Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lovely Australia and Lovely Adelaide

I love this quote from Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country

Adelaide is the most overlooked of Australia's principal cities. You could spend weeks in Australia and never suspect it was there, for it rarely makes the news or gets mention in anyone's conversation.  It is to Australia essentially what Australia is to the world-a place pleasantly regarded but far away and seldom thought about . And yet is is unquestionably a lovely city.  Everyone is agreed on that, including millions who have never been there. 

I love it because I think it's a spot on description of how Americans tend to view Australia. 

I'm not sure if the rest of the world sees Australia that way.

I see it as more of an American thing.  But what do I know of the other countries? 

It's funny to imagine that Australians might feel that way about Adelaide. I'm wondering if it's true.

It makes me think of that line on Lost directed towards Sayid: He's our you.  

People who watched Lost will know what I'm talking about.

People who didn't....

Well, it's too hard for me to explain. 

I'm wondering if Australians have an Australia—a place they don't often think about, but when they do think about it, the thoughts are positive. They'd vaguely like to go there one day but don't have any exact plans. 

I guess it's silly to imagine all Australians would have the same Australia. It might be different for everyone. And some might not have one at all.

And for Americans, not everyone's Australia is Australia.

I mean....mine's not anymore.

I think about Australia often.  Usually the thoughts are positive but not always. My plans of going there stopped being vague dreams and become a reality.

Now I'd say my Australia is probably....

Maybe Iceland? 

I know nothing about that place really. But it seems lovely. 

It would probably be too cold for me.

I think that's about all I know about Iceland. It's cold. And there's volcano ash shooting out of it sometimes.  


FruitCake said...

Adelaide was once my second favourite Australian city - after Melbourne of course. But then they built a casino in the main station. I was totally disoriented when I got there, and had no idea how to get where I wanted to go. No doubt the people of Adelaide knew. It's not that I'm resistant to change, but I hate it when things change.

I haven't been back since, but I suppose it's huge by now and no longer the relaxed friendly size it used to be.

To describe a single place as quintessentially Australian would be a stretch for me. There are at least 4 Australias - busy cities; small country towns; awesome natural features; then outback places.
My own list would be Melbourne, Cameron Corner, Kings Canyon, and Evandale in Tasmania.

The same could possibly be said for the States. e.g. New York, LA, Grand Canyon; and I think I'm falling in love with Montana [thru MT Waggin's blog]

Michael Gorey said...

I've lived in Adelaide for two and a half years now and agree it's underrated. Despite having a population of 1.25 million people it's relatively compact (although long from north to south) and unhurried.

I prefer Melbourne as a place to visit, but Adelaide is a better place to live. It takes me 25 minutes to walk to work in the CBD, it's 10km to the beach and 25km to the hills.

FruitCake is right about different Australias. I consider Kalgoorlie to be the quintessential Outback town, more genuine than Alice Springs.

Dina said...


I was about to say "Sorry Adelaide changed too much for you." I'm thinking maybe I DO say sorry too much.

Anyway, I think I failed to communicate my question effectively.

When I was talking about "Australia" I was talking about the context that Bill Bryson described. It's not Australia as Australia; but more the relationship of Americans to Australia.

It would be a country you know very little about. You'd rarely think about it. But when you do think about it; your feelings are positive. And you have vague dreams of visiting it.

What I was trying to say is that Australians might have a country like that. It wouldn't be Australia because they live in Australia.

And for some Americans, their "Australia" might not be Australia.

I'm probably not improving my message here.

It's a confusing one.

Michael: I think I confused you as well as Fruitcake.

But yeah. It seems Adelaide is underrated. Or at least ignored.

Bill Bryson seems to like it.

FruitCake said...

Okay. I think I know where you are headed, Dina.

Mmm, a country I would only sort of like to visit - not enough to get my act together but because something about it sounds interesting... nope. Can't think of one for myself, but can't speak on behalf of others.

Iceland? New Zealand is closer, and cheaper to visit. I think of it vaguely in terms of ice and snow. And sulphur. And earth quakes. And none of these appeal.

But an interesting idea. Bryson is very readable.