The Travels of a Gentleman Taff 2005 travel blog

We left Adelaide last night at the end of a very long day. It started as many long days do the night before, during which I slept intermittently on the too small (even for my tiny arse) seats, leaving me feeling lethargic all day. I couldn't read or write or think and didn't feel like speaking, so eavesdropped on the conversation behind me, between some mouthy Aussie bint and an elderly couple travelling to Adelaide. The old chap is about 90 and having moved here 60 years ago and met and married his Aussie sweetheart, had lived here ever since, but still sounded very Greek. They sang alng to all the old songs (in that slightly warbly, tuneless way that old people do) and fell asleep in each other's arms as the train got dark. One of their sons was into "politics and good causes and all that stuff" and to hear his old man speak it was no wonder why. He could hold court on any subject from Shapelle Corby to the growth of urban sprawl with quiet authority, and I wished if I get old, that I'll be like that falling asleep with my "old girl".

The bint annoyed me because she had no thoughts of her own and even though her conversations all started like; "Isn't it terrible what those Indonesians have done to that poor girl....?" etc, she ended up agreeing with whatever diametrically opposed view the old gent countered with, in a way as if to suggest that's what she thought all along. She was nice enough in her own way; but her kind of nice is dangerous, like the nice Germans in the 1930's.

Anyway, I hated everyone yesterday, the only high spot was Broken Hill, which was exactly what small towns should be like. I had a huge breakfast served to me by a lovely Maltese lady (whose Aussie husband was ACTUALLY called BRUCE), before travelling through, what surely be the most ugly part of Australia so far; South Australia's scrubby, ugly, not quite, desert. The highlight was Peterborough (population 1680), a town grim enough to make it's English namesake look like Paris. If Michael Hutchence hadn't been such a tosser he'd have chosen here to top himself.

Arriving in Adelaide promises much but delivers little. I haven't the energy to go into town and plan to have a kip on the empty train, only to discover it is being sent to be washed for 2 hours, leaving me in the Keswick Train Terminal (Interstate). If there is a Swindon in hell, this is what the train station will be like. I have a couple of beers and read 'Time Magazine',(there is a story about the Aussie SAS shooting Afghans which is causing quite a stir at present) and plough through "The Australian", a riotously funny (almost always intentionally) read, with stories that remind me of the South Wales Echo, in a sort of "man bites off policeman's ear" way, although the letter's page is far superior, written as it is by humans rather than simeon members of the BNP.

We board after a short ceremony of welcome led by a 'crazy' Dutchman, who appears to be in charge of the train and I'm ready to forgive Australians anything, when the nearby seats are occupied by two whiny English backpackers, whose estuarine drivelling is trumped only by the idiocy of a 'big golah' from WA who joins them. The conversation is like "Waiting for Godot" performed by "The 3 Stooges". They are only saved from a rabid taff-bite by the proximity of the 'smoking capsule'; I shelter as the whining of the extractor fan soothes me and rock gently back and forth in the corner.

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