Where to start… where to start… As I lugged my enormous suitcase up a flight of stairs to the train terminal I parked my tourist-y self in front of the booth and asked the questions that Dave suggested. Today I needed to get from Miranda, to Central, and then eventually to Newcastle where Jonesy would pick me up and be responsible for my behavior the next week or so. I began speaking and the smirk instantly began, my American accent stands out far too much as I tried to make sense of what in the world I was doing and how I was going to survive a day train trip. So I asked, “Hi, I was wondering if one ticket from Miranda to Newcastle would be cheaper, or would buying two, one from Miranda to Central and Central to Newcastle be the better option…” So he tallied up the prices and here’s what I recieved:
“Alright, let’s do one ticket from here to Newcastle at around 7.50.” My response of course being, “So what exactly should I do with my ticket if I want to get off at Central for a bit.” And this may be my favorite response of all, “Well sweetheart just go to the station, get off and say you need to use the toilet.” How in the world is that supposed to work? Won’t they be able to see me when I’m obviously not using the toilet and jumping out onto the busy streets to explore and cheat them out of their money? “All you’ll need to do is flash a smile… and I promise you’ll be on whichever train to Newcastle that you want to catch.”
Well, that’s exactly what I did. Quick smile, caught the lift, and off into central with my ticket firmly in hand. That’s what I call luck. But central wasn’t as easy to coast through as I had hoped, especially with my large suitcase that kept smacking into everyone I glided past. Instead of spending an entire afternoon wandering around I grabbed a quick lunch, a chai, and exchanged money before the next train. Well like a fool the next train was leaving at 2:45, so I’m thinking to myself as I sat on a bench right outside of a parked train that obviously it would pull up after this one departed. Right. Well about three minutes before it began to move I asked someone and they told me that that was the train for me. So out of chance, the man I asked gave me his two passenger seat so I had the freedom of gazing out the windows for my 2+ hour train ride. After making many friends on my exploration from Sydney to Newcastle I was astounded by the country side as you drifted over bridges with water overtaking both sides of the track. Small fishing houses were nestled alongside the mouth of the water with huge sail boats parked right outside. It was breathtaking. And to sum it up, everything has been so beautiful no matter where you are.
In short, I met up with Jonesy, drank Pink champagne courtesy of a welcome present from Occy and listened to a live band at a Uni pub… In translation, it was a band at a university. I get confused half the time on all the jargon being thrown around but the accents are to die for, whether you can understand them or not. Occy’s friends are amazing, whether it’s drinking largies and watching youth soccer then heading to the local pubs. Or enjoying sausage rolls with the Murray family and cheering on their soccer team in the rain. It’s sitting on the wrong side of the car, windows down with the breeze in your hair as Occy and I sing Dave Matthews and he shows me the most beautiful scenic route to the Saxby farm. The water is freezing and everywhere you turn there’s something even more intriguing that will catch your eye. I could sit in that old school Land Rover and look out the window with the music rolling for the rest of my life. That’s my suggestion to everyone, to find friends who can show you a different side of life than the one that you’d see as a tourist to this country. The people you meet are going to be what makes the memories last and truly change your life. Memories such as Jonesy and Occy seeing “Scarlet Takes a Tumble” for the first time and laughing hysterically as we played it on repeat, along with the woman smashing grapes who makes the strangest noises when she hits the ground. Early night in = some good laughs and a way to rejuvinate before the big days ahead.
It was Occy’s 24th last night and in celebration we got to drive through an alcohol store… yes they have drive-through stores where you can get drinks brought to you. Compare it to driving through a bank. Surprising that we don’t have that in the states yet! But after a day with Karen, Shane and Angus (probably the three best people I’ve ever met, Occy’s parent’s and little brother) we watched as he blew out the candle to his cake (hopefully he made a good wish) and headed to the local pub and then to a curry dinner, which though amazing, through me and Jonesy’s stomach for a loop.
The rain is coming down and the days are free, coming home the third will be a hard transition but I’ll make sure to keep the blogs coming. The next few days will consist of dinners, exploration and the big Gumball music festival this weekend. Once again, happy birthday to Occy, Samantha Shlopak and whoever else was born on the wonderful day of May 24th… here’s to you!