January 7, 2007

WORTH A TIME ZONE VIOLATION:

A trip to the Red Center of Oz: The fabled Ghan, one of the world's great rail trips, threads its way through the Outback, where the wild things star. (Beverly Beyette, January 7, 2007, LA Times)

TEN days, one wallaby, no kangaroos.

My fantasy — adorable 'roos galumphing around every bush in the Outback — was just that.

Camels — wild ones, at that — were another matter. About 60,000 of the feral beasts roam the Outback that unfolded outside the picture window of my train compartment.

I had come to Australia to ride the Ghan, the legendary train that bisects the country, traveling from Adelaide in the south to Darwin in the north. It's sometimes called the "Hundred Year Dream"; the last track was laid just two years ago, capping nearly a century of struggle to connect one end of this great emptiness to the other.

All told, the trip takes 48 hours, two full days of slicing through a land that is Texas times five. It is rugged and it is real, an antidote to the too-well-trod territories that are beginning to crowd the planet.

And if it's an authentic experience you're after, throw in my ride on a camel whose castration was botched, and it hardly gets more real than that.

My 1,850-mile adventure, from which I detoured in the middle, began at Keswick station in Adelaide, South Australia, on a Sunday in August. Just before our 5:15 p.m. departure, the Ghan crew, decked out in red, white and blue, lined up on the platform and delivered a spirited "All aboard!"


The language has no sweeter words.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 7, 2007 8:44 AM
Comments

And all in one time zone!

Posted by: pj at January 7, 2007 9:42 AM

Play ball?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at January 7, 2007 10:08 AM

Free food?

Posted by: Rick T. at January 7, 2007 3:33 PM

"The ruling on the field stands (or, is overturned)"?

But it does sound like a fun ride. I wonder if there are stops in any isolated towns in the desert.

Posted by: ratbert at January 7, 2007 10:34 PM
« THEY KNOW HOW TO BEAT BLACK HAWKS: | Main | NO ONE EDITS ANY MORE: »