they say you don't know what you got 'til it's gone / / they say that your darkest hour comes before your dawn

Saturday, January 4, 2014

home sweet home

I live in Adelaide, South Australia, and for a capital city it goes pretty unrecognised most of the time. If you speak to anyone who's never been to Australia, all they ask of is the East Coast (Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast and Brisbane). Most international people forget that Australia is fucking huge and there are other cities apart from those mentioned, and Adelaide is still often forgotten when people realise there's more to this country. That's not to say Adelaide is forgettable, because it's far from that, it's just... well, kept away from big fatcats.

Adelaide is smaller, quieter, greener, fresher, and generally speaking, behind other capital cities. It's still b e a u t i f u l nonetheless. For the most part, a lot of Adelaide people hate it here and I'm not really sure why. I'm here to tell you why you should love Adelaide and why the other cities don't even come close to this place.

one. Adelaide is smaller. You can get from one end of the metropolis to the other in about 30-60 minutes. I went to a city school - my best friend in high school lived the exact same distance as I did yet we lived on opposite ends of the city. Distance is not an excuse to avoid seeing someone in Adelaide. It is practically impossible to be too far.

two. Peak hour traffic in Adelaide doesn't actually stop. It gets really fucking slow, but it never comes to a complete halt for more than like 5 minutes. Actually, I don't think I've even stopped for that long, ever. In fact, our public transport system is bullshit because it's just easier and quicker to drive yourself.

three. It's green. So very, very green. I've lived in Melbourne and it's not even close to the green of Adelaide. When you get outside of the city, you know - there are trees and parks everywhere. In fact, the city is full of parks and reserves and trees. There are wetlands right on the edge of the airport for goodness sake! Queensland likes to think it's green, and it might be in remote areas, but not as close to dense populated areas like Adelaide. You can stand in the middle of the CBD, be surrounded by greener and see the Adelaide Hills. In fact, some guy wants to put an 'ADELAIDE' sign in the Hills just like the Hollywood sign. That's how amazing these Hills are.

four. The beaches are better. Our shores are clean and rock-free. Because most of South Australia's coast line is full of towns, you can practically lay on any part of it and it's just as beautiful as the rest. You don't have to walk across metres of sand to reach the shore either. And on some beaches in Adelaide, you can actually park your car on the beach.

five. The people in Adelaide are friendlier. We have to be - almost everyone knows everyone by seven degrees of separation. It makes reinventing yourself troublesome but if you start out as a good egg, you'll be fine. Besides, people here generally get over things sooner than they're given credit. On the plus side, it makes making friends ridiculously easy. And to be quite honest, I think people in Adelaide are far more determined to follow through on their dreams and passions than people from other states. In my experience, the people I've met from other states give up eventually because it's just too hard to make someone of themselves in such a competitive city. Adelaide doesn't have that problem. Wanna be something? Cool. Go be it. And you'll find that at least one person you know, either directly or through a friend of a friend etc, can help you be that person. That doesn't happen anywhere else.

six. March in Adelaide is fucking insane. So many events happen - the Fringe, Clipsal 500, and various other things. FYI the Fringe is bigger than the Melbourne Comedy Festival/Gala/whatever it's called. We don't need a television show to bring in acts or gain recognition. We have bigger celebrities come to our 'shitty small city' for pretty much a whole month. And it's not just comedy, it's all kinds of performances like drag shows and magic shows and musical shows and everything. The Fringe Street Party is incredible and if you're ever in Adelaide in March, I highly recommend you see it.
seven. We pay you to recycle. 10cents per recyclable material when sold in SA. It's a means outside government assistance for our low socio-economic population to earn a small portion of money. KESAB is the initiative to KEep South Australia Beautiful. It's drilled into every child's mind during school to recycle. If someone litters in Adelaide, they'll receive massive amounts of daggers from whomever witnesses it.

eight. Our city's developmental progress is slow but constant. Every year, around tax time, the city goes through so many infrastructural improvements (that's a nice way of saying Adelaide is flooded with road works every single street over) it's insane. People get frustrated because it's the only time the peak hour traffic get "bad." We're constantly upgrading things if only small things at a time. Progress is progress.

nine. The food and wine in Adelaide is world renown. It's some of the world's absolute best. If you're after a particular cultural cuisine, you can find it on whatever side of town you're in. After a particular wine? Drop into any bottle shop and you'll find countless local wineries. In fact, heading up Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Willunga will take you to the actual wineries and cellar doors. You can buy the world's best food and wine from the place it actually comes from. And people in Adelaide are super duper proud of supporting local producers. They really are.

ten. South Australia is the Opal Capital of the WORLD. If you're in possession of Opal, chances are it came from Cooper Pedy. It's actually kind of cool for a place in the middle of nowhere. People live in 'dugout' homes - houses are built either inside small mountains or underground to avoid the heat. How fucking smart is that!

eleven. On LonelyPlanet's top 10 cities of the world to visit, Adelaide was the only city in Australia to make the list. The O N L Y one. Melbourne? Nope. Brisbane? Nope. Sydney? Nope. None of the bigger, better cities made the cut, at all. On a list to represent Australia to the entire planet of people, Adelaide made it. Melbourne was voted the best Australian city to live in, but I still think that's wrong (fuck yes I am biased).

twelve. Westfield Marion is the biggest shopping centre in this hemisphere. It has the most amount of shops in one location. You could literally spend all day at Marion shopping and not need to leave the centre for pretty much anything. It caters for everyone. Wanna watch a movie while you're shopping? No problem. Event Marion is fucking massive with 30 something cinema rooms and Gold Class to boot. Outside of Marion, the shopping in Adelaide is amazing. Adelaide people love to op-shop. No to mention, there are particular suburbs in Adelaide that sell world class designer labels. I know because the Sass & Bide store is on Rundle Street. In fact, the photo I have of the store is of me, drunk at the Fringe Street Party, hugging the window.

thirteen. Monarto Zoological Park. It's a safari-esque park with animals that would normally live in that environment. And unlike other zoos, you can drive cars through the park, have the animals come up to your car windows, hell you can even feed fucking giraffes! My best friend, the one who lived on the opposite of Adelaide, went there for her work experience. She got to cuddle motherfucking Cheetah cubs. Can you do that in Sydney?

fourteen. AVCon is the largest Anime and Video Game Convention in Australia. It was big the first year I went and it's been steadily growing every year. Anime and video game professionals from all over the world come to Adelaide to meet fans. You should see how insane the cosplays are! Pontip is a guy from Adelaide who's known all over the country for his Halo cosplay.

fifteen. The Malls Balls and the Pigs. Rundle Mall has stack two giant silver balls in the middle for some reason. In addition, there are bronze (I think they're bronze?) pigs statues, four of them to be precise, in the mall for whatever reason. I can guarantee that even local drunks sit on the pig statues and take photos with them. Some guy managed to climb on top of the Malls Balls and got stuck. The police had to get him down and it made the headlines in the news that night.

sixteen. The biggest natural weather threat Adelaide faces is bush fire. Other states face flooding, hurricanes/tornadoes, and earthquakes. Not Adelaide. Because we're so fucking green and have massive hills, we have to be vigilant about bush fires. We're always on top of them the moment one is sparked.

seventeen. The Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer is Australia's leading cancer research facility and has world leading treatments. Flinders University, the one I attend, is world renown for it's medical research. Basically, if you attend Flinders University for a medical based degree, your degree is recognised as the b e s t in the world for research, and all of your degree is evidence based research. Ground-breaking treatments for cancer are found in Adelaide. I'm really excited at the possibilities of becoming a team player in all of that.

eighteen. The Pancake Kitchen. It's exactly what the name suggests but it's open 24/7 and serves alcohol. Wake up at 3am graving pancakes and cider? Drive to the city and get your fix. One of the best nights/days of my life was partying all night, going to the pancake kitchen at 6:30/7:00am, stuffing my face, walking to the zoo and hanging out in the city riding out the the morning to avoid a hangover with two of my best friends. Ask any Adelaide person what they think of the Pancake Kitchen and you'll only ever hear good things about it.

I could go on for days about how amazing this city really is. Everyone I know who's ever left eventually finds their way back here again. They leave when they get bored but they never find a place quite like Adelaide. It's special in its own way and I love that. If you think very little of Adelaide, I highly suggest doing some tourist things and get to know the place before you diss it. If the people you know only get married, find a new job, have kids, get divorced or do the boring adulthood business, you need to realise it's not the city's fault; it's your fault for being friends with stagnant people. Adelaide is a thriving city full of thriving people. You just need to know where to look.