Adelaide goes to lunch

We had travelled far, looking for the details and the delights of individual plants and animals, in nature.

We had then enjoyed the multicultural delights of Perth and now here we were in Adelaide. A city with a reputation for civility, to which is added these days great diversity. It also shone as a city with working infrastructure, public transport that is good and easy to use.

We will dine out for a long time on our experience catching the 196 bus back to our accommodation on the edge of the city centre, failing in the process to note that we boarded '196F' — F for fast. We were carried at speed out through the suburbs and into the Hills. The section of the bus in which we found ourselves then standing formed itself into several informal subcommittees, offering options of what we could do — disembark at the first opportunity, ride the bus into the hills, come back by bus or return on the train. We had a lot of fun and we were delighted when Peter Hough, petroleum geophysicist, sent an email next day to check we got home safely and recommend restaurants.

Our attention had also been caught by the lunch-time crowd in the middle of the city, in Rundle Mall. As much as all the other things in nature at which we had aimed the camera, here was rich diversity, here was self-preoccupation and purposiveness on grand or less grand scale, people on missions, or people sauntering.

These pictures are taken over just a few minutes, camera on knee, aimed approximately and unobtrusively. What an interesting species we belong to. You may find these pictures ordinary, but each ordinary person survives in believe of individuality.

Some look at me.

Camping way out in the wilds of Western Australia, where gold and nickel and gems grow, suddenly in the dark the light of my head torch picked out a brilliant pale blue light some distance away, on the ground.

Had I made my fortune? I looked away and the light vanished. I turned the light on my forehead to it again and there it was, tiny but shining as bright as the newest BMW headlights.

I went close and discovered it was the eyes of a spider, the whole spider no larger than the nose of the Queen on the 10c coin.... the tiny spider had been watching me.

How wonderful to discover that I, the constant observer, was under careful and maybe thoughtful observation, though I knew nothing of it.


Alas the spider and I had no common language, much as people often find they have no common basis for conversation, even if they have a common language.

I would like to think that the spider thought warmly of me, not fearful I took no photograph of the spider.

What is the propriety of using the camera? For us, on this journey, it seems to sharpen perception, to increase awareness and alertness. It is not a power device, but a tool serving wonder. No person here to giggle at, rather life to be noted and respected. We travel on home hoping to see more in new light. See also the thoughts of Susan Sontag on photography and others' discussion of it.

Perhaps we found these people interesting, because we had been away from people to some extent. Perhaps we have been more attuned to actually looking around us.

We give each other 'space', we avoid looking closely at each other.

We also lose awareness of our own appearance when we are preoccupied — but how evident it is, when we look, that each person is a universe. Read the fine print!

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