spending a three-week period also working in Adelaide. She was at the tail end of her stay and that evening when we were both in Adelaide was her last dinner meal in town. She had flown back to Melbourne a week earlier for our friends’ wedding so she had spent two weekends exploring the South Australian surrounds beyond just Adelaide.
She stayed in a serviced apartment in the same western side of the city whereas the hotel I stayed at was in the extreme north-west corner. In between were key parallel east-west running streets where much of the retail and food activity of Adelaide town took place: Hindley, Currie, Waymouth and Grotes Streets. Each day after work I chose a different street to use as my return trip back to the hotel.
Whereas my friend was staying near Chinatown, I ended up avoiding Asian food as much as possible during that week. One place I discovered on Waymouth Street was Melt which was my favourite eat from Adelaide. They served tapas and pizza. Being on my own that night I was sitting at the bar directly in front of the kitchen area so I had a bird’s eye-view of the “performance” that was the cooking and food preparation. As a result of being mesmerized by all the food I ended up ordering two tapas dishes!
The first tapas was a grilled cheese salad and the second a humus dip with mince pork, that came with their own oven-baked bread. Combined it made for a nice meal to celebrate the end of my short stay in Adelaide.
The other small world story involved a third member of our same cell group – for some reason God allowed the three of us to cross paths during my time in Adelaide… This other cell member was visiting Adelaide for two days to celebrate his mother’s graduation from one of the local universities based in Adelaide. The story that was later explained to us was that he and his family were driving across town after the graduation ceremony to dinner. They were second in a queue of cars at the traffic intersection whereas I was a pedestrian waiting to cross their road. We both remember the presence of a cop car, which was why I did not cross the road without a green pedestrian light, and also why my friend did not wind down the window to call out to me. It was only moments later, after I can crossed the road that I received the instant message that my friend had seen me.
The post was made on our cell group chat so everyone knew what was happening. My reaction was simply “Where? Where? Where are you hiding? And how did I not see him?” The others back in Melbourne tried to spook me in their replies but I was not spooked in the slightest. Partly, having spent the time in Adelaide on my own the fact that I had been seen by a familiar face was a source of joy for me, no matter how creepy it could have been.
In this way, whilst the first meeting with my friend was planned and a known certainty, this second instance was completely unplanned and, for us believers, a work of God. As partly explained above, perhaps it was a sign from God for me to remind me of His presence around me. During my time in Adelaide, safety was a slight concern only in that whilst exploring the streets of a new town I would not want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, as the week unfolded, and as I constantly prayed to God for His protection, I was able to enjoy the opportunity to be somewhere new and unfamiliar.
3. Overall impressions
The stay in Adelaide was purely for work. Whilst I have extended family in Adelaide and know a few people living there, I did not have the time to visit them or to see much of Adelaide. My time there, outside of work enabled me to explore one-quarter of the city but not much else. As I understand Adelaide, there is much more to be seen in the hills and outside – places like the Barossa Valley.
The thing about visiting places like Adelaide when one is Melbourne based is that when considering where to visit, given the effort of flying in the first place, other places further afield become more appealing. However, now that work has sent me to Adelaide, it was a good first time experience.