More Photos from My Travels.
One of the most frustrating things about my efforts to share in my travel adventured is to come back from my various trips with a lot of photographs to share, but for some reason, many of the photos have simply disappeared. I have no idea why. For example, I took hundreds of shots on my train ride across Russia and I can find only a handful. Very frustrating!
At any rate, here are five more from various travels and I hope you will find them interesting.
This gentleman has booked a compartment on the trans-continental Australian train, the Indian Pacific. He arrived at the station with time to enjoy the anticipation of the upcoming train ride. (I understand that feeling completely; after all, I was there two hours early, too!) This photo was taken in the Sydney train station about two hours before the Indian Pacific was to depart for Perth, some 2500 miles to the west across the Australian continent. Actually, our train ride would be somewhat longer since we would be turning south off the main line for a brief stop at Adelaide tomorrow, a diversion of several hundred miles.
I was surprised at the appearance of what seemed to be one of the main beaches in Darwin, a city on the northern coast of the Australian continent. Clearly, Darwin caters to tourists, but whatever it is that draws visitors to this area, I don’t think it’s the beaches. This one stretched out in front of several hotels. By the way, there were several dishes on the hotel dining room’s menu featuring crocodile as the main ingredient. And, no . . . I didn’t try any of them. Somehow a crocodile burger just didn’t appeal to me.
There is one wartime incident to note that involves Darwin: There was great concern that the Japanese might invade Australia beginning with an assault in the vicinity of Darwin. In fact, there was one significant bombing raid that did a fair amount of damage, but that was the only one. For the remainder of the war in the Pacific, the Japanese were retreating.
For those interested in trains and train travel, there was one oddity we noticed about the Australian railroads: there are no wooden “sleepers” supporting the steel rails. (We call them “cross ties” in the U.S.) And in this photo you see the reason. Those dark brown piles are termite mounds, and they are everywhere . . . thousands of them! Wooden ties wouldn’t last more than a year at best!
This photo was taken from my roomette window on Amtrak’s westbound Sunset Limited. The train had just started across the Pecos High Bridge, which is 275 feet above the Pecos River near the town of Langtry, Texas. If the name of the town sounds familiar, it’s where Judge Roy Bean dispensed “the only justice West of the Pecos.” The town was named after the famous actress, Lily Langtry. Apparently the judge had a crush on her!
I’ve run this photo before and I damn well may run it again because it represents one of Amtrak’s worst mistakes. It was shot in one of the Parlour Cars that for many years were part of the consist of Amtrak’s train, the Coast Starlight — a daily train operating overnight in both directions between Seattle and Los Angeles.
I loved to relax in one of these classy cars, chatting with one of the other sleeping car passengers and, if the mood permitted, ordering a Bloody Mary from the attendant when I boarded at 6:00 a.m. in Davis, California. There were wine tastings, too, which took place as the train was passing through the California wine country. These wonderful, classic rail cars provided a glimpse back into the Golden Age of Train Travel.
As with most horror stories, this one has a villain: Richard Anderson left Delta Airlines to become president of Amtrak and brought the airline mentality with him. He began a cost-cutting crusade and one of his first targets were the parlour cars. Too costly to maintain, don’tcha know!
Anderson had no way of knowing that I personally added two days to almost a dozen itineraries for the express purpose of traveling in one of those wonderful rail cars. And I was not alone. I frequently met fellow passengers who had gone out of their way just to spend time in a parlour car. Anderson didn’t know that, of course, but the fact is, he simply didn’t care!
(By the way, that man in the photograph on the lef wearing the dark glasses is my brother-in-law, Peter, who was often my traveling companion . . .and a good one, too.)