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Today's quote:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

There and Back! - Part 1

A fellow-traveller on the train along the South Coast


You are the same today as you'll be in five years from now, except for two things: the books you read and the people you meet. Choose both carefully.

I'd carefully chosen the books I was going to read on my short three-day trip up the Hawkesbury River but the people I met were pretty much left to chance.

The trip up the coast was a new experience in itself as I had got off the bus at the first railhead and continued from there by train. I almost missed it as the ticket booth was unattended and the queue in front of the ticket vending machine a mile long. I hasted things along by helping some of the more senior of the many senior citizens through the confusing array of buttons to press but almost lost the plot when a rainbow-hair coloured youngster with an assortment of metal studs on his face, in his ears, and on his tongue began to work his way through an equally large assortment of charge cards all of which seemed maxed out as the machine kept rejecting them. I gave him a fiver to make him go away and got my own ticket just in time before the whistle blew.

As the train chucked along, with the escarpment of the Great Dividing Range to the left and the South Pacific and long stretches of beach on the right, I discussed with a fellow-traveller the merits of travelling with a thermos flask full of hot tea. All good seniors stuff! ☺

We had plenty of time as this was a real "milk run" through every tiny country town along the coast with such lyrical names as Bomaderry, Berry, Gerringong, Kiama, Bombo, Minnamurra, Sheelharbour, Unanderra, Cringila, Coniston, Fairy Meadow, Towradgi, Corrimal, Bellambi, Woonona, and Bulli.

We parted company at Thirroul where Johannes van der Linden, who claims to have been the last manager to leave Bougainville Copper before it all blew up in a full-scale riot, was waiting for me on the platform.

Johannes and his wife Emmy at their home at Thirroul

I had booked myself into the apostrophe-challenged Beaches Hotel ...

... with its dramatic backdrop of the escarpment ...

... and "healthy"-looking towels.

After spending the rest of the afternoon with Emmy and Johannes reminiscing about Bougainville, I returned to my luxuriously appointed room to freshen up.

The shower and bathroom were shared facilities and I seemed to share them with some guests long since gone, judging by the pieces of old soap, rusty razors, and assorted wrappings littering the top of the shower cubicle.

The Swiss alpine theme on the bathroom wall made me feel quite at home which was more than I could say for the Rockmonsters who played their monstrous music right below my room until well past midnight!

It was a wonderful excuse to read my book which I was able to do AFTER I had "stolen" a bedside table lamp from an adjoining room.

                                                         go to Part 2

Click below for the other parts:

Part 2         Part 3         Part 4         Part 5         Part 6