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Back on the train...

sunny 40 °C

This is going to be a 2-day entry as we are spending most of it on the Ghan again, so I don't think much will be happening.Our morning was spent in Alice doing mundane stuff like packing and returning the hire car. After that we lazed around the pool waiting for our 3pm pickup to take us to the station. When we arrived, I ran up to the front of the train to get a photo of it (stupid idea in 40° heat), although I came to the swift realisation that aesthetics weren't high on the priorities when designing the engines. I don't know, where's the effort?
After a reasonable amount of sleep (thanks to a "bit" of wine), the train pulled into Katherine, which is the largest town between Alice Springs and Darwin. As we were there for 4 hours, we paid the $9 fee to get a lift in to town. There's not a lot to say about it; it's small, it was hot and it was very humid. The great thing is that THERE WERE NO FLIES!!! (or at least not enough to raise our blood pressure). There is one other notable thing about Katherine, running down the main street are a number of tannoys, pumping out music from the local radio station. Nice idea, but I for one don't want Dr Fox pumping out as I wander around Leicester Square.

Eventually we arrived in Darwin and caught the courtesy bus to the YHA (woo hoo! A freebie!) and headed straight out to grab something to eat. We decided on a pub that did $8 jugs of beer for YHA members :) although that night they had free to bingo on, so naturally we entered. In the first round, Heather won a $25 voucher to spend at the pub on food or drinks - that paid for our meal. The second round was $25 cash, which I won - that paid for the rest of the night :) Woo hoo! Even more freebies!

Posted by jefranklin 21:00 Archived in Australia Tagged trains backpacking round_the_world Comments (0)

A long and painful 20 hours

View Backpacking 2006 on jefranklin's travel map.

Today we had a few days to kill before we got on the Ghan, so we decided to check out Casanova at the movies (actually, Heather decided it would be Casanova - I wanted to see Jarhead). I guess the movie was ok if you like romantic comedies, about 4 out of 10.
Eventually we boarded the Ghan. The train itself was an experience; during our China holiday in 2004, we experienced soft sleeper class, I guess we have now experienced hard seating (look in blog archives for a reminder).Unfortunately, we had to experience it for 20 hours. The staff however were friendly and provided a decent service. We did have someone in front of us that snored loudly for 18 of the 20 hours, making it impossible for us to sleep. All in all, the Ghan in cattle class is not something I would want to repeat. Hmm, we've got our trip from Alice to Darwin next week...
Alice Springs itself isn't too bad. We went to a pub called Bojangles, which must have been targetting tourists because the beers were $5 each and the food was approaching Sydney prices, so we had just the one there and moved on to an English theme pub. Maybe they don't get many English backpackers in Alice Springs, because out of the dozen beers, 10 were Australian, one was Harp (Irish) and the other was Newcastle Brown (which I'll let them have). There was I hoping for Old Speckled Hen :(
Finally, we decided to pull up stumps and head back to the YHA where we were staying, stopping off en-route for a cheap pizza. Time to sleep...

Posted by jefranklin 16:00 Archived in Australia Tagged trains backpacking round_the_world Comments (0)

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