Aussie Bites!

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The Indian Pacific, Chapter 1 (MIA Member Fujimoto Koichiro)

Before landing in Sydney Australia, whilst still on board the plane, I heard that quarantine was strict, and that you had to make sure you filled in your declaration form correctly; I checked it so many times, I didn't have time to look out the window and enjoy the view before arriving. Exiting the plane as an inexperienced international traveler, I held my passport over a machine, and as I made my way towards the exit, and one of the officers checked my ticket. As I walked onwards to partitioned zones, not knowing where the screening would take place, another officer shouted at me “Go! Go!”. I hurried along, and all of a sudden, I was in Australia. “Where is the screening at?” was all I could wonder about following an all-too-disappointing immigration process. Standing there waiting for me was Dalin Hamilton, Miyakonojo's Coordinator of International Relations. He is, of course, completely fluent in Japanese. As I couldn't speak English myself, seeing him there put me at ease.

On this trip to Australia, one of my main objectives was to ride the Transcontinental railway known as the Indian Pacific. From Sydney on the east coast to Perth on the west, three days and four nights aboard the train. The following is an account of the first day and two nights as I boarded the train from Sydney to Adelaide.

The following day after arriving in Sydney, at 3PM, the train departed from Sydney Central Station. The diesel engine, in combination with the several passenger cars, was rated at a total of 1700 tonnes. Each passenger's room consisted of a double bunk bed, toilet and shower. There was also a restaurant car and lounge car further down the line.

The train slowly made its way through the center of Sydney, eventually proceeding out of the suburbs. As we made our way, however, most houses remained unseen, as they were obscured by a forest of trees. We would occasionally travel past buildings in which people might well be living, but the very next instant, we would be surrounded by a deep forest once more. Once I grew tired of the repeating scenery, I made my way to the lounge car, where other customers were already occupying the sofas and enjoying drinks. The majority of these patrons were older couples and friends; as the beer and wine here was all-you-can-drink, I decided to open a bottle of beer myself.

The scenery from the window remained the same for quite a time, unlike Japan where mountains and rivers and towns constantly pass in and out of view. As the sun gradually lowered towards the horizon, and the lights in our rooms came on, the outside scenery faded from view, and all one could behold in the windows was the reflection of the interior lamps. At this point, there was naught left to do but drink. The last thing left to enjoy for the day was the restaurant car where the evening meal was to be held. And so, until I was called to make my way there, I drank.

~ To Be Continued ~

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