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The Paroissien Diaries

The Greyhound, the Camel and the Rhino

AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 16 February 2012 | Views [690] | Comments [1]

The GreyHound, the Camel and the Rhino

I always struggle starting off these blogs and so until I find my ‘writers voice’  I’m afraid you’re going to have to deal with a steady stream of consciousness. It’s taken me a while to muster the energy to get back in the blog game and not because I have nothing to write about but mainly because of the addictive games on my ipod. There’s this ninja fishing game that has the potential to ruin this entire trip; I won’t see anything as I’ll be listening to tunes and slashing raw fish gathering gold coins as I go.

Ninja Fishing aside, just for the moment, what exactly are we doing for our honeymoon? Thus far the plan is to make it to the UK, Cornwall to be exact, only taking one plane ride. This means that for the next four months we’ll be bussing, training, riding, walking and boating our way through Australia, South East Asia, China, Russia and Europe. Our rough itinerary goes something like Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin, Bali, Java, Sumatra, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Honk Kong, Beijing, Ulan Bator, Russia, Latvia, Poland, Germany, Paris, London and Cornwall. Which, aside from the visa issues, should be a relatively straight forward hum dinger of a tour.

Thus far we have managed to complete the Australian part of the leg which was juicy and tender and full of hilarity.

The GreyHound.- Melbourne to Adelaide- 8.30pm- 6.00am

It is a fact that to become a bus driver in Australia you have to have a few special qualities. You must be over 50, be fiercly nationalistic, have graying hair and an accent that is ocha but understandable. You must always have your grayish/blue socks pulled up past your knees, wear blue shorts, an akubra,  and have a love not only for your job but for your bus. Bill definitely ticked all those boxes. Everyone sat to attention as he regaled us with stories of bus trips gone by, of near misses and his two pet dogs- Pete and Kieth. Ammusingly though, Bill had had some issues with the bus toilet.

“Now, listen very carefully, this is not rocket science, when you have used the toilet please flush the toilet. It’s a pump system so you gotta pump hard to get rid of everything. If you don’t pump hard it’s not gonna go down the hole. Do you understand me? Check the bowl before you leave- cause if I find some nuggets in that bowl that aren’t gold then im gonna to get cross.” And so on and so forth.

As Beth had left our overnight picnic in the fridge at home there was nothing for dinner but a three course serving of temazapan and before you could say ‘drug induced coma’ we had arrived in Adelaide.

Hang on hang on, in a move of pure genius to wake us up from our slumber before we arrived in Adeliade Bill played us- at full volume- Waltzing Matilda. What a legend. Here’s a man that is clearly going beyond the call of duty. I have since changed my alarm bell to ‘Waltzing Matilda’ in honor of Bill and his two dogs Pete and Keith.

Right. To Adeliade.
Many a Melbournian has criticized Adeliade in their time and so I was curious to see what the hype was all about (although many Melbournians have critized Tasmania and they were clearly wrong about that place!). Anyhow, Adelaide at 6.am was going off! Rain, wind, thunder, homeless people, people from Greyhound buses and a 3 hour heritiage walk that took us 52 minutes. Despite the sarcasm, Adelaide had two things which cemented its nickname  RADALAIDE forever.   One: Maccas was going off and two bars were still cranking at 6.30 am- impressive. Two: the most radical thing, bus stops which had long since gotten rid of the boring bus bench and had replaced them with 4 different types of chair including an office chair, lounge chair, wooden seat and a 4th variety which slips my mind. Off the hook!

We finished Adelaide by preparing a picnic that would need to last us three days. It made Beth considerably nervous. “This isn’t like eating you lunch on the bus on the way to an excursion- we may need to ration this out!

The Camel- Adelaide to Darwin- 12.30pm, 5th of Feb to 6.00pm 7th of Feb.
I’ve called it the camel because the Ghan railway service was named after all the Afghan Camels that still roam the desert in their thousands- or so I’m told cause I didn’t see a single one. Bastards.

In a word the Ghan railway service is incredible. Even if you don’t like trains there is a chance you’ll like this trip. The scenery all the way up the heart of Australia was awesome. Interestingly and predictably there isn’t that much to see but I suppose that’s what is so good about it. Scenery wise you have your iconic red dirt which everyone is looking out for but this is interspersed with river valleys, mountain ranges, small green shrubs and a lot more green trees than you’d think. The animals we did see where roos, emus, an eagle, sheep and cattle. Although how anyone farms successfully on some of that land is beyond my knowledge.

Other highlights were:

-Rediscovering TUPAC on my Ipod and singing far too loudly ‘How long will they mourn me” in my best African American gangster voice.
-Cold beer on a train
-U.S Tourists comparing camera sizes- who has the biggest lense? Dickheads.
-Vetoing the tourist bus in Katherine and hitch hiking into town (did someone say Peter Falconio?)
- The indigenous man that picked us up and dropped us into town was cousins with Andrew fricken McLeod!


- On the first night when we went to bed we dropped our chairs back to their full length and a pungent smell of blue cheese and chorizo hit our noses like a steam train! The Yankee behind us had taken his shoes off and the foot odor was comparable to… incomparable! We took quick action by bringing our chairs up and having a sleeping pill and listening to harry potter on the pod.

- Alice Springs- I don’t want to get political but Alice Springs was a place that reminded me just how far we have to go in getting our nation back to equilibrium. Enough on that.

The Rhino

Ahh Darwin- the northern capital. We got off the bus in Darwin and there was Jessica Mauboy to greet us with a resounding rendition of Waltzing Matilda which brought a tear to my eye. After that we did what everyone else was doing in Darwin on a Tuesday night and went to the pub for pints while we waited for Rhino (Troy Ryan) to finish work so that we could have some more beers.

Highlights of the North include

- The front page of the newspaper ‘Huge Salty Found In Backyard’ and the croc watch section counting how many attacks this summer  baahahahah.
- Great Vietnamese restaurant- a wise choice before travelling through South East Asia.
- Pine and chrome pubs- everywhere!
- A pay as you go hair straightener in the girls toilet- hmmmmmm classy
-Rhino taking us to a bar called ‘wisdom’ ahh the irony.
- The botanical gardens which were lovely, though looked exactly the same as everywhere else in Darwin (green, tropical).
-Troy Ryan’s hospitality- what a host.

And that’s it really thus far! Speak to you when we finish Indo at the end of the month.




Sounds like the start of an amazing trip mate, congrats on getting married, we will have to grab a beer when u get back to melb!

  Daniel Poyner Feb 17, 2012 12:06 AM

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