The Ghan (II)

Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
Trip End Jan 08, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Northern Territory,
Monday, October 17, 2011

The Ghan may be comfortable, but I failed to sleep much during the night. I used to be able to sleep anywhere, but no more; a sign of age, I guess.

Things started well, but I only managed a couple of hours before being woken up by the constant stuttering of the train as it stopped and started throughout the night, At about 1am, I gave up trying to get some kip and decided to watch some tv on my laptop. I'd had the foresight to load up my hard drive with some movies and tv series for the slow moments, just like this. So, what might you ask do you think I might have watched to help me relax and possibly send me back to sleep? The Walking Dead. What possessed me to watch a series about zombies on a train full of people that I didn’t know?? I was never going to get to sleep after that! Eventually, I ended up with about 4 hours sleep in total.

At 9:20 this morning – 21 hours into the journey – we finally left South Australia and crossed over into the Northern Territory. Let me make sure you understand what I’m saying: It took us TWENTY ONE hours to leave the state. Just how big is this country? And we’re still 5 hours from Alice Springs, which maps misleadingly put as just over the border. Yeah, right.

Here’s a burning question that has finally been answered. What do you do if you have a guide dog on a long distance train journey? Obviously the dog can’t use the toilets like we do, so what’s the solution? Well, the train is stopped (more than once I might add) to take the dog for a walk so that he can do his business. Yes, seriously.

Lots of red dust on the way, which became a little monotonous. Despite having things pointed out to us, like The Fink River, supposedly the oldest river in the world, they merely served to prove how drab the countryside had become. In the instance of The Fink River, this was because, despite being the 'oldest’ river in the world (just how on earth is that measured?), it was bone dry. That’s right there was not a drop of water in it, and when I say no water, I mean there was nothing, zip, nada. Oddly enough, the only things in the river bed were some camels (though I didn’t see them).

Finally, we arrived in Alice on time – 26 hours after departing from Adelaide. I will never complain about long journeys ever again. Although to be fair, I can’t think of a single journey in Europe that would be longer (voyages by ship don’t count). Anyway, I’m in the red centre of Australia. Time to see what it’s all about.
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Yolanda on

oooh loved the thing about dogs!!! how nice indeed! :)

Yolanda on

Afterthought: I was spent 36 hours on a bus drive from Barcelona to Slovakia, how you like that!!!! But I was young haha very young

kyzia on

So, George, just how many dogs used the service? I'm fascinated!
Though I'm a great train lover, myself, I'm not sure I'm a taker for that ride.So glad you're doing it for me, I'm taking notes for my next trip.

georgegoode on

Kyzia, as far as I could tell it was just the one dog. Special treatment for being a guide dog I suppose. The strange thing was that the train didn't stop at any stations for the dog - it just stopped anywhere on the line and took him out. I'm not sure if the dog had super powers to let them know that he needed to go!

Paul BB on

What you saw was part of what we call the "GAFA" which stands for the Great Australian F--- All

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