Opal fruit 

The train system in Sydney is pretty damn good. I can now vouch for it having experienced it first hand on arrival at the airport.

The first thing to notice is that there is a train service to the airport – that is a pretty good start. I staggered off the plane, blinking under the fluorescent lights and staggered towards a sign that looked as though it was guiding me towards a train platform. On the way there, I had stopped at a newsagent and purchased an Opal Card (which I guess would not be called a Skittles card in the UK) and put thirty bucks of credit on it – the website about the train system is also very good and it was easy to get info about train fares  Opal tickets which you can load with credit for your journey.

Perth not only has no rail link to the airport, but also makes it quite tricky to purchase our version of the Opal card, which is called a Smartrider . The rider may be smart but the system is pretty stupid. If you want to get anywhere from the airport then you need a friend to mortgage your house so they can drive, pay the insane parking fees and pick you up, or get a taxi.

It cost me $18.00 (including the airport charge) to get from Sydney airport to a suburb of Chatswood about 40 minutes away. I have just got a cab home from Perth Airport to my house which took ten minutes and cost me $40.

The trains in Sydney are also double decker, which was a bit of a novelty and I found it quite easy to navigate my way around. My main issue after arriving on the red eye, was that I wanted to lie down and that is something I could not do. The other thing I wanted was a shower within about an hour of arriving, because it was wet and humid and because I had dressed for winter, I was dripping with sweat almost immediately.

I met my brother, and baby and mum in a shopping centre and we sat down to watch my nephew’s latest party pieces. He is a very happy baby, breaking into the most enormous smiles and giggles with reassuring frequency. He has a little system, which is to wake up, spend about fifteen to twenty minutes giggling, grabbing fistfuls of hair and trying to put everything he can grip in his tiny hands into his mouth. After this he starts to get a little impatient and grumpy – that is when the food gets pulled out and I had the honour of feeding him his first sweet potato. Following food is nap time. I witnessed about two of these cycles in the time I got to spend with him, then once again boarded the train to go two stops back on myself to the suburb where the meeting was.

The only problem with trains is that they do not, can not drop you at the door. I arrived in a downpour and had to work out how to get  10 minutes up the road on foot without getting soaked. I managed it, but I did not look pretty when I arrived.

Never mind, I guess I just made up for it with my sparkling wit and intelligent conversation. If they could hear me through the yawning, that is. Oh the glamour!


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