These postings have been a bit delayed by a lack of time and Internet access once we left Sydney. Now we're in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but I'm going to try and set my blog to post an entry a day to catch up.
Our bodies still in a bit of “travel wazz,” the post-jet lag but pre-acclimation phase that can haunt travelers for weeks, it was remarkably easy to get up at 5:45 and head out to a cab in the cold Sydney dawn. Staying awake the rest of the day was the hard part.
We were up so early to start a tour of Sydney’s fish market an hour later. Fortunately, a free cup of coffee came with the price of admission. As a big sushi fan, the chance to see my hamachi and amaebi in freshest form was very appealing. While, again, I don’t like tours and their demand that you stick with the group, I also recognize that there’s sometimes no other way behind the scenes. The fish market tour took us through the variety of different aspects of the marine bazaar. Most engaging was the auctions, for large quantities a Dutch auction with LCD projectors and digital bidding, for sashimi-grade fish, close inspection and old-fashioned voice auction. We also reviewed a few of the many different species that often appear in local menus, seeing them when they still resembled fish and not just filets, as we walked around the market floor. Then we strolled through some retail shops and out onto the wharf. Unfortunately, by the time the tour ended it was still too early for a fish breakfast.
Amusingly, we were joined on our tour by some visitors from Japan. Tsukiji, Tokyo’s fish market, is literally ten-times the size of its Sydney counterpart. Further, a big fish in Sydney might fetch a two or three thousand dollars, while in Japan a price in the tens of thousands is quite common. At first, the Japanese were simply unimpressed, but when they started to understand how much cheaper the fish was, they were flabbergasted. Tuna for $9.50 a kilo? Tsugoi!
We spent the middle part of our day flying from Sydney to Adelaide, capital of South Australia, to start the second part of our trip. It was an unremarkable journey, save that the pilot reported a delay because of 300 kilometer per hour head winds. That’s 188 miles per hour, for those of you still living in the standard-measure dark ages.
We drove and walked around Adelaide for a few hours in the afternoon. I love random walks in a new city, as lacking a destination or focus frees me to look around. Adelaide’s architecture is intriguing, a tremendous mix of medium skyscrapers with their expected variations on the glass-and-metal modernist theme, as well as the ubiquitous sandstone of older Aussie government buildings, and finally a smattering of frontier-infused streets with covered walkways, iron lattice-work accents, and older or remodeled stone facades now affixed with wooden balconies.
The next day, before getting on the road, we toured Adelaide’s botanical garden. Though diminished in winter and a sudden hailstorm, a chance to see the immense Amazonian lily pads, housed in a remarkable pavilion, made the visit worthwhile. We also stopped in the Haigh’s Chocolate factory for a free tour. Fortunately, a filling lunch kept us from making any indulgent purchases. After that, I took a spin behind the wheel, as we drove out of Adelaide and up to the Clare Valley, it was my first time driving on the left!