Less than a day in Adelaide

The train came to a screeching halt at the Adelaide Parklands Terminal and a few restless passengers got off in a hurry. They were instructed that they only had ten hours in Adelaide, at the end of which the train would take off to Perth. Mizu and the young man had got off too and decided that they would first have a steamy meal in the city centre.

A lot had not happened between the two of them. They only spoke for a brief minutes the previous night before they had retired to their bunkers. The young man was from Adelaide and worked here as a writer for a local paper. Mizu was not surprised given his withdrawn manner and quiet disposition. The most peculiar thing about him was his eyes, drawn down by his heavy eyelids so that they bore no evidence of what he was thinking.

Adelaide had wide empty roads and for miles, they saw trees gracing the footpaths. Mizu hadn’t seen a quaint city like this one; it felt mellow, there were no lowly lit corners, or crowds of people or Neon signs to flood the streets or men stung by melancholy.

The young man said to her, “A holy man once told me, that high walls are nothing when no life moves in empty passages.” (1)

“Sometimes high walls are nothing but a facade”, said Mizu, resting her head at the cab window.

“I wouldn’t be leaving Adelaide if I felt I belonged here”

“You’re leaving?”, asked Mizu.

“Yes, this is not my hometown.”

“So, you’re not getting back on the train to Perth?”, asked Mizu.

“Do you want me to?”, asked the young man.

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The cab suddenly stopped as they had reached The Kings Head restaurant at 357 King William Street. The restaurant looked like an old two storey bungalow built with olive and grey bricks. Inside, it had wooden interiors similar to the Indian Pacific train and Mizu recalled the low rumbling she felt when the train climbed up the blue hills.

They took a table and the young man told her that they only needed to have one meal – the Pie Floater. When it arrived Mizu saw that it was an upside down meat pie served in a bowl of split pea soup. The pastry was crisp and flaky within which lay flavoured soft meat. The pea soup beneath the pie was silky rich and earthy.

The young man told Mizu that the pies of Adelaide were traditionally served from a pie cart which would draw queues of people, rich and poor, on the footpath from as early as 1870. After restaurants opened up and began selling these, fewer people were seen on the streets as the rich preferred the indoors and the pie carts ran out of business.

After their meal, it was soon 5 o’clock and all the stores in Adelaide began to close as it was a Sunday. They decided to visit Glenelg beach which was the most famous metropolitan beach in Adelaide which had the biggest Ferris wheel that Mizu would ever see.

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A witty stout cab driver named Benadid took them to the beach. He was rather talkative which Mizu delighted and the young man frowned at. He spoke about a place called Hahndorf, an hour’s drive from here that was like the German quarters of the city, it had apple strudel, sausages, beers, stony walls and a mysterious whispering wall where if Mizu and the young man were standing  400mts from each other, they could hear each other speak only by whispering into the wall. The stones would carry their words to each other.

When they reached the beach, the young man was relieved for they wouldn’t have to hear more about Adelaide, he had to be prepared to leave the place. The cab halted near the huge giant wheel and they got off there.

They walked over the beige sands of the beach which bore a million footprints – here was where the crowd had been all this while, at the beach visiting small white tents at the Sunday market. The sky was so clear that it felt like the day had only just begun.

Mizu and the young man walked over the pier at Glenelg beach that stretched towards the horizon. At the end of the pier, Mizu felt like she was surrounded only by water with the Australian wind in her hair that had followed her all the way from Sydney. At the far end of the beach, many youngsters were cliff diving into the marine blue water.

She thought what a magnificent city Adelaide was, how peaceful it would be to stay here, to visit the beach after work, to treat herself with a pie floater on the weekends.

“Why would you leave this city?”, Mizu asked the young man, who had already grown restless looking at the sea.

“Why did you leave Tokyo?”

“I haven’t left it, I will go back”

“You never return to the same city once you’ve seen the world. It changed the moment you got on the flight”

The young man told Mizu that he had a wife back home. He had worked in Adelaide to earn some money, but more than that, he stayed longer because he had fallen in love with a woman. The love affair made him feel young, he could be whoever he wanted here, anyone but the worthless man that his wife thought he was.

Mizu wondered what his age really was for he indeed looked young, probably his concealed eyes kept his age a secret. She wondered what his lover looked like, how his life was back home, why hadn’t he told her all this before.

It was 6:00 pm and Mizu knew that the Indian Pacific was already leaving for Perth. She had missed her train and still chose to stand on the pier and listen to this man, while she watched the waves of Glenelg beach melt into each other.

.

.

Will Mizu accompany the young man to his hometown? Will she choose to stay back in Australia and visit the whispering walls?

Mizu’s next adventure reveals something unbelievable about her past, stay tuned!

[1] The Priest says this about Thebes to Oedipus in Sophocle’s Greek play, Oedipus Rex.

Published by Mizu City

Dear Reader, I have a little something to share about cities. These are my own thoughts, emotions, troubles, and passions. If I don't write, they burden my mind. I try to pen them down into stories. I hope they resonate with you.

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