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Published: December 13th 2017
Geo: -34.9258, 138.6
Seeing we are 'knocking round' together 20 years we decided we should do something more than just go for dinner. C. had always wanted to WOMAD in the Engerland and never had. But then we saw in the paper it's on in Adelaide too called WomAdelaide even and as luck would have it on our 20yr. anniversary so it was an omen we had to go.
South Australia is a bit too far to drive to and back for a weekend, so we flew down with Qantas at the crack of dawn on Saturday (well 07:10),cause we got up so early (05:15)we ended up having 3 breakfasts by 9am (normally I have none), one at the airport, one on the plane - who knew airlines still give out free food on internal flights - and one in Rundle Street as surprise surprise (not) we couldn't check into our hotel until afternoon.
Meet a nice English woman on the flight who shared her paper with me and we discussed Michelle Obama's biceps. Read an interesting article about how many Irish are going for Australian visas now, thinking it's the promised land, why I am not sure, there is NO jobs here anymore and adverts often say no non-Australians. Would say there's no point coming if one needs job sponsoring so Permanent Residence, if it's still available, is the way to go but I saw on the news they are capping that soon too. So Promised Land my arse.
Adelaide at 8:50 on a Saturday morning is like a Ghost town! (30 min. time diff. back with Sydney). We got an Indian taxi driver on his 2nd day on the job who drove like a snail, it should have been a 15/20 min journey but took a generous half an hour, good job the streets were empty. We were staying in a funky little boutique hotel called 'Clarion Soho' on Flinders St which was compact and bijoux as an old TV ad used to describe something at home, possibly in Stephen Fry's voice so that'd make it C4 or UTV, anyway it was small but perfectly formed with Italian design house Missoni soft furnishings (one of my partialities so another omen really) and disproportionately priced (but I knew that in advance so no one else to blame there).
We could at least drop our stuff off for the 5 hour wait to check in. So we ambled up town, Adelaide is very easy to navigate and the streets are a grid system. Although some streets change name at intersections while others don't, maybe they didn't have enough names to go around.
Adelaide is a really nice town, with some nice old colonial buildings (even if they do have the highest amount of serial killers as per Dexter ad.) we were there once before in 2005 and did the museum & shops thing, this time mainly was eating & drinking and walking for miles & festival-ing, even the car registration plates informed us that 'SA - The festival State'. Womad is part of the Fringe Festival apparently although it's a separate entity in itself, so there a good buzz around the place and plenty of Macnas style puppets e.g. a Giant snail moving in slow motion, very funny to see kids' reactions as it got close to them.
Womad was in a part of the botanical gardens which was a brilliant location, so as we were early (kick off was midday) we entered the gardens on the opposite side and took a walk and look though, very impressive they were too. With a fantastic hothouse for flowers - it's warm enough there so the hothouse was a surprise.
Made our way over to the festival part and it was very well set up, with cushions and parasols outside tea cabanas and loads of bars with loads of staff and loads of overpriced food and a kids area and of course many head shops selling the obligatory nappy pants. The array of bad fashion sense on show was stunnacious!
It seems like everyone went to Thailand on holidays bought some of that gear - you know the stuff normal people never actually wear again - and then went "Woo hoo a World Music Arts & Dance Festival I know lets wear our nappy pants." Nice. I think the saying is it may not be fashionable but it's comfortable!
We tried to see/hear as many different acts as possible to broaden our horizons as well as some old faves: So kicking off on the main stage was Tony Allen from Nigeria (who we saw before in Copenhagen and who our friends lesbian neighbour snogged in Dublin or something); then on stage 2 Paprika Balkanicus from Balkans (if that's obvious by the name) who were really good.
Saw a few more acts in passing Dengue fever, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu etc. over the day. I wanted to see 'the amazing drumming monkeys' (the next wiggles apparently) but C said I'd look like a peado in kid zone with no kids of me own!
After we finally checked in at the Soho (they at least had brought the bags up to the room for us) and after I had played snow angels on the massive bed and played with electronic blinds we went back and caught Speed Caravan from Algeria who were really really good, had late lunch Gosléme (Turkish yumminess) caught The Audrey's from Adelaide who were technically good but just not my cup of tea. Got chatting to two nice young men for Port Lincoln SA (still a flight away) who were in 1st year in university and looked really cool but like any Aussie teenagers we have met they were lovely civil human beings. They were having a great dilemma over telling the girl in front of us to pull up her jeans to cover her arse crack.
Later we decided we wanted restaurant food so found an Italian 'Fontana Di Trevi' on Pirie St (Rundle St was mobbed) and it was like something out of the 1970's complete with live entertainment called 'Back to Back' which comprised of an oul lad on the synth and a girl singing and possibly playing another instrument not sure now, complete with cheesy cardboard cutout of them in shiny shirts (that's what's in my memory anyway), well, back to back. Their repertoire was everything from Abba to Hey Macarena. And as bad as it sounds it was actually very entertaining and loads of people were up dancing. I'd say it was a family run place and service was prompt and the food and wine were nice - well it is wine country down there.
We got back in time for the headline act who was Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 from Nigeria and they were brilliant and also one of the reasons we went (Egypt 80 used to be Africa 70 his Dad Fela Kuti's band). They played an amazing set and after a sit down at one of the bars we went to an Indian Sitar act U Shrinivas & U Rajesh till pretty late (for Oz). Stumbled back to the Soho and slept like a log! Very long day.
Sunday morning had a dip in the tiny open air swimming pool on the roof of the hotel which I had all to myself. After a nice breakfast (not included) in the hotels teeny restaurant we headed back to the action to see The Black Jesus Experience from Melbourne a jazz/fusion act that I like but C reckons was all the rage in London 20 yrs ago, then in the chill out zone was Mikidashe from an island off Madagascar also very good, then we went to something totally different Kaki King from Brooklyn for some experimental guitar stuff and this was followed by Ska Cubano from Cuba/Papa New Guinea/Haiti who were great and then Seckou Keita SKQ from Senegal again very good. It was scorchio that day so there was a lot of lying in the shade and less dancing but it was all good.
That night we thought we should have some sort of fancy anniversary dinner so we went for gorgeous Indian in 'The Village' on Gouger St (very funny name to us as Gouger in Ireland means thief/ruffian/knacker). But really gorgeous food and we got talking to the owner/chef who brought out some experimental dishes to try on us too. Finished off in the imaginatively named 'The Bar' which had German beer, yum.
Left next day on 8:45am flight with Jetstar, (not before the express checkout tried to double charge us again!) the receptionist told us traffic would be bad so leave at 7am we said we'd take our chances on 7:30am. So 7:30am arrives with a yappy old lady taxi driver and shock horror the streets are still empty so we made it Phew! Mind you Qantas & Jetstar are sister companies and I made the whole booking on Qantas site & paid as one transaction and bizarrely Jetstar had us down as paying $20 too little, which was incorrect and they did sort out quickly in fairness. Curiously the cheapo airline Jetstar leg cost more and with no breakfast thrown in.
Anyway all in all 'twas a great weekend and would go again.
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