Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Riding the Rattler (2)
The second half of this journey began at breakfast as we rolled across the Nullarbor.
The quality of both the food and the alacrity with which it was served was maintained. Part of the fun is interacting with fellow passengers, and on our train they were an interesting lot.
Apart from retirees and baby boomers spending their offsprings' inheritance, there was a sprinkling of tourists from Japan, Singapore and Europe, and a few backpackers. I was intrigued by a Japanese couple who carried all types of camera gear, and spent a lot of time leaping about to get unique shooting angles. I reckon they're preparing some publication or another.
Quite a few people seemed to be combining a journey on the Ghan with the Indian Pacific experience. I like trains, but two journeys of this length at once would have to induce a specific variety of cabin fever.
Don't get me wrong, travelling this way is relaxing - almost meditative, but the distances are vast.
We got off (detrained???) for a bit at Kalgoorlie, where we looked at brothels and a big hole in the ground. The mine was much more interesting than the brothels, and the bloke who mooned the bus as it went past added to the colour, if not the spectacle.
Kalgoorlie reminded me of Mt Isa. It's not the scenic capital of Australia, and like Mt Isa, looks much better at night. The floodlit open cut looked ike something out of Dante's inferno. There were signs everywhere explaining how the mining companies diigently rehabilitate the landscape once the area is mined out. I wish them luck rehabilitating this big hole.
They'd have to dig up half of Kalgoorlie to get enough fill.
Like many mining towns, drinking and brawling are popular pastimes. Again - reminds me of Mt Isa. In the Isa it was advisable to drink in the clubs, not the pubs, and if you were forced to drink in a pub, to avoid those where the furniture was bolted to the floor.
We swanned (pun intended) into Perth mid-morning. Apart from a dearth of taxis at the rail terminal, we had no hassles collecting our rented household appliance (a brand new Hyundai) and finding our B & B.
Now it's time to explore the sunny South West.
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