With recent heatwave, we thought it would not be silly to seek the comfort of air-conditioned surroundings. While many escape into shopping emporiums, we thought to seek coolness in a train journey. The shopping centres are often dispiriting. This rampant materialism, when I know that whatever they buy, soon I’ll find it chucked out and left on the nature strip. From bedding to barbeques, from Day and Night lounges to lettuce spinners, sooner or later it gets heaved out. Not only that, but all that public eating that’s going on. Some eat seated parked next to their trolley. Some sit almost in the trolley. At times I have difficulty seeing what is trolley and what is shopper. Through years of shopping they morph into almost the same.
I thought first to wait with writing after having gone to Town. However so much has gone on in preparation I can’t really wait. Last time readers might remember that In Australia we now have train and bus travel where by the conductors have been replaced by electronic steel posts. They are called Opal stations. They are not real stations. They are steel posts set in concrete onto which humans tap a card. The Opal card is a train ticked.
We took our first Opal tapping train journey some weeks ago. We were full of excitement and while the tapping went very well, the train journey was less so. We had a very badly swaying and creaking carriage. I am sure it was in danger of coming off its wheels. At each station stop, and there were so many, diesel fumes would filter into the carriage. We thought on the way home we would get relief from that noise, and poisonous fumes, but no. We arrived back nauseous and with thumping headaches. Helvi, stated. “Never again.” She knows her limitations and is widely travelled.
It was therefore that I planned to do the train trip a bit better, and would personally go to the Bowral Station-Master to ask for advice and hopefully book a train less tumultuous in its movements and less diesel fumed, and if possible with a well lubricated undercarriage. He said; ?”NO. We don’t deal with trains or ticketing anymore. You have to go on-line. Here is the information.” He gave me a sheet on which there was written with large lettering ‘Begin your regional journey ONLINE.’ I was tempted to ask what he was still doing at the Station. Emptying the bins or blowing his whistle, wave a flag?
Strange as it may sound you can’t get tickets anymore from railway stations. Some have large machines that sell tickets but they are also going out. I don’t know what people do who don’t go ‘ONLINE’ or who don’t have internet nor mobile phones. As far as I know not owning Computers and mobile phones is not unlawful. I was told that pensioners still get charged $2.50 all day travel. So, home I went with my information ONLINE sheet tucked in my pocket.
I went ONLINE and was surprised how easy it was. I booked Bowral-Sydney return, but, here comes the sting. On the line with faster service with toilets, buffet for cool drinks, a coffee or a croissant they don’t accept Opal. No $2.50 all day travel for pensioners either.
We were billed $ 94.54 for the two of us. I thought the Station Master looked a but shifty. He must have known.
Anyway, it will be a nice train tomorrow, and faster by an amazing twenty minutes. Helvi will be happy not to get thrown about the carriage and infused with Diesel. I’ll let you know how it all went.
The reason for the visit to the State Library is that I am entering my books in a completion. Now that is exciting.