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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

The Sunlander

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 13 January 2007 | Views [2010]

Ready to board the Sunlander, bound for Brisbane

Ready to board the Sunlander, bound for Brisbane

            Today was my 5th day in sunny, beautiful Australia. I woke up at 5:30 and finished packing my bag. I was exhausted because I only slept three hours last night. I checked out of my hostel and started walking toward the train station. I walk everywhere because taxis cost an arm and a leg. It was about a 45 minute walk to the station and it was bloody hot out. When I got there, I talked with this older couple from Mackay. They were telling me they’ve traveled extensively around Australia. I got myself a sausage roll and a Diet Coke. I got my ticket at 7:30 and got on the train. On the train, I met this very pretty girl from Japan. She studies in Townsville and is going back there. I waited for an hour on the train realizing how much I’m going to miss Cairns, even though it’s very hot and humid. My journey up here was simply magical. At 8:30, the train journey was under way. As we moved south on board the Sunlander, I saw some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen here in Australia. The tropical landscape is so green. At 9:30 AM, I got myself a Diet Coke and a muffin and just enjoyed the scenery and greenery. A passenger pointed out that this area is where the big cyclone (hurricane in the US) hit last year and destroyed all the banana plantations. I took some photos through the window, of Australia’s beautiful countryside. At 10:30, we stopped at Innisfail. We had a few minutes to stretch our legs before moving on. Aboard the train, I met a man named Kato. He lives here in Australia but is originally from New Zealand. He is of Maori descent. We passed through many kilometers of sugar cane fields before stopping in Townsville. It was raining. It was a tropical rain and we had a half hour to burn. I got out, waved my arms and sang and danced in the warm, tropical rain; just like the commercial. I felt like I was taking a shower, only with all my clothes on. I then got a photo of myself in front of the Townsville sign.

At 4 PM, we continued on. I played my Nintendo DS and watched this beautiful land of Australia pass me by. I took a short nap for about a half hour. When I woke up, the scenery had changed dramatically. We began moving along the outer fringe of the Outback and everything was brown instead of green, even though we were still in the tropical north. This is the closest I’ve ever gotten to the Outback. I could see the landscape for many miles across. One of these days, I hope to get deep into the Outback and see Uluru! We stopped at Ayr next before continuing on. At 6:30 I had dinner. I had pasta with sauce topped with parmesan cheese. It was expensive ($10.50), but it was a generous portion and it was very good! The dining car is a great place to relax in, have a drink, watch TV, or watch the scenery go by!

As I ate I could not take my eyes off this beautiful landscape. Let me tell you something, many people at home seem to think of Australia as one big desert, but there is so much more! I think after showing off these pictures, they’ll eat those words. After dinner I ate dessert, having a chocolate mud cake. The food on here is ridiculously priced, but oh well. Sometimes it’s hard to enjoy a trip if all I’m worried about is saving money. It got dark out and I could see nothing but darkness around me. People joke about often how much of Australia is vast nothingness. Well the part I was going through definitely is! I then sat with this beautiful girl named Holly. The one great thing about this train ride is that it is almost entirely locals. It’s not flooded with tourists like everywhere else I’ve been. I get to talk to them about their travels and hear genuine good ol’ Aussie stories. I’m alone on this trip, but I don’t feel alone at all. I’ve been hanging out with whoever I meet on my journey. I’m one of those guys who feel that Australia is my home and all its people are my friends. At 10:30 PM, we stopped at Mackay and we had a half hour to waste. I hung out with some folks (a family) from Brisbane and took some night photos. One of the girl’s names is Zoey, and she’s really beautiful. She was traveling with her mother, sister, and her child. Holly left the train and I gave her a hug and told her she could stay at my house if she comes to America. Tonight I have to sleep sitting up because the train is full, and to make it even more difficult I don't have a window seat (nothing to lean my head against). I didn’t want to spend the money for a sleeper car because it’s like double the price, and I could take a tour with the money I’d spend on that. For a while I hung out with Kato and this big Aussie bloke named “Jumbo.” So, tomorrow I see Jessica Cadd, a girl from high school who I haven’t seen in almost five years! Either I’ll see her tomorrow or on the 15th, but maybe tomorrow! As I was trying to sleep, the kids in the front were very loud and Jumbo yelled at them, because he was trying to sleep. Kids can be a handful I reckon. I’m going to try to sleep, if the kids in front of me can calm down.

Tags: planes trains & automobiles

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