There is a horror story by Clive Barker about the terrible things that befall a man stuck on a subway train late at night. He finds that he can’t get off the train as it rumbles on to some unknown destination and as he waits in his seat he is beset by strange apparitions dripping blood and other such things.
There were times last night as we tried to navigate the myriad complexities of the Sydney urban transit system when it felt as if we would never got off.
We are now staying closer to the city centre in an area called Newtown round the corner from King Street which was described to us as being the longest shopping precinct in the world. We had a bit of a walk down it yesterday and had lunch in a place called Buzzzbar where we could have felt out of place for a lack of tattoos, black leather and a same sex relationship. As it was we felt quite at home tucking into our burgers and chips. We could have been in Brighton.
King Street was a long row of interesting shops and places to eat. Both sides of the street were covered in awning. I assume that these are to help give some shade to the pavement but yesterday they helped to keep out the rain. Hopefully we shall have another chance to wander down it.
In the evening we had to make out way back to Campsie to help make up the audience for a nationalisation ceremony. We gave ourselves plenty of time to navigate the vagaries of the train system but this was not enough. We had been warned off the express trains that would bypass the station you needed before dumping you at some obscure destination in the suburbs. As we tried to avoid these we were distracted by tannoy announcements for trains to Liverpool via Sefton. Hadn’t we just travelled round the world to get away from there.
Then the tannoy was telling us that the train on the tracks in front of the platform we were on would somehow take us to Campsie despite it being one of the warned about express trains heading for an obscure destination. Putting our trust in the tannoy we got on.
It turns out that an express train in Sydney rarely raises itself above a trundle. And so we puttered out slowly to some obscure destination in the suburbs as night came down. Urgent texts passed between us and those going through the nationalisation ceremony but it became clear we were going to miss it as the train drew to a halt outside a station and the driver announced that we were going to have to stay there a while to allow the trains in front to clear.
Once we got to a station and jumped onto the platform frantic to find the train that would take us to Campsie. Two minutes later we were back on the same train as it started its slow trundle back into the the city. That trundle then drew to a halt and there we sat still for ten minutes . The driver was good enough to announce that she was keeping her fingers crossed that we would get going to soon.
Two hours after having started off we made it Campsie. Wehad missed the ceremony but were compensated by a meal in a Japanese restaurant. Plates of food off a sushi train and a bowl of sustaining udon noodles in broth with breaded chicken.
We then made the slow trundle back home to our beds.