As I go through my daily routine of checking Facebook – which technology has allowed me to continue to do from the other side of the world – I have noticed a trend in notes from my friends back in the good U. S. of A. It seems that every time one of my friends meets an Aussie abroad in America and tells them they have a friend studying in Adelaide – me – the Aussie proceeds to verbally deprecate all over my beloved city. Australia is composed of six states and two territories, and it appears that South Australia, the state I live in, is the whipping boy of all the other states. It is considered, in essence, like the Nebraska of Australia and to be full of farmers and the Outback. Granted, there are certainly farmers in the Outback in SA, but there are so many excitements and sights in this, the Festival State.
Since arriving in Adelaide in February, I got scuba certified, which is heaps cheaper to do here than in California and the coast next to Adelaide is definitely full of splendid aquatic interests. There are sunken ships, small reefs, Leafy Sea Dragons and herds of seals. What the sea by Adelaide loses in excitement for its lack of the incredibly deadly Box Jellyfish, it makes up with the incredibly deadly Blue-Ringed Octopus. Also, excitement can be had in the knowledge there are still sharks everywhere in Oz waters. My scuba instructor even wore a special shark deterrent shield that would electrocute anything it touched and the only thing it did touch was some poor British kid in the face.
Kangaroo Island lies in the sea just south of Adelaide and it is full of, well, kangaroos, but also koalas, wallabies, platypus, goannas and little penguins, just to name a few.
Wine country is just north of Adelaide, which is pretty important because wine is one of the few alcohols Australia actually makes itself. The Barossa Valley produces many, many fine bottles of wine, though students mainly buy goon. A bag of goon, or boxed wine, is the cheapest alcohol you can buy in Oz, about 15 bucks, and one bag can quench the college thirst of at least four people. Generally, you need to mix it with lemonade to make it drinkable, but considering a fifth of any hard liquor is usually about 40 bucks here, that goon starts becoming a wise economic decision after a while.
As for events, Adelaide gets heaps of concerts. As I write this right now I am cursing myself for not buying Dave Matthews tickets to tonight’s show. South Australia is known as the Festival State and during the month of March not a single day passes in Adelaide without events like the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Adelaide Festival of Arts, Film Festival, Clipsal 500 V8 car race or Adelaide Cup Carnival events to distract from classes.
The University of Adelaide is gorgeous and one of the oldest in Oz. It is redbrick and classic like Ivy League colleges on the east coast, and I believe I have previously mentioned the bar located in the middle of campus?
Adelaide also has an exceptional restaurant culture with the most superb dining out of any city in Australia. The shopping and street performers at Rundle Mall mimic the lively atmosphere, but with the easy-going elegance of State Street. The bar scene is awesome and often surprising. For instance, at The Marble Bar, if you beat the bartender at rock, paper, scissors, your drink is free.
In essence, there is so much to do here, yet the beautiful little city is small enough you can run into your friends on a daily basis. The people are so sociable and approachable that making friends here is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, or hitting kangaroos with a car – it happens more than you think! There is nowhere else below the equator I’d rather be.