Sep 14, 2006
??? ??, 2007
. I met a Geordie girl, Lorraine, and a Northants guy Adrian pretty quickly and we got settled in the lounge area. Thankfully there is an extra carriage with sofas and newspapers for us to use. At 10pm we arrived in the gold-mining town of Kalgoorlie. The train stops for four hours so I decided to do the whistle stop bus tour and dragged Lorraine along. Adrian simply went to the pub with some of the others including Scroopy - a retired train driver who knows the route like the back of his hand. I don't know what I expected from a bus tour in darkness around a small town but it was more than what we got. It was a truly awful tour - we did drive-bys of all the main pubs and hotels and I wished I was inside them and not in this bus! Then we visited a working gold mine called the Super-Pit. It was dark and I could see trucks driving around the bottom of a big black hole - great! Then came the grand-finale of the bus tour - more drive-bys of the three remaining and working brothels in Kalgoorlie. I cringed as we slowed and drove passed. Working girls would normally stand in doorways to the brothel but on seeing the tour bus they simply turn their backs on us. I don't blame them since they must be subjected to bus-loads of curious pensioners every other night. Their silent protest went unacknowledged by the microphone touting bus driver and we returned to the train.
On Tuesday 17th I switched to the YHA hostel in Perth and caught up with some blogging. I also changed a train ticket that meant I could leave Perth the following day. So on Wednesday I got on the Indian Pacific from Perth - Adelaide. I have bought a six months unlimited train pass on the major Australian rail routes. That's great for me as it gets me around Australia until I leave in September and also gives me the experiences of two more classic rail journeys - the Indian Pacific and the Ghan. I arrived at East Perth station early and got checked in - a little like boarding a plane! My carriage was at the rear of the huge train. There are literally dozens of gold class carriages with plush sleeper accommodation. And then there is the single carriage at the back with the cheap seats! Still all the back packers go that way so it was the only option. The gold class customers are generally Australian pensioners doing the trip they always wanted to. We are expected to sleep in our seats and were instructed to bring blankets and pillows