There are probably four things that you can do on the 31st December every year: go to some public place where there will be lots of other people, go to a friend’s party, sit on the couch with a couple of mates, or go to bed early. Of course, for some people, the whole New Year’s Eve celebration was something that they did in the past.
Mind you, when I was a kid I remember going out with my parents for a New Years Eve party with some of their friends, but then these days they do want most parent’s have done since the family began – gone to bed.
As for me, well, I sometimes wander about New Years Eve, have a couple of drinks, get together with a bunch of people, count down to zero, and then sing Old Man Time as the fireworks explode over my head (and they seem to get more and more spectacular every year, as if you simply have to out do last year’s fire works – it is sort of like the Olympics – every nation who hosts the Olympics has to put on the ‘Best Olympics Ever’ – it’s not good putting together a minimalist performance, because, well, people will complain that they weren’t entertained).
This year I decided to go some place that I don’t think I have been to for New Years Eve in the past – Glenelg. Normally, if I haven’t put on my pyjamas and gone to bed to be counter-cultural that is, I would find myself in the city (though last year I sat at a friend’s house, had a couple of beers, watched some movies, and then proceeded to catch a cab home at 12:01). Mind you, I haven’t been to Glenelg for a while, so it was a good chance to go and check the place out.
There are a few places that you can spend New Years Eve in Adelaide, including Henley Beach and Brighton (though I’m not sure if you will find anybody wandering the streets of Port Adelaide), however Glenelg seems to be one of those popular spots, particularly since all of Jetty Road had been closed to traffic. This is probably because there are lost of parks (and a square) in and around Glenelg, and the tram also makes it an easy (if smelly – the Adelaide trams have this really bad smell about them) place to get to without having to resort to a car.
Mind you, the main reason that I came to Glenelg was so I could write one of my blog posts about one of the places that I visited on my trip to Adelaide (and Glenelg is Adelaide’s premier beachside suburb, even if it is one of the worst beaches to go for a swim – it just way too shallow for my likings), however when I walked into the Watermark Hotel to discover the crowds therein I realised that it wasn’t going to be a normal visit. Actually, the number of bouncers wandering around the place, as well as the ‘cool’ factor of a couple of the clubs, made me realise that it was probably the wrong time of year to simply explore the place.
Anyway, I did take the opportunity to explore the place, especially since I was meeting a friend here and it was going to be an hour or so before he managed to arrive. Mind you, the place has changed a lot since I came here when I was younger, one of them being the multi-story apartments that have appeared along the foreshore (which I must admit has changed the nature of the place, but then again developers have long been pushing for the opportunity to build luxury beachside apartments here, which no doubt has caused the value of the former beachside apartments to drop somewhat).
After having a quiet drink at the Watermark Hotel I then made my way towards the beach when I noticed that there was this old sailing ship sitting in the Patawalonga River. Actually this wasn’t any old sailing ship, this was the HMS Buffallo, the ship that had brought the first colonists to South Australia (not convicts – South Australia was the only state that was not a convict colony). I will hazard a statement to say that it is the original ship, though I suspect over the years it has been fixed up to try to keep it looking as original as possible (which posses the question – if you replace all of the wood in a sailing ship is it the same sailing ship?)
Unfortunately you couldn’t go onto the ship as it had been blocked off, but it looks like it is used as a restaurant these days. Anyway, as I was heading towards the ship, past a combi-van whose occupants looked like they had fallen into a time warp from the sixties, I noticed that there was one of the old Glenelg trams sitting nearby. I have to say that it is a shame that they dispensed with the old trams and brought in a new lot. Okay, the old trams had been trundling the route between Adelaide and Glenelg long before airconditioning was invented (though that just gave you more of an incentive to go for a swim once you arrived at your destination – if you didn’t die of dehydration beforehand that is), but the new trams, as I have suggested, have this really annoying small about them (and the airconditioning isn’t that great either).
I then made my way along the Patawalonga River, and upon looking at it I remembered that it used to have this really, really bad reputation. In fact when I was younger the words Patawalonga and Boliver were synonymous (Boliver is where the sewerage treatment works are located). They have cleaned the river up a lot since them, especially since they have a marina located in it (I’m sure the boat owners wouldn’t be too happy with their boats developing this really bad pong). However, I looked at the boats, and then I looked at a weir which seemed to stand between the boats and the open ocean. Wondering how the owners of these boats actually got them out of the river (the Patawalonga is hardly the type of river you go sailing in, though they used to stage a milk carton regatta here when I was younger) I decided to go and check the weir out. Sure enough, there was a lock to one side (though I’m sure you can’t simply move your boat up there without notifying the harbourmaster).
I then went for a walk around the marina simply to go and check out the breakwater that I used to scramble over when I was a lot younger. However, with all these luxury apartments appearing on the water front, I made my way along the foreshore (past a rather packed bar which I had been to on a date years ago) and into another bar – the Pier One Bar – that looked a lot quieter. Anyway, I ordered a Stella and despite asking for a schooner, was given it in a Stella Artois glass. It was then that I remembered:
After spending some time out of the balcony looking at the apartments on the other side of the road (no beach view at this bar) I then made my way across Colley Reserve, which before all of the developments, have an unobstructed view of the beach (with the exception of the Surf Life Saving Club that used to stand there). Once again, this place has changed somewhat since I was a kid, namely because they had ripped Magic Mountain down and replaced with with something that is basically Magic Mountain, but called The Beach House. I also noticed that NOVA FM has also set up their own amusement park between the Beach House and the Beach, which included a giant inflatable waterslide called ‘The Wedge’.
I’m not really sure why they ended up pulling Magic Mountain down, especially since I had never had a chance to go on any of their waterslides (though there were stories going around when I was a kid that people would put razor blades on the slides resulting in you getting cut to shreds as you went down – however that was just one of those urban myths – and moreso I struggled to work out how anybody could actually put a razorblade on the waterslide and keep it there).
It was then that I received a call from my friend informing me that he had arrived, so I ended up meeting him in Mosley Square, despite all of the crowds milling about (though some have suggested that I do stand out quite a lot, especially when I am wandering around taking photos of anything and everything). He then decided to grab something to eat (at the Souvlaki Bros, which proudly sports a ‘people love us on Yelp‘ sticker) while I continued to wander around the area.
As I mentioned, Glenelg is great for these New Years Eve events because there is a lot of open space, especially around Mosely Square. They had even managed to put in a stage where there were bands playing throughout the night. Mind you, I only hung around for a couple of songs (of which I took a video of them playing) before we decided to wander off and look for some entertainment elsewhere – in the form of a beer.
The pub that I decided to visit as the Jetty Road Pub, unfortunately the bouncer stopped us at the door, not so much because we were under dressed (it is the Jetty Road Hotel after all) but because they wanted to charge us a $10.00 entry fee. I politely told the bouncer that we would go and find some place else that wasn’t going to charge us simply for the privilege of walking through the door (though later I realised that having a price point is probably a pretty good idea as it can prevent the pub from becoming too crowded – and only people who were willing to afford the door charge would get inside – it could turn a nice profit for the pub, unless of course it backfires and everybody ends up doing what we did – go and find some other place for a beer).
We did end up finding a pub, and had a couple of drinks before we decided that it would be a good idea to go and visit out of our friend’s that lived nearby and finish off the night there. At least we got to avoid all those people counting down and singing old man time (as well as another lot of fireworks), though I must say that I probably also missed the opportunity of landing a random kiss (not that that has ever happened by the way).
However, it doesn’t matter if you avoid the mainstream street parties, if you are on social media then:
Here is another music video, to finish it off, that I took down at Glenelg.
“MagicMountain” by AtD at English Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons