This Bus is Made for Walkin’

December 8, 2006 at 2:05 am (Uncategorized)

Turns out I didn’t see Manda, Graham, Sefton, and Keir after all. They were picked up from the airport by Graham’s uncle, and taken to his place in Cronulla, down south, whereupon he decided he’d had enough of Sydney traffic for one day, and the sightseeing tour was off. That scrubbed lunch at my place right off the list. Unfortunately due to one thing or another, Manda wasn’t able to make contact with me until 1pm. That is, lunch time. Lunch kept until dinner, but unfortunately I couldn’t set out for Cronulla because I was working all day around the lunch plans. From home, yes, but working nonetheless. So…BUMMER! We’ll just have to wait until they’re returning from South Africa in March and see how we go then!

Which, recalling yesterday’s promise, brings me to a very Sydney thing I HAVE done, and done often. It’s an extremely authentic Sydney experience, not to be missed by any discerning visitor who really wants to sample the REAL Sydney. It is, generally speaking, something only locals can do with any degree of success. Of course, I’m talking about using our confounding public transport network. I have actually attempted navigating my way around this place on public transport alone. Yes, it’s true. I don’t drive (I am “a learner,” which so far has amounted to being “a non-driver”), so for most of the time, I just don’t have any choice. And what I can tell you is that you can do it, but it takes HOURS. Hours. And quite frankly after that kind of time investment, I’d want to be somewhere else. A little further away, to legitimise all my minutes down the drain. Somewhere like Perth. Fraser Island. Halfway to Bermuda. At a guess, I think that all told it would have taken me three hours to reach Manda in Cronulla yesterday. And that’s not even thinking about trying to get back. I would have been able to spend a grand total of, say, twenty minutes with her, precious minutes I can picture clearly in my mind. There we are, sitting tensed around the kitchen table at Graham’s uncle’s house, poring over his local bus timetable. There I am, hunched over, defeated, sweat on my brow, a panicky, sick feeling inside, wondering how to get home again.

It’s just not fun. It’s no fun for anyone. I think any combination of MODES is the killer. There’s no love heading your way if you try and combine bus, rail, and ferry travel in this town. Maybe some rail rage. A bit of ferry fever. Definitely a dose of bus ballistics. But no love, no sir. Wherever possible, I restrict myself to one mode, two at the absolute highest peak of my endurance, and then I walk the difference. Walking is a great way to see Sydney, and I should know.

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