This morning came far too quickly for my liking :). Add on top of that my phone ringing at 2:00AM because folks back in the states didn’t add up the time change and you get a long night. Either way, my bed was still super comfy and I was sad to be saying so long to it. I woke up in time to watch the sunrise over the pretty countryside. I blindly worked to wash my face, put in my contacts, and brush my teeth so that I could make my way to breakfast. I apparently did this so blindly that I ended up brushing my teeth with Athlete’s Foot Cream… [I had packed it just in case]. YUCK. I couldn’t understand why my toothpaste was so nasty… well because I was brushing my teeth with a cream made for your toes…for fungus. Awesome. After some heavy duty cleaning, coughing, and spitting, I walked my way down to the lounge car, which was already bustling with people ready for their last meal aboard the Indian Pacific.
I met up with the botanist couple from the evening before and we sat down to breakfast. My last two course breakfast on the train! So sad! This morning I dined on coffee, apple juice, water, scrambled eggs, a button mushroom, and a grilled tomato. Whereas yesterday I had the fresh fruit [melons and currants], this morning I opted for the other “breakfast starter”: Wild Peach Parfait. YUM. Wild peaches, vanilla yogurt, granola, and passion fruit. Just delicious and perfect. Our conversation this morning strayed to wildflowers and Eucalypts. Apparently there are over 80 species of Eucalypts! Who knew? Wildflowers are huge these days because Australia has had such a wet winter. I learned that quite a few folks on the train were traveling to the west coast just for that purpose- wildflower tours. I wish I had more time, I would have gone! As it is, there is a good exhibit at Kings Park that I hope to see while I’m i the area.
I headed back to my room and packed everything up. I was really sad to say goodbye to the Indian Pacific. What a fantastic trip. About 30 minutes before we pulled into Perth Station, we stopped and a quarantine inspector boarded to check out any fruits, vegetables, and/or nuts that people were transporting. They did this earlier on the train ride as well, when we crossed state borders. Pretty interesting that they watch it so closely. While I’m no the subject of agricultural products– I also had a chat with a couple about water rights and crops in Australia vs. the US as well as stormwater. They noted that it is pretty standard practice in many places to have giant “rain barrels” [they are larger than our standard rain barrels]. They were very interested in hearing about the NPS pollution world that I work in and we chatted for a long while about the pros and cons of having federal control only vs state control only vs a combination of the two. Like I said, great conversations on the train!
When we at last arrived in Perth, we disembarked and folks were hugging the staff. It still amazes me how close the group seemed to have become over the space of three nights on a train. Such wonderful personalities and friendly demeanors. I made my way down the platform to the tour bus that would squire a group of us around Perth before dropping us off at our hotels. The tour was great. We were driven all over the city and had a break along the way to gaze out at the Indian Ocean and to buy some delicious local ice cream. I myself chose a cone of oreo cookie dream. And oh what a dream it was! The tour also made a stop at Kings Park [a huge park in downtown Perth that is the largest inner city park in the world]. Unfortunately, rain kept us from doing much exploring in the park. We also drove by millionaire’s row, a group of homes along the Swan River that were just absolutely gorgeous [as you’d imagine with a name like that]. After a delightful afternoon of seeing the sights, the tour driver dropped each of us off at our hotels. I was ready for a snooze!