Published: January 16th 2007January 16th 2007
Me, me da, and me bro
The happy family pre-departure.
Well then, it has finally happened. I’ve escaped Townsville (no insult intended to all those left behind) and started the supposed ‘adventure of a lifetime’. So far the experience has been fairly unglamorous, however I’m sure that as soon as my feet hit Thailand the feeling will sink in. So you ask, what’s happened so far.
After the totally awesome (up until I fell asleep) going away party last week I spent my time saying fond goodbyes to my friends and family until my overnight train to Gladstone on the Thursday. By some chance of fate, or at the very least by careful planning on her part, Jeff’s sister Shelley was also on the same train! This turned out to be a godsend as otherwise I would have been totally without entertainment. To while away the hours before bed time, the two of us sat in the club car chatting away and watching the rest of the train attempt to break the world record for smoking as many cigarettes as possible during the two minute stops at each station. Seriously, I’ve never seen so many people lining up at the carriage doors with cancers sticking out of their mouths eagerly
Bernard and Dazz
Bernard and Dazz at my base in Gladstone.
awaiting the moment at which they can successfully jump off the moving train and roll to a stop without hurting any of their body parts that they need to do all the smoking with or breaking their precious lighters. It was like an action movie! Then they all run the required four meters away from the platform while simultaneously lighting up. I swear that some of them were on to their second before the train came to a complete stop. Who knows what they do on an international flight; judging by their enthusiasm they probably think that they can survive opening up the plane’s door so long as they are quick enough about it.
But enough of me and my high horse. The really interesting sequence of events from the train came from the chance encounter we had with a friendly elderly couple. We started out by having a good dig at the smokers but after a while we were natting away about all sorts of problems in the world. Eventually though, the husband was telling a story of how he took his wife back to the place where he was conceived (as he so romantically put it) which as it turned out was an old gold mine in Western Australia. As a retirement the two of them prospected the old site (including a dashing pair of his-and-hers front end loaders) which all sounded fairly novel to me. I felt it prudent to ask how much gold they found in the supposedly empty mines and he off-handedly mentioned a sum of around $2 million! All this time we had been talking to a pair of multi-millionaires in what I could only have described as a pauper’s means of transportation (I only took the train because it was cheap, O my brothers). However, as my dear dad will know, once you’re a train-nut you’ll always be a train-nut as was the case here. So, all in all, I can now say that I’ve met a couple of rich and famous types who were nice, friendly and fun to be around. Something to aspire to one thinks.
Once in Gladstone (at the ungodly hour of 6:30am; which apparently does exist?) I went to stay with my mate Jason who very quickly passed me off to two other friends of mine, Dazz and Danita. I did the obligatory swim at Tannum Sands and oh, how wonderful it was to sit in the warm sea once again while feeling my fluorescent light induced pasty-white skin tan up just a fraction. I really had missed those weekend swims, something I shall most definitely rectify in the year ahead. Just as it started, the weekend continued to be a pleasant reminder of what life is like sans-thesis. A couple of parties really hit the spot and I met lots of nice new friends, a shame that they live in Gladstone really. Now, on the Saturday night the second chance encounter of the trip transpired. I was walking between a Thai restaurant (yes I know, I shouldn’t have jumped the gun but sod it) and a pub when a bike rider came towards us. Instantly I recognised that it was Bernard, an old friend from uni, whom was as far as I knew was not located in Gladstone. If I had I would have let him know I was in town. I spent a fair bit of time catching up with him on the Sunday which was fantastic as I’ve always gotten on well with him.
I’m going to end the detailed stories there, I must keep some small things private for later story telling.
Oh, thanks for the book Fitzy. I read most of it on the tilt-train and as you may have noticed from this journal it has had no small effect on me.
New friends met so far: 8
Music of the day: Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds (great for inducing sleep on trains)