17 August—18 August 2002
We pulled into Adelaide as planned, but found ourselves once again without a detailed map of the city. It was easy enough to find the suburb of Hilton, but we also needed to find the right street. We rolled the dice and started traipsing the small suburb. We asked a man who was unloading a car, but he was not a local. We then stopped at a milk bar for directions, and woman inside helpfully produced a map. We located Jane’s house, and even more luckily, she was there at the time. We had been phoning her since Ceduna and only getting an answering machine.
Jane and I went to school together in Canberra during the 1970s. We didn’t have much to do with each other, but after we both escaped to Sydney our social worlds overlapped for a while in the 1980s and 1990s, and both Susie and I got to know her well. She trained as an electrician but had to give that up due to a work injury. After trying a few other jobs she decided that she would go to university to study medicine. She gained entry to the science program at Flinders University in Adelaide, so she went there and studied like a demon, and eventually graduated with a medical degree.
After a happy reunion, Jane showed us around her newly-renovated house. Afterwards, we caught up on several years of news over a pasta meal that I cooked up that afternoon. After dinner, Susan, Ruby Clare and I all bedded-down in Jane’s spare room which was just big enough to accommodate all of us with no floor space left over. It was comfortable, however, and we were grateful to be out of the cold again. We were also grateful to have a shower and wash some clothes. After camping out on the Nullarbor, we were all getting a bit on the nose.
The next day Susie organised to get her phone reconnected and Clare made a long phone call to her friend Charlotte in Sydney, which was well overdue. We packed some lunch into a calico bag and spent the afternoon looking around the South Australian Museum. The new exhibition of indigenous culture was open. The contrast with the old Pacific collection was noticeable. Whereas the old collection presented de-contextualied artefacts in glass cabinets, the new collection to explained the cultural significance of each item on display. There were lots of interactive CD-ROMs and voice recordings. Best of all was the old archival film footage.
After the museum we drove back to Jane’s house where Susie collapsed into bed. Jane and I went off to the local Asian grocery place to buy some veggies, which I then cooked up into a vegetarian feast. After dinner Susie and I both rang our parents to reassure them that we were still alive. We had been “off the grid” for some time.