Monday 30th July
Weather: Beautiful sunshine!
I woke up at 6am to catch a 7.30am train express from Brisbane to Sydney. I was getting off at Casino, NSW.
My taxi driver arrived early, and I think started the meter as soon as he arrived, as I felt the charge was rather steep considering the fact that we met no traffic and sailed through all the lights.
I tried not to let that bother me, and was pleased to have time to buy breakfast and a coffee on my way to the platform. I wasn’t pleased to walk up the broken escalator, with all my luggage, and find no café on the platform and have to retrace my steps back to the entrance to buy said coffee and toast. But I tried not to let that bother me either.
In fact, my spirits were high indeed. I was getting an apparently very scenic train to stay with a relative who I had never met to spend 5 days on her small cattle stud in the heart of New South Wales north coast.
I found my seat next to a boy with headphones. Let a man much older than suitable help put my bag above and settled in for the ride. The boy with headphones didn’t seem to mind me sitting there, although he was in my window seat. Again, I let that go over my head and started on my spilt coffee and soggy toast.
As the train sidled out of Brisbane announcements were made regarding our arrival times at each destination. This seemed a bit futile since we were departing later than scheduled.
Tickets were checked, and people moved seats to make themselves more comfortable. For some reason I didn’t bother to do this and I still can’t really understand why.
The countryside was beautiful once we had got out of suburbia and into NSW. The hills were rolling in almost mountainous shapes as we swung through valleys, past farms with horses and cows grazing on the lush green pastures. This is a novelty to me, since despite the bush being relatively “green” at the moment; it is incredibly dry in comparison with where I was racing through.
The journey went relatively quickly and pleasant though it was, I was quite pleased I wasn’t going all the way to Sydney, which was another 11 hours!
On this visit I met a family member I didn’t know I had and enjoyed an afternoon and evening chilling out at her West End gaff enjoying the simple pleasures of good wine and good company which is something one seldom gets the opportunity to do in the bush!
The following day I enjoyed the Aussie life I have been waiting to have. I got picked up by a friend, and we jumped in the car, surfboard in the back and headed down to the waves on the Gold Coast. This is what I want: freedom to just jump in a car and ride off to wherever I like.
I didn’t surf, I watched. Despite having lived in Australia now for almost 10 months, I have not yet been in sea with good surf (Port Phillip Bay doesn’t have waves!), let alone got onto a surfboard. So I stayed watching fish jump out of the water, surfers catching waves and sun sparkling on the turquoise ocean. It was a wonderful moment to be in Australia.
Note to the world and to myself, I cannot, I repeat absolutely cannot, leave Australia until I have lived on the beach and at least had a surfing lesson. If I went home lean, fit and good at surfing, that would be awesome, but one day at a time….