Tuesday, April 2, 2013

And Perth Back to Adelaide

31 March to 2 April 2013

You'd think a 2,659 kilometer journey in one direction would be a repeat of the same journey in the opposite direction.

Actually, it isn't!  (Surprised me, too.)

We were on the same side of the train, which meant we were on the opposite side of the route.  Just for starters.

Also, we left at a different time of day than we had arrived - so we saw things during daylight that we had previously passed during the night.  So we saw some totally new places.

And, while we saw the same kinds of animals, each animal encounter is in an entirely different way, in a different places.  So seeing the animals was totally different.

Plus, we had a different crew - and they have a different spiel that they give.  I have some new facts:

- Our train was 29 cars long.

- That's a length of nearly 700 meters - almost 3/4 of a kilometer!

- We had three cars that are crew cars, with approximately 200 crew members.

- We had only one car that was the Red Day/Nighter seats - that's where we were.  Everyone else was in the posh Gold or Platinum cabins.

We even recognized fellow passengers from the Adelaide to Perth train trip, and talked about our time in Perth, what we did, where we stayed, where we went - all that stuff.  (And yes, Crazy Lady was on the train, but very fortunately for us was not sitting directly in back of us!  Whew!  However, Bushy, the late-to-the-train sheep shearing guy, was nowhere to be seen.  He may have missed the train.)

So no, we weren't bored at all!
Yes, it's a long journey.  Not exactly tiring, because there's plenty of time to sleep.  There isn't a lot of room to move around, but we had a stop each day so there was time to get out and walk a bit.

We left about 1 PM on Sunday, so we arrived in Kalgoorlie at 9 PM, and left about 1 AM.  (Kalgoorlie is about the same no matter what time you're there!)  

This meant we went through prime kangaroo country in the morning - and saw kangaroo after kangaroo after kangaroo!  It was thrilling to see mobs of 'roos jumping along, practically racing the train!  Others would stop and watch us go by - and several roos apparently hopped the fence, because they were extremely close to the train and really did look into the windows as we sped by.  There were small grey wallabies, bigger dusty brown kangaroos, medium sized light brown or grey-brown kangaroos, and the occasional Big Red, the largest kangaroo - they get up to nearly 6 feet tall (or 2 meters, depending on how you measure) and even sitting by the side of the train track they are imposing figures!

I started out keeping track of the number of kangaroos I saw, but lost count at about 20 or so.  And that was early in the morning - I'd guestimate we saw at least 75 to 100 that morning!!!  Absolutely amazing!!!  Some of the photos are supposed to have some kangaroos in there, but, well, when we're speeding one way and they're going the other way, they don't always show up in photos.
Then there were the camels - four huge dust-colored camels - who were maybe a meter or two from the tracks!!!!  Seriously, it felt like we'd bump their tails or noses, we were that close!  They filled the window as we zoomed by!  We were in the cafĂ© car as we went by, and when I spotted them I yelled "Camels!" and everyone jumped up and looked out our side - and the train manager said we were very lucky to see them, they're rarely seen, especially that close!  Woohooo, camels!!!!  (And yes, there are an estimated one million camels out there in the Nullarbor.) 

 Of course, there was the requisite dingo trotting by later in the day, looking over his shoulder as we went by, meeting my eye and almost smiling in that doggy way they have.  He looked younger and better nourished than the dingo I saw on the way out to Perth - which, even though that means he's probably killing baby 'roos, still made me feel happier for him.  I'm a sucker for animals in the wild, even predators.

And I braved another train shower - at least we were on the straight part of the rails, and 
I didn't fall into the wall again.  Oh, another interesting fact - this train line has the single longest section of 100% straight no-turns rail in the world - something like 480 kilometers of absolutely straight track!

We rolled into Adelaide about 7 AM today, 2 April; collected our luggage; and took a taxi back to our motel/backpackers.  We're even in our same room, with all 5 beds.  It's comfortable, it's inexpensive, and it's in a great location.
And Adelaide looks familiar!  We have our old haunts to visit, new places to discover, and of course another festival to attend!  Because Adelaide is the City of Festivals!


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