Sunday, 26 April 2015

Noah and the Antediluvian world

Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. (Genesis 4:20-22)

I recently watched the movie Noah starring Russell Crowe and even though I have posted a review on IMDB, sometimes a blog post allows me not just a lot more space to write about things, but also gives me the freedom to go as off topic as I like, which in this case is the topic of creation science, evolution, and the antediluvian world.

Hollywood tackles the Flood
It seems like the biblical story is one of those stories that seems to spur the imagination, and in a way this epic by Aronofsky is not the only journey that Hollywood has taken down this path. There has been a television movie and a mini series (to reference a few) as well as a really bad sequel to Bruce Almighty (called Evan Almighty - a movie that turns my gut even thinking about). However, I must be honest and say that I found this latest offering much better than I originally expected.
Anyway, for those who don't know, the story of Noah comes from Genesis, the first book of Bible (Genesis 6:9-9:17) and tells the story of how the Earth had become corrupt and vile and God decided that he would wipe it clean, but before doing so realised that Noah and his family were still faithful and good people, so had him build an ark and then take two of every unclean animal and seven pairs of every clean animal (one of the many aspects of the story that seem to be ignored) before flooding the entire world.
As for the movie, as I suggested it was much better than I originally expected it to be, and while there may be some poetic license taken in its creation, I still thought that there were a couple of ideas that really stood out and that I wish to explore.

1) The Antediluvian Civilisation
If you noticed the Bible verse that I quoted at the beginning of this post you will notice some interesting things that are mentioned. First of all this particular verse occurs prior to the flood and suggests the development of two ideas: art (the lyre and the pipe) and technology (forger of bronze and iron). I have long since speculated that the antediluvian (which means 'before the flood' civilisation could have been much more advanced than we have originally given it credit (that is if we believe, as I do, in a world wide catastrophic flood). While some of the sources that I will refer to, such as the discovery of a bell within a lump of coal, refer to websites run by creation scientists, I generally do not agree with everything they write, I still think that some of these ideas need to be considered. For instance, we have this iron tool discovered encased in rock.

So, what about the film? Well, the opening of Noah showed a world in which humanity had become quite technologically advanced and that they were more than just simply nomads, but rather a society, albeit a very dictatorial one, who had advanced significantly beyond the stone and iron age cultures in the post flood world.

2) An environmental slant
While many of us in the secular world scoff at the writings of creation scientists, particularly the young-earth creation scientists (of which I am not), they have taken a more environmentalist approach in recent years. For instance we have organisations such as the Evangelical Environmental Network who campaign against deforestation, climate change, and the mercury poisoning in our water supplies. As such it is not surprising to see this film also taking an environmental slant as well. The thing with the antediluvian world in Aronofsky's film is that the use and development of technology has had a devastating effect upon the environment resulting in mass extinctions and desertification. While me may consider the world of the 21st century being ravaged by the effects of climate change with encroaching deserts and water sources drying up, this world, a world that had literally arrived at the brink of destruction, is a picture that is being painted of our future if we do not pull back from the direction that we are heading.

Why I am not a Young Earth Creationist
I want to be straight that I believe that God created the world, however I do not believe that he created the world in a literal six days, the reasons being:
  1. The Bible is not a scientific text;
  2. The first three chapters of Genesis is written in a poetic form;
  3. Other than the Bible there is no real evidence pointing to the Earth being 6000 years old;
  4. We weren't there at the creation of the world so we cannot be certain how the world was created or the time it took to be created; and
  5. If God is God, then God is powerful enough to create the world with the click of his fingers, if he really wanted to.
Personally, I believe the whole argument as to the age of the Earth, and how long it took for the Earth to be created is little more than a distraction from the central core of the Bible, being: 
  • God created the world and created humanity to live in the world in perfect harmony with him, each other, and nature; 
  • Humanity chose to rebel against this order and set out on their own so God cursed the world and punished humanity; 
  • Since God is a merciful God he set about a way in which to gradually restore this broken relationship and that is through him becoming human in the form of Jesus Christ, willingly dying on the cross as punishment for us, and then rising from the dead to demonstrate that he was who he said he was. 
The argument of a young Earth, in my opinion, gets in the way of this central message. However, that does not mean that everything that the young earth creationists should be immediately discounted, but rather to be read and weighed up based upon what we accept for ourselves.

A few thoughts on evolution
Do I believe in evolution? Yes.
Do I believe that we all evolved from a single celled organism? No.
Do I believe that God used evolution to bring about the world as it is today? Yes.
Do I believe that there are problems with evolution? Absolutely.

While I will say a few things about evolution, I will refer you to reviews that I wrote on a couple of plays by George Bernard Shaw: Man and Superman and Back to Methusela. The reason that I refer to those two plays, and the reviews thereof, is because I believe that Shaw outlines some of the problems that we face with evolution. For instance the idea of 'survival of the fittest' and 'red in tooth and claw' actually undermine the concepts of evolution as being a viable theory for the development of humanity. The idea here is that only the strongest survive, which means the warrior will inevitably outclass the intellectual resulting in a world ruled by vicious brutes. Unfortunately though, this is the world in which we live, with the exception of one thing: Bill Gates earns substantially more money than the most highly paid sports stars. In fact, I cannot think of one person who has become a billionaire through either acting or sport - it simply does not happen. Ignoring the wealthy who come about through inheritances (such as James Packer), many of have gained their wealth through simply being smart (or great businessmen).
For instance, we all know how Bill Gates and Steve Jobs earned their fortune by getting in on the ground level of the computer revolution, or how Warren Buffett became wealthy through intelligent investing. However, while it is clear that the intelligence of these few 'geeks' enabled them to earn their billions, it is not the only factor - if that were the case there would be many, many more billionaires out there - they became wealthy through shrewd business practices and making sure that their businesses crushed any competition.
However, if we look at the natural world we will notice that it is not the predators that are the dominant species, which would be the case if the idea of 'survival of the fittest' were true. Animals have their own natural defences to be able to resist the attacks of these predators, such as the Rhino's horns, the Giraffe's legs, and the fact that the elephant is just so damn big. However, survival of the fittest does not necessarily exist in an interspecies environment, but rather within the species. The weak and the old will tend to be those caught and killed first, leaving the healthy and the young able to escape and continue to breed. However, even animals realise the necessity to protect some of the weakest, especially babies, because if it were the case that only the strong were to survive, then all of the babies would end up being killed off resulting in extinction - but that does not happen.
While I could write a lot more on evolution, I think I will leave it at that and move onto the next topic (maybe leaving it for another time), that being The world wide flood.

What's the deal with the flood?
I guess there are two reasons as to why people don't like the idea of the world wide flood: that it paints a picture of God that makes us feel really uncomfortable - namely that he does punish sin; and that in our scientific mind we find the idea of the world being covered by water very difficult to believe. I personally believe that it is possible, and wonder what would happen if all of the water locked up in the ice caps were to suddenly melt. Okay, with the potential impact of climate change, there has been substantial research into how far the seas will rise. However, as with most aspects of science, we can only predict what might happen based on past results - the future is always going to be a cloud that is very difficult to pierce.

However, the idea of the Biblical flood is something that many academics seem to scoff at, believing that it is basically a myth that was brought to Israel from their Mesopotamian origins. Granted, the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Atrahasis also contain the story of the flood, but the argument is that since the Tigris and Euphrates were prone to flooding, from the view point of an Ancient Mesopotamian standing on the walls of the city it would appear that the entire world was subject to inundation. However, this was a regular occurrence, which is hardly going to result in the development of a myth - such myths would more likely arise from a single catastrophic event as opposed to something that occurred annually. Yet the similarities between the story in the Bible and the story from Mesopotamia are striking, which does ideally suggest a common source. Mind you, considering that Abraham, before he was commanded by God to leave his home and travel to the Levant, lived in Mesopotamia, these similarties are not all that surprising.

However, some recent theories have suggested that this myth may have arisen not so much from the regular flooding of the fertile crescent, but rather the flooding of the region that is now the Black Sea. This would offer explanations as to why the Greeks, the Mesopotamians, and the Jews all have similar stories. However, that does not account for the multiple other flood stories that seem to be found all around the world (see wikipedia for a list).

While it has been a while since I took a huge interest in the debate regarding the flood, some of the creation science websites, such as Answers in Genesis and the Institute of Creation Research do offer some interesting perspectives. However, I might add that while these two organisations tend to be very dogmatic in their views, I do not believe that one's opinion on the extent of the flood really matters, in much the same way that one's opinion on creation of the universe matters.

Once again, I could probably say a lot more on this topic, but once again I will leave it at that and finish off on my final topic, and that is fire.

The Question of Fire
I only want to touch on this topic briefly because I will be saying a lot more of it in another post looking specifically about the myths relating to fire. What I want to suggest is that fire is one of the essential elements for technology, which raises the question that if the creation scientists are correct, and that coal seams and oil deposits are the result of Noah's flood, then that leads to this question: what fuel did the antediluvian's use? Well, Aronofsky answers that question by creating a special mineral that bursts into flames when struck, and while I thought that was interesting, I would put it into the category of fantasy. However, people have been able to work with metal long before coal came into common use, and were able to generate high temperatures, usually from wood (and okay, they did have oil lamps). However, it is also worth noting the modern use of biodiesal, however I am inclined to suspect that biodiesal only came about after we learnt how to refine petrol from oil.

Yet with coal, wikipedia indicates that it was used by the Chinese as early as 1000 BC yet the Europeans only became aware of it after Marco-polo returned from his trip to the orient. However, it wasn't until the 17th Century that coal replaced charcoal as a fuel for the forges. This suggests that coal was not actually a necessity for the smelting of metals. However, as I have suggested, I will leave further discussion of technology for another post (Prometheus and the Quest for Fire).

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Noah and the Antediluvian world by David Sarkies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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Noah Poster: Source Wikipedia used under the fair use provisions to provide an illustration as to the film to which is being referred
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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Leichardt - Sydney's leafy inner west

Sydney from Leichthardt
A view that's worth a million dollars
Once I had finished my brief visit to Glebe (though I am sure there is more of this place that I could visit) I jumped back onto the tram to continue my exploration of Sydney's inner west. It was partly fortunate that the tram I had jumped on was terminating at Lilyfield, which was my next destination. So, the tram trundled into the tunnel (which was an old railway tunnel for the freight line that terminated at Glebe harbour) and out the otherside.
This tunnel wasn't like those tunnels that you get in Switzerland, where on one side everybody speaks French and on the other side everybody speaks German (and in the south the tunnels divide the Italian speakers from the German and French speakers – though apparently everybody in Switzerland speaks at least four languages – something that I have trouble doing), it was simply a tunnel that divided the trendy suburb of Glebe from the trendy suburb of Leichhardt.
So, I arrived at Lilyfield station and the conductor proceeded to kick everybody off the tram, promising that the next one would be along in a few minutes. However, I didn't hang around to find out if that was true or not (though the tram time tables did tell me fibs because they didn't go every 10-15 minutes during the middle of the day). I had already a destination in mind: a small cafe at the corner of Piper and Catherine Streets, aptly named on Google 'Catherine and Piper' (though the cafe had another name when I finally found it). By the way, this is where I was at the time:

I did get a little lost, but that was because I had walked a little too far down Catherine Street, and when I came across a park my smart phone indicated that I had missed my destination. That was not a bad thing though because as I was wondering down the street I passed this house:

Arty House
I think an artist lives here
This is one of the reasons why I love wondering off the tourist track; you come across things that generally aren't mentioned in the Lonely Planet Guide (not that these guides struggle to find things to talk about – there are plenty – however wondering through an inner suburb looking at houses generally isn't one of them). So, after admiring the house (and uploading a picture of it to Facebook), I turned around and found the cafe that I was looking for; went inside and ordered a pot of tea, which was also an experience because this is how they ended up serving it:

Pot of Tea
It fits quite neatly in the cup
This is another of those benefits of exploring areas that are off the tourist track because you can find places like this that serve you meals (and tea) in rather artistic forms.

Anyway, after finishing off my tea I made my way back to the tram stop, and after wasting around 15 minutes waiting for my tram to arrive, I continued my adventure. This time I got off at Taverner's Hill station, which dropped me beside Parramatta Road.
To be honest with you there isn't really all that much to see on Parramatta Road, that is unless you like bumper to bumper traffic, car dealerships (though a few of them sell top range sports cars like Lamborghinis), and shops, though as you wander further down the road you do come across buildings from a bygone era that haven't yet been levelled by the developers:

Parramatta Road Shops
Okay, some of them probably need a paint job
I also discovered this mural that had been preserved on the Kennet's Storage building:

Kennet's Murals
Actually, I'm not sure what these are supposed to be
Though I found the scenery off of the main road much more pleasing, such as this mural on the wall of the soccer stadium on Marion Street (I was a little confused when I came to the Marion Tram Stop, since I didn't realise there was another suburb in Australia called Marion, but it turned out it was named after the street).

Leichardt Mural
Not as good as grafitti art
Oh, and the old Edwardian houses were pretty cool as well:

Leichardt Houses
Actually, I'm not really sure when they were built
I did end up visiting a few pubs on my journey, including what I would term as a Heavy Metal Pub (there was a girl wearing a Megadeth T-shirt sitting out in the garden, and they were also playing Faith No More over the speakers – for those who are interested the pub is call The Bald Faced Stag), and an Irish Pub that had a pretty good beer garden:

Norton on Norton's Mural
They're going all medieval on us
However, if I were to name my favourite pub that I visited on this trek it would have to be the Lewisham.

794 Parramatta Road, Lewisham

Lewisham Hotel
Best shot I could get without any cars

There were a couple of problems with this pub, and they both involved Parramatta Road. It took me something like ten minutes to get that photo and then into the pub to order my beer, but once I had successfully completed a game of Frogger with the traffic my experience here was one that I am certainly not going to forget. The bartender was one of those incredibly chatty people that I like (because I tend to be the opposite so it takes a rather chatty person to open me up at times) and as he was pouring my beer we ended up talking about the perfect head (on a beer that is).
Having been to the Heinieken Brewery in Amsterdam, I have come to understand the requirement for a 'perfect head'. The reason for that is that the head of the beer keeps it fresh and stops it from going flat. When we were there we even had a go at pouring the beer to attempt to generate that perfect head. Unfortunately, unlike the Heineiken Brewery, the Lewisham wasn't giving away free beer (but then again you did have to pay to go for the Brewery tour).
As I usually do, I wondered around the pub and discovered that they had three beer gardens. I like a pub with at least one beer garden, but this one had three (though one of them doesn't really count since it was full of pokie machines – which makes me suspect that New South Wales is the only state in Australia where you can still smoke cigarettes and play pokie machines – I thought one of the reasons for the law was to force smokers away from pokie machines when they want to have a smoke).

Lewisham Beer Garden
Hey! Pink Floyd mural!
After settling myself down in the beer garden with the pool table a couple of guys appeared and started setting up for a poker tournament (the card game that is) and I ended up having another conversation, this time about why we moved from what is effectively a country town to the big city. I guess the both of us had the same reason, namely that in the city you are so much more anonymous.
So, thinking on that, while I ended up visiting a number of pubs in Sydney, it turned out to be the one where I ended up having conversations with strangers to be the one I liked the most.

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The Great Ocean Road - A Scenic Wonder

Eastern Arch

This is arguably one of my favourite drives in Australia (though the Illawara Highway south of Sydney comes in a very close second). To date I have driven along the route four times, the first being just after New Years Eve 2000 when I was in Melbourne with a friend and we wanted to take the scenic route back to Adelaide. I had been down here as a child when my Dad took us to Warrnambool for the annual family holiday and had shown us all of the rock formations along the route. It was those rock formations that had stuck in my head ever since, and since I had not seen them since I was child, decided to visit them once again.

I must say that that first experience was something that I had not expected. Okay, we had occasionally been down to Anglesea for daytrips to visit my Auntie and Uncle who had a regular spot at the caravan park, but I had never been on the route between Anglesea and the Twelve Apostles (my Dad, when we left Warrnambool and headed on to Melbourne, decided to take the inland route). So, until that day in early 2000 all I knew about the Great Ocean Road were the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge.

Eastern Arch MonumentPersonally I really don't want to repeat everything word for word that you can find on Wikipedia, especially since I am not an encyclopedia (despite people's claims otherwise), however I feel that I should at least give some background. The road itself was conceived near the end of World War One when the government was trying to work out what to do with all of the soldiers that were returning home. Okay, they did suggest that they could put them to work constructing roads through the country, but from what I could see there was really no economic benefit to the Great Ocean Road itself. Either somebody came up with the idea of creating a tourist attraction, or they wanted to give them some 'busy work'. It is not as if the towns on the coast could not be reached by inland routes, and even today you don't get trucks travelling along here (only huge buses full of tourists). Hey, don't get me wrong, there is nothing bad about building a tourist attraction, but I would hardly suggest that there was any real economic benefit beyond charging people a toll to risk their lives travelling between Lorne and Apollo Bay (yep, the road was pretty hairy back then).
Anyway, I will leave it at that, and if you really are interested in its heritage then once again I'll direct you to the Wikipedia entry.

Great Ocean Road Map
I better show you a map of the road
The Road
Well, I could probably say that there are three sections to the road - no actually five, but two of the sections are pretty boring: that between the Bay of Martyrs and Warrnambool (though there is an historic pub on that section), and that between Geelong and Anglesea (though the section between Anglesea and Lorne isn't all that thrilling either). Anyway, ignoring those two 'boring sections' you have what I call the Cliff Drive between Lorne and Apollo Bay, the Jungle Drive between Apollo Bay and Princetown, and then the Attractions between Princetown and Warrnambool (which also includes the historic pub).
The road itself begins on the outskirts of Geelong and when I first drove down here the turn off would take you through to Torquay. They have since moved the turn off a little further along the road so that you can effectively bypass Torquay. That confused me this time because I wanted to travel through Torquay, at least to get a couple of photos and to also have some breakfast. When I did finally work out what had happened I decided to backtrack a little into town.

Torquay Surf Shops
There are no shortages of surfing shops here
Torquay is famous for one thing, and one thing only - surfing. I had heard of Bells Beach (thanks to Patrick Swayze in Point Break) but I had never really equated it with Torquay. So that first time I drove into town the number, and size, of the surf shops on the main road literally blew me away. It was like a supermarket - no more like a homemaker centre specialising in surf gear. In a way, Toquay was like a homemaker centre before the homemaker centres started popping up all over the city fringes.
The town itself is a nice town (ignoring the ubiquitous surf shops) and you don't have to worry about the surfers at the main beach - it is a lot quieter and they all tend to congregate on the other side of town where Bells Beach is located. In fact this last time I came here I wanted to go and check Bells Beach out, however I discovered that the Rip Curl Pro is held here every Easter (and has done so since 1960). So, since Bells Beach was closed (well, it wasn't, but you had to pay to get in) we decided to leave it for another day.
Anyway, for those wanting a bit of surfing, here is a video somebody took earlier and posted up on Youtube for everybody to enjoy:

The waves are nowhere near that big at Bells Beach

The Boring Bit
Split Point LighthouseSo, after you leave Torquay you then travel along what I consider the boring bit because, well, it is actually quite boring. It is just like your everyday country road (except for all of the tourists making the journey to the less boring bits). Okay, it does get a little better after you pass through Anglesea (where there is a caravan park, a pub, an estuary for watersports, and the holiday makers that always come down here for a holiday), but it still is a little boring. Okay, there is a really cool lighthouse at Airey's Inlet (and you can even go on tours), and there are some houses that are probably worth more than the average minimum wage worker would ever make in their life time, but that is about it. Okay, there is also the Eastern Arch (which is the photo that I have used with the title of the post) which used to be the toll gate where the government attempted to recoup the costs of the road from unsuspecting tourists, but as I have suggested, that is pretty much about it. The road doesn't really get all that interesting until you pass through Lorne.

Great Ocean Road Beach House
Probably spends most of the year empty

Well, before you hit the interesting part of the road, you first must pass through Lorne, and that can be a real challenge during the busy season. As I mentioned, I have been down here four times, and two of those times have been during the high season, meaning that the traffic literally slows to a crawl. Oh, and you can't take a short cut by hitting the side streets because they are all dead-ends - so no easy way out there either. Anyway, Lorne seems to be one of those towns that serves the higher end of the community. Walking along the foreshore the town seems to drip with class. There is also a really trendy element to it as well, with classy shorefront cafes and shops selling stuff that would only appeal to those who wish to be an individualistic conformist. Look, Lorne isn't actually a bad place, and I must say that they had a pretty impressive playground for the children, but it also seems that staying here for any period of time can be a bit of a drain upon your wallet - at least during the high season.

Lorne Playground
It makes me not want to grow up
Cliff Drive
After you managed to escape the monumental traffic jam that happens to be Lorne you then enter one of the more thrilling parts of the trek along the Great Ocean Road - the section that I refer to as the Cliff Drive. The reason that I refer to it as such is because the road runs along the side of the cliffs - some parts are quite high up while other parts are much closer to the shore. Anyway, while I took a bunch of photos along this route, I realised that a Youtube video would be much, much better, so here is the video that I uploaded earlier:

I'm not actually driving that close to the edge

Oh, and before you tell me off for driving and using my mobile phone at the same time, I assure you that the person who is holding the camera is my friend sitting in the passenger seat.

Anyway, this long, narrow, and very windy road is probably my favourite part of the journey, simply because I just love driving along long, narrow, and windy roads, especially if the view is quite scenic, as it is along here. There are also quite a number of spots where you can simply stop the car and get out and simply take in the view, which is what I generally always do when I am driving along this road. In fact it was after that first time in early 2000 that gave me that attachment to this route back to Adelaide, and it is why, when I had the opportunity, that I would travel along here. The first two times that I drove down here we actually managed to do so without taking a break, but then again I had others in the car so we could share the driving. The other times were either by myself, or I was simply not going all the way to Adelaide.

Another thing that I saw here were the waves crashing against the rocks, and I thought that it would make a very good relaxation video, so here is one of them that I took.

 I'm not sure if relaxation videos are supposed to have them crashing against rocks

The Jungle Drive
The cliff drive comes to an end at 'Sunny Apollo Bay'. Mind you, the reason that I have that in quotes is because the last time I was in Apollo Bay it was anything but sunny. Still it was a pleasant town where I spent the night once - though since it was the off season it was fairly quiet. Being somewhat further from Lorne, and also after the more tretcherous part of the road, the town has a more homely seaside feel to it. However, this time I didn't stay all that long - I just took a couple of photos and continued driving.
This is where the road heads inland and passes through a temperate rainforest. This quite surprised me because I only ever expected rainforests to be found in the tropics and subtropics - however here is one that seems to defy the odds.
Just a little way out of Apollo Bay you come to a lookout which is the closest that I could come to a pastoral setting (though I sure there are plenty of other places that could carry that name). Anyway, here is a panoramic shot that I took with my camera:

Otway Ranges Panorama
I think the photo is supposed to curve around.
This lookout is just outside of Apollo Bay, though as you travel further inland this is what you discover:

Cape Otway Jungle DriveCape Otway Jungle Drive

Cape Otway Jungle DriveCape Otway Jungle Drive
Maybe a video would have been better than simply taking a heap of photos

Further north they do have an attraction called 'The Otway Fly Tree Top Adventures' but since it was quite out of our way we weren't able to check it out. However there was something that we could visit: the jungle walk. Here you can pull over into a car park and then go for a round trip through the heart of the jungle. Mind you, they don't particularly like you leaving the path, which makes it a little difficult since there aren't any toilets here either, but I guess you are just going to have to hold on to it. Anyway, words probably can't describe this walk, so instead here are a couple of photos that I took (if they can do it justice):

Cape Otway Jungle WalkCape Otway Jungle

Cape Otway Jungle Walk
Unlike a tropical rainforest, the temperature is bearable

I probably should point out that if you are planning on taking this trip, make sure that there is enough petrol in your tank because there aren't any petrol stations in this jungle, and your Telstra mobile phone won't work - actually, come to think of it I did post a Facebook status update while wandering through here so ignore what I just said.

Otway Junction Bistro
Not exactly what I imagined a bistro to look like

Laver's Hill
When you emerge from the jungle, or forest, or whatever you want to call it (some people, and signs, call it a jungle, others call it a forest - such as the sign at Laver's Hill which proclaims that this is where the forest meets the sea), you come to this small collection of buildings known as Laver's Hill. In a way it is like one of those places where you simply want to escape to from the modern world because, even though they do have mobile phone reception, it simply seems as if time has pretty much stood still. It is like the forest (or jungle) works to keep progress at bay - and in some places that is not necessarily a bad thing. Mind you, for what is in effect a handful of buildings, I am surprised that there are two pubs. Well, one if you don't call the old rustic building connected to the motel which carries the name bistro, which I must say I found quite odd because it really didn't look like a bistro. Mind you, since pretty much all of the suburban pubs have bistros I have come to expect little from the term, but then again this is a really nice, and old, building in the middle of a pastoral setting, which honestly, is not some place I would expect to find a bistro (at least in the suburban pub use of the term).

Two of the Apostles
Two of the Seven remaining Apostles

The Attractions
A short while after you leave Laver's Hill you come to Princetown and just beyond there the land begins to flatten out. Not so much that you have rolling plains drifting down to a beach, but rather rolling plains ending in a sharp drop of some fifty or so meters (I don't know exactly how far, but it looks pretty high) to the beach. It is along here where there are a number of attractions that have formed over time due to the waves crashing against the shore.

By far the most popular, and well known, site along this section are the Twelve Apostles. Well, actually seven of them, though through some imagination you could probably work out where the other five are located (I try that every time I come here, though I only manage to get eight of them, and that is including the two that have fallen down - one of them in my lifetime).

I did try to get a panoramic shot of all of them, but due to the amount of people swarming around the sight, and the fact that they are at a 180 degree angle, it was just not possible, so here is a photo of the others.

The Other Apostles
It would look even better in the middle of a storm
This place is certainly the highlight for many of the tourists, and in fact when we came here they even had people directing the cars. They also offer 15 minute helicopter rides (for $145.00 per person), though I doubt they fly too low (considering what would happen if one of the helicopters were to crash).

Loch Ard Gorge Panorama
These panorama shots do turn out a little odd

Loch Ard Gorge
Sure, the Twelve Apostles may be the star attraction along this stretch of the road, but there are quite a number of stops that I believe are much, much better - such as Loch Ard Gorge.

The section of the coast is known as the Shipwreck Coast namely because lots of ships (18 I believe) met their fate here while attempting to reach Melbourne, and looking at the ruggedness of the cliffs I am not at all surprised. Anyway, if you have never heard of the Loch Ard, by the time you have visited this location you will have, since it is one of the most famous shipwrecks that occurred here. The ship struck a reef in the area on 1st June 1878 and all but two of the passengers and crew were killed. The two survivors, a cabin boy and one of the passengers, came ashore in this gorge. A cemetery commemorating those who lost their lives is also nearby.

Loch Ard GorgeLoch Ard Gorge
Could they be the missing Apostles?

While the cloud of a tragic loss of life at sea hangs over this area, all I can say is that this is probably one of the best beaches that I have ever visited. Okay, there are probably better ones in more tropical climes, but as a beach this is still pretty cool. I even remember coming down here as a kid one summer and going for a swim, as well as clambering over the rocks and exploring the cave. Actually, this time I clambered over the rocks and explored the cave, which goes really deep into the cliff. Mind you, you better be careful that the tide doesn't come in because you might find yourself trapped.

Loch Ard Gorge BeachLoch Ard Gorge Beach
You could film an episode of survivor down here

London Bridge and the Bay of Islands
Since it was starting to get late, we unfortunately had to skip a number of the other attractions, such as the Grotto (which is really, really cool). However, we did stop off for a short time at London Bridge. Mind you, it doesn't really look much like a bridge any more because, well, like London Bridge, it fell down. Actually, the last couple of times I came here I would take a photo and upload it to Facebook with some smart comment pertaining to such.

London Bridge
It still sort of looks like a bridge
I still remember when I came down here as a kid and we walked out over the bridge. Even at that time I wondered what would happen if it fell down while we were still out there. In fact, on 15th January 1990, two poor unsuspecting tourists discovered just that when the span connecting the mainland collapsed. They were eventually rescued by helicopter, and the site now has the dubious connection to its namesake.

Original London Bridge
And once again Wikipedia has delivered the goods
A little further on is the Bay of Martyrs (also called the Bay of Islands, but the Bay of Martyrs sounds so much better). I'm not really sure why they called this place the Bay of Martyrs, but I am sure that I read somewhere that it had something to do with the number of shipwrecks along the coast. Mind you, that sounds a little odd, considering people dying due to their ship sinking would hardly be called a martyr.

Bay of Martyrs
It looks even better at sunset.
Boggy Creek Pub
So, the road now turns inland where it eventually meets up with the main highway between Warrnambool and Melbourne. However, before you reach the turn off you will see a sign pointing to 'The Historic Boggy Creek Pub'. Well, anybody who knows me would know that I would never turn down a visit to a pub, especially an historic pub, so I switched on the blinkers and drove down the country road.

Boggy Creek Pub
Certainly a popular tourist attraction
The pub that I discovered was actually your typical, ordinary, country pub - not that there is anything really all that typical or ordinary about country pubs. However, this was certainly full of all of the local characters, as well as a couple of tourists take looked decidedly out of place (as did we city folk). Mind you, it was still quite a nice place, and is certainly located in some really tranquil surroundings, so it is definitely a good place to stop over on a long road-trip.

So, there we go, the Great Ocean Road, or at least a part of it. Unfortunately there is probably way too much to see on a simple day's journey, and there are a number of places that I reluctantly skipped, if only to take a photo of the Boggy Creek Pub while there was still some daylight. Maybe another time in a couple of years I will come down here and stop by at some of the other places along the route, and then share my further adventures with the world.

Creative Commons License
The Great Ocean Road - A Scenic Wonder by David Sarkies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you wish to use this work commercially please feel free to contact me.

Great Ocean Road Map source: Gryllida use permitted under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 Unported
Split Point Lighthouse source: Mike Lehman, Mike Switzerland use permitted under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 Unported 
London Bridgh source: Philipist use permitted under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 Unported

Thursday, 16 April 2015

12 pubs (but skipping the 12 pints) - Adelaide's Golden Mile

The Worldsend - Title Bar

I'm sure many of us have heard of the final instalment of Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy called 'The World's End' in which a group of friends come together again to attempt to complete an epic pub crawl in their home town which involves visiting twelve pubs and drinking twelve pints and concluding their night at a pub called 'The World's End'. 

The World's End - Movie Poster

However, this is not a review of the film, and if you wish to read my thoughts on this particular production you can do so on IMDB. So, you may ask, how does this film relate to this particular post? Well, after watching this rather amusing story of five men's attempt to complete was is called 'The Golden Mile' I remembered that Adelaide has a pub called 'the World's End' (or more precisely 'The Worldsend') so one day I decided to try and work out how I could replicate the Golden Mile in the sleepy little town of Adelaide. As it turns out, the centre of Adelaide is referred to as 'The Square Mile' (though using Google Maps I realised that the city centre is actually larger an a square mile) and after picking twelve pubs and plugging the route into Google Maps I discovered that it was pretty close to a mile (though more recent calculations using Google puts it at 3.6 km, which is well over a mile, though the length of North Terrace, according to Google Maps, comes in at 2.6 kilometers - however let us dispense with all of these semantics and simply call it 'The Golden Mile').
Anyway, here is the route:

Adelaide's Golden Mile

So, when I arrived in Adelaide I gave a friend a call and asked him if he wanted to visit 12 pubs in one night and finish off at the Worldsend, to which he replied "I don't think so". So I then suggested that we go to a nearby pub and have some lunch (beef schnitzel with pepper gravy of course), watch a movie (The World's End) and then go and visit 12 pubs, finishing of at the Worldsend, to which he agreed (I'm not really sure what caused him to change his mind - maybe it was my persistent pestering). So, after watching The World's End, we jumped onto a bus and began out epic pub crawl.

However, before I go on, I would be negligent if I did not make a statement about the responsible consumption of alcohol. I wish to point out that we did NOT visit twelve pubs and drink twelve pints (I certainly would not have been able to make it to the end if that was the case) simply because I really don't drink to get drunk - I drink because I like beer, and when I go out and drink beer I generally want to be able to make my way home in one piece at the end of the night. Mind you, while I may believe in the responsible consumption of alcohol, I sometimes wonder if the pubs in Adelaide are with the same mind. The reason I say that is because at a lot of the pubs I visited when I ordered a schooner (the smallest size, and they go by different names depending on where you are - unless you are in Germany because the smallest size there happens to be a pint - Sie Sind in Deutschland, das ist eine kliene bier!) they would respond by saying "but a pint is cheaper" - so much for the responsible service of alcohol.

Anyway, enough of that because you are probably more interested in the pubs as opposed so some moral discussion on the consumption of alcohol. However, I should also mention that since Adelaide has one of the largest concentration of pubs in the city centre, a number of them has struggled to survive, and unfortunately one of the pubs on this list has succumbed to that fate.

The Botanic Bar

1) Botanic Bar
Located at the corner of East and North Terrace, this was the start of our trek. Okay, it's probably not the best pub in Adelaide (though there certainly are worse) but it seems to have been progressively been going downhill ever since the first time I was dragged here by some friends and set up with some unknown woman in the nightclub. They used to have a really cool bar out the back with another, hidden, bar attached to it. I say that because when I was here with some friends having a drink we would watch people go behind a curtain and not come out. While we were wondering what had happened to them one of us decided to take the plunge and look behind the curtain himself, and when he didn't come out we became a little worried. It turned out to be okay because it was just another bar hidden away from the rest of the pub. Oh, I should also mention that there is a painting of my all time favourite dictator on the wall - Napoleon.

The Stag

2) The Stag
Apparently this is was voted as Adelaide's worst vegetarian restaurant, at least that is what the banner that hung from the balcony stated. While I wasn't there, I've heard that they changed the banner to say 'Now we serve vegetarians'. Well, from what I gather, if you are a vegetarian then this is not the place to visit. Apparently even if you order a chicken salad everybody looks at you as if you were strange. I have been here for a meal once, but I can't remember what I ordered - most likely it was steak because that is what they claim they specialise in (and I can't even tell you if it is any good). However, what I do remember is that I wanted to go into the nightclub for a dance but they wouldn't let me in because I wasn't dressed appropriately, which is when I grabbed one of my female friends and gave it another shot - and it worked! So, it is true, if you are with an attractive woman, it doesn't matter how you are dressed, you can get into anywhere (unless, of course, you are wearing nothing but underpants).

The Producers

3) The Producers
I had never heard of this place until a friend of my gave me a call one night and asked me if I wanted to come out and have some drinks with some friends. Well, that couple of drinks turned out to be a night that lasted until the first train in the morning when we watched the last of our group head off home. However, that night left this place permanently embedded in my mind. At later times I returned to discover a rip-roaring night club going on, but that has long since gone. Still, I quite like this place because the beer garden out the back will forever remind me of that first night I came here.

Fortunately for me, I have never been barred from this pub, which meant that I didn't end up grabbing a mostly unfinished drink from a table outside - something that I wouldn't do in any case.

The Crown and Anchor

4) The Crown and Anchor
Now this pub holds lots of memories because there was a time when I would pretty much spend every Saturday night sitting at the bar with my friend drinking beer and talking about absolutely nothing. This place has a vibe all of its own and everybody seems to accept you for who you are (though you won't find any people in suits here - actually, you probably will because the Cranker is that type of pub). I even remember sitting at one of the tables late one night when guys would come past trying to sell us various different things (or looking to buy stuff). Mind you, I was put off this place for a while, but that was probably because I had spent way too much time here, but now, all I can say is 'the good old Crown and Anchor'.

Fortunately for me, when I went into the toilet in this pub I didn't get into a fight with a teenager resulting in a bunch of alien robots charging after me.

The Exeter

5) The Exeter
Well, so far it seems like all of the pubs that I have visited hold some special memory for me, and the Exeter is no exception. Okay, not all of them are good, but that is not the pub's fault because the pub has always been good to me (except for the fact that it can be nigh impossible to find a seat at times). Okay, it may not be the Cranker, but it still has that same vibe that the Cranker (that is the Crown and Anchor) has, though it tends to be a lot more crowded than the former place. They even have this beer garden out the back, which once again becomes really crowded and can be very hard finding a seat. Still, this is one of 'The Pubs' in Adelaide.

The Austral

6) The Austral
Well, as you can see from the photo above, this place is pretty much jammed packed full of people, so once again, good luck finding a seat. Actually that is not as big a problem as it appears to be because I have always managed to find a seat in one of the bars around the side where the pool tables are located, which is funny because I would have expected that to be the more popular part of the bar. They used to have a beer garden as well where live bands would play, that is until the developers moved in and threw some apartments up nearby. They still have live bands, but this time inside.

The Griffins

7) The Griffins Head
This used to be one of my favourite pubs in Adelaide, if only because it was next to the bus stop that I used to get home. However things appear to have changed in the years since I would sit outside on the benches having a quiet beer and reading my book. I remember coming here and having a beef schnitzel for my farewell work lunch, however when I returned a year later all of the sudden those schnitzel's had vanished - it was now a gastro-pub. I guess this place will still hold some fond memories, even though the cheap beers and pub grub has gone. Oh, and standing on the balcony people watching was one of the great things that we would do back in those days.

Oh, and we didn't get into a fight with some robots masquerading as a couple of girls we knew from our younger days, which is always a good thing.

The James Place Hotel

8) The James Place Hotel
I wonder why they decided to change the name from the Marakesh to the James Place hotel - maybe because they wanted it to reflect more on its location. However, I preferred the old name because it gave this little pub hidden on one of Adelaide's side alleys a character all of its own. I still find this place a nice, quiet little place to visit, with a small bar up on the second story (ignoring the pokie machines on ground floor) where I would occasionally stop by and have a beer after work. I still remember the time when we landed up here late at night after were had been kicked out of the other pub we were frequenting (namely because it was closing) and then spending the rest of the night sitting at the table in a smoke filled haze.

Unfortunately for us there was no marmalade sandwich here that night.

The London Tavern

9) The London Tavern
Well, maybe this is no longer the pub that we would spend the last friday night of the school term playing pool and drinking beer, but it is still one of those pubs that hold good memories. These days it is a restaurant that offers decently priced food, and at night (or at least on Friday and Saturday nights) it transforms itself into a nightclub. The problem is that it tends to be one of those teenie nightclubs where high school students attempt to sneak in with their fake IDs. Even thought I am much older than the main patrons in this pub, I still have had some good nights sitting in the booths, or even getting out and partying on the dance floor.

Mind you, the night I came past here with my friend the pub was closed for a private function, so unfortunately I had to skip this one, however I made it up by visiting another bar that had recently opened on Hindley Street.

The Strathmore

10) The Strathmore
This can be a funny pub at times because late at night they close the bar off to all us regular people and only have people working 'in the industry' come in and have a drink. I do remember one night hanging around with one of those guys and it is amazing some of the doors that he managed to open for us, especially getting us into pubs that we normally wouldn't be able to get into. I've even had a friend get kicked out of this place, though it is still beyond me what he actually did. However, this place has had a bit of a make over in recent years and was incredibly crowded when we arrived. Still we managed to find a seat. Hey, the beer garden out the back was pretty cool.

Fortunately I didn't run into one of my high school principles, which is always a good thing because I really didn't want to have another lecture on how I had mucked up my life (yes, I know, that was supposed to be in pub number nine, but remember The London Tavern was closed, so technically this was a ninth pub we visited - such is life).

The Duke

11) The Duke
Okay, it is actually known as 'The Duke of York' but as has been the fad in recent years many of the pubs have truncated their names so that it is much easier to roll off the tongue. You have to admit it, 'Lets go to the Duke' is much easier to say than 'lets go to the Duke of York', though there are other pubs that probably need it more than this pub does (such as The Cumberland Arms becoming the Cumby). Still, enough of that because you probably want to hear about this pub. Well, first of all a picture tells a thousand words (or so the cliche goes):

Posters in The Duke
Yep, we have to think about the kids
This is that sort of pub: a magnate for the student crowd who come here for cheap beer, cheap food, and live bands. Hey, I really like this place - I always have because of the culture that has developed here. Inside there are a number of nice comfy places to sit, but it is the beer garden that I love the most. I is large, it is where the bands play, and even has a massive Buddha head in the centre. I've even been here for a couple of work functions, and have always found myself downstairs in the beer garden as the night began to wind down - great pub.

Oh, and still no alien robots, or at least they weren't making themselves known (probably because I hadn't picked a fight with any of them).

The Worldsend

12) The Worldsend
And here we have it - the final pub of the night and the one at the end of the 'Epic Pub Crawl'. I've been here before so I wasn't expecting all that much, however, as it turned out this was a pretty epic pub. They had certainly changed a lot since I was last here with the addition of a beer garden, a balcony looking over the said beer garden, and a live rock band thundering away. What was even better was when I arrived here with my friend, the balcony (as small as it was) was empty which meant that we had an awesome view of the band below and we were not having to deal with trying to find a seat (because there was only one table, and a ledge running along the balustrade). So, despite not running into any aliens, nor finding ourselves in an alien spaceship hidden under the pub after pulling the wrong beer tap, this was still an epic night (though not one worthy of a movie by Edgar Wright).

However, since the night finished off with a live rock band, I'll finish this post off with Def Leppard playing 'Pour Some Sugar on Me' live in Denver Colorado.

Not surprisingly, this post also appears on my travel blog.

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12 pubs (but skipping the 12 pints) - Adelaide's Golden Mile by David Sarkies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. All images on this post are © and/or ™ their relevant owners. If you are the owner of any of the images used on this website and wish them to be removed then please contact me.

World's End Poster: Source Wikipedia used under the fair use provisions to provide an illustration as to the film to which is being referred.