Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Day 13: The Ghan
The Ghan is the train that runs north to south, bisecting Australia. It such a famous train that people came out to see us depart. We might have felt like movie stars, but we were sitting in Red Class, which entitled us to seats…and not much else. There wasn’t even a lounge or bar car where we could play cards. Fortunately, we met a really nice family from Perth who coordinated with us to turn two sets of seats to face each other. That evening, they shared their lollies and contraband port with us while we all played Yahtzee. I knew Eric couldn’t be right that only my sister and I like that game.
During that first day, the train stopped for 5 hours in Katherine, the most depressing sh*thole of a town I’ve ever seen. Now, it didn’t help that it was so hot that we were melting on the sidewalk, but the composition of the town being primarily destitute aborigines didn’t help. You can only see so many shoeless children before feeling quite sad. We retreated to the pub immediately and stayed there until we could reboard the train.