Reality of Australia!

IMG_2402 

Sitting on the train on 10 Nov, from Sydney to Melbourne, not long after we set off, I was looking out of the window about 8 am and was surprised – confused – about the countryside I saw.  It looks a ‘little deserty’ I thought!  Then I remembered it was desert-like and dry .. because I was in Australia and not England; still confused to come to English speaking country after Asia, readjusting to familiar things like people understanding me, foods I know, asking directions in my native tongue and not using sign language to support my enquiries and trees, dress, skin colour all life long familiarity. 

From the Aussie train then – the reason I like train travel – I watch rolling hills, different types of trees, some familiar English like, others slim, grey barked bushland trees; grazing cows and horses too, something I saw few of around Asia!  The low rise, colourful bungalow homes and farmsteads, with lots of open space around them, huge grasslands of farm holdings and horse stables, bushy tufts on the ‘fields’ and muddy creeks and water holes. 

I can see roads in the distance, lanes nearby, deep blue skies and light white  clouds but not the radiant green of well- watered English grassy fields, as the underlying red sandstone rock peeps out at times too, and rocky outcrops appear from nowhere.  Lets hope the blue skies hail a warmer sunshine than Ive had since arriving in Sydney!! I had to buy a cardigan as I only have light clothes and short sleeves!!! 

IMG_3722

I can feel the excitement when I pass the first Aussie suburb, with industrial sites on the outskirts, one road running through and out into distant hillsides; herds of cows grazing under trees and fields on the left, wilder bush-land to the right through large clean windows I can see a lot!!

The train journey is part of my ‘enjoyable journey’ including the stop list including Wagga Wagga (pronounced Woggawogga)  and  Warranbatta not quite so familiar to my ears as Broad Meadow is! 

The train is great – clean, spacious in first class, varied menu and nice food in the buffet; locked doors between stations, regular and clear information over the tannoy, thorough and detailed.  Also, regular trains are also double decked, entry with a few seats along the side then a few steps upward and down to many more forward facing seats!!! Again, clean, respected and well managed with friendly, helpful staff at stations and on board!!!  So far, enjoying my travel experiences, including the hop on/off tour in Sydney that got me everywhere I wanted affordably.  Taxis too have GPS and drivers are friendly, helpful and polite.  

 

Aus Again!

I left Asia totally disoriented and less prepared mentally for Australia and the ‘western world’ after four months away from it.  I think my illness on arriving in Kuala Lumpur didn’t help as I was lost, lacked  energy to explore and plan, and to get to grips within the first day in a new place.  Arriving into Sydney was weird, so familiar in the past but not recently!

img_2194I’ve been to Australia – Sydney, Melbourne, Alice Springs and Adelaide before in my 20s! I loved it since.  Let’s see what it holds for me this time!

My hostel was so expensive for the private room and shared bathroom, although clean, was noisy with lots of young people, older too, but party time on Saturday after little sleep Thursday eve on the plane!! It was bunk beds, but a light quilt at least and sheet, overlooking the road but double glazed so quiet enough out there, and a slow busy lift and only wifi in the basement kitchen cum common room.  Not easy for skyping home!  (the timing wasn’t easy either) And that cost me £50 a night, and was the cheapest available!!! Dorm beds were around £10-15 but some in 20 bed rooms. 

 Still, now I’ve adjusted more my hostel room options in Melbourne are slightly cheaper and. know what to expect – more English people, Aussies too, parties and limited wifi potentially!   

My first hostel was in the centre of Sydney, by the station, with many, many very young people!  Noisy nights but I couldn’t complain if I chose it; food basic and nothing special in the area but easy to get around with open top bus tour and other trips from information centre round the corner.

img_2127

I mentioned it on Facebook and found my cousin was in Sydney and invited me to stay with them and meet their children too.  That was great, and lovely to see them all after so long, or not at all.   It was so nice and relaxing there, fun and great to catch up. 

I also visited the beautiful Sydney Zoo overlooking Sydney Harbour from a hilltop above!  The giraffes compound was directly over the bay and bridge – an amazing view!  And this lioness and others, all well cared for it seemed – oh, an not to forget the local fauna with a hiding Kookaburra in the gardens as I wandered around!

There was a quip here with the ‘bush turkey’ the youngest ran in to tell me about, and invite me to ‘come see’!   As I dashed out with him, I said I didn’t know what one was – and he stopped, turned to me and said simply: “It’s a turkey that lives in the bush” (along with an unbelieving look that said how silly can I be!

img_2024

Here is said turkey, who comes daily to visit the house, get scraps and say hello!  He lives in the back garden(s) where it is bushlike and covered.