I had been buoyed by adrenaline. The excitement of a new continent and a forthcoming presentation. Once my presentation was over I went into melt-down. A dry cough that had persisted from my plane journey became wracking. The Adelaide weather had been terrible – thunderstorms, rain and colder than back home. I had bone-trembling chills whenever I left the hotel room which I had ramped up to 30 degrees.
The whole conference went on a Barossa wine tour. The valley is famous for Shiraz but they do pretty much every style you could think of – Rieslings and Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Merlot, ‘Cab-sav’, Shiraz. Even tawny ports were covered. You’d be right to worry about the quality. I can’t really remember much of what I drunk. I just wanted to go to bed. The cellar door manager at Langmeil’s kept us waiting outside in the freezing cold whilst we got the full history. I wanted to hurt him severely. However, they did do a cracking Riesling called “Live Wire” which I would look out for back in the UK.
Back and bed. A few interminable hours later I got up again for dinner. Conversation was tough. Back to bed. High fevers, chills and not-quite-rigors ensued. Sleep was impossible. Toileting was troubling. I didn’t know whether to take my melatonin, concerned it would destroy some imagined neuroimmunological-chemical axis on the brink of collapse. I took it. I was gripped by terrible stomach pains. I filled out the University’s medical insurance policy online. I could imagine the investigation – “this form was filled out minutes before death!”. Eventually got to sleep at 4am and woke at 11am by the receptionist trying to kick me out of the room.
Scott and co were impressed at just how “green” I looked. I bought some Panadol and some fizzy water. Bus to the airport and a taxi to the Majestic Minima Hotel in Adelaide. This hotel has no staff and you check-in via a video screen which gives it a dystopic air. Are other guests robots? The rooms were tiny. But it was a relative bargain at $100 dollars a night. They make it up on Internet, access in hotels is very expensive ($20-30/day) and bandwidth metered. The most mean bandwidth allowance is at the Royal on the Park in Brisbane which gives you 100MB per 24 hours. Hardly enough to check your email. There was no ethernet cable supplied and no wireless so I decided to walk to the nearest computer store. Adelaide felt very staid and rather dull. Definitely not a party city. There is colonial architecture. It can get up to 44 degrees centigrade in Summer but it was still very chilly. On the way I became very hungry and stopped for a burger. In Australia they put beetroot in burgers routinely. I got back home, reserved a taxi for themorning and fell into a dreamless sleep.