In the week and a half since leaving Singapore I’ve been enjoying a quiet break in Adelaide. This city grows on me more and more with each visit. The disarmingly gentle friendliness of the people, surprisingly profound lack of noise pollution, easy pace of traffic and rewardingly affordable yet consistently excellent locally produced food and wine make for a nice contrast with the life I left behind in Singapore.
It surprises me when locals and Australians from other cities speak ill of Adelaide. Sure, big cities can be amazing, but there’s also an appeal to smaller cities as well. Copenhagen, Austin, Helsinki, Portland and Vancouver all manage to be irrepressibly cool and are, quite a bit smaller than Adelaide. Even in Japan, Fukuoka, renowned for great food and design as well as boasting a fast growing startup scene, is only slightly larger than Adelaide.
I didn’t grow up in Adelaide, but, like many expats, I chose a city to regularly holiday in that feels familiar, yet also lacks the complications, emotional and biographical, of “going home.” Adelaide gives me a much needed contrast with the unrelenting vastness of cities like Delhi and Tokyo, or the accelerated, almost airless compression of places like Hong Kong and Singapore.
In fact, I’ve spent quite a bit of time here recently, visiting two or three times a year. It’s a great place to relax, but it’s also a profoundly good place to think and, for what I do, to work. I write well when I’m here and I make good photographs (the light is wonderful and the skies are vast and ever changing).
Right now it’s cool and a little wet. On my daily bike rides the temperature has been dropping into the single figures (celsius) and the brisk winds raking in from the southern seas make things even crisper. I arrived here exhausted, weary and rundown from my final weeks in Singapore. After taking time to relax, eat well, sleep a lot, watch some films (reviews here) little by little, my energy and enthusiasm have come back.