‘KA-THUD’ my eyes flew open… it was… around 2:30am and we had just pulled into Rockhampton station the thud was the train pulling the handbrake on I guess, but it was just enough to dislodge my head from the head rest… I checked the movies but they were replaying the same ones I had watched a few hours earlier. after a while, sleep returned and I was out until around 5:30 when the people started to stir to life around me.

It was daylight now, so I decided to do some exploring, I returned to where I left my big bag on the rack to inspect that murky corridor in the light of day, it turns out it was the restrooms/cleaning closet etc which was so interesting, I was compelled to try the other direction which was more my scene… ‘The Dining Car’ where I talked to a couple of people, one guy has moved out Biggenden way, and has caught the Tilt Train to Bowen to bring a car down, poor guy wasn’t real well either, but seemed appreciative of the conversation.

After that I retuned to my seat and took in some tunes via my iPod, what a difference it made, I went from being comfortable to being totally chilled out. however, in perfect syncro, the rest of the train burst out laughing… this was indeed an odd occurrence, as I could not see anything I found to be a real rib-tickler, then I realized, the source of these jollies was a movie that was playing, so I hooked up and joined them in sporadic but syncronized laughter… I dont know what the movie was but it is worth finding and buying, it was about this guy who competes in a marathon to win his girl back from some high flying pain in the neck… if anyone can ID this movie please let me know what it’s called.

After a little more music, my lunch arrived: oriental chicken and noodles in blackbean sauce (YUM) it was chased down by a wildberry crumble and a small pot of vanilla ice-cream.

As the afternoon wore on, I started chatting to the lady sitting across the aisle from me, turns out her name is Donna (seemed to be in her early 40’s) and she was traveling home with her daughter, she works in admin at their local hospital and had been in Mackay to see her Dad for the first time in about 5 years.

Thanks to some segway I have since forgotten, she asked me what I believed and why, so I shared my story with her, spelt out my reasoning and the research I had undertaken, by the time I was done, I had erected quite a monument, a verbal monolith if you will, of my belief structure.

I then returned the question, she seemed a little unsure and told me that she was a ‘jehovah’s witness’ I found this an odd experience because most JW’s I have come across are quite sure of their beliefs, and vocal about it, but she was happy to have some open discussion about it which was excellent, when we arrived at her station she told me she would be going to do some research on some of the points I made. oh how I love the free exchange of ideas…

After her departure, my one legged friend(i later discovered his first dame is “Burn”) took her seat and struck up a conversation, we covered just about everything, when he was young he wanted to be a carpenter, but had an aptitude for electronics so his parents pushed him in that direction, he got his degree in electronics at RMIT, became an Instrument calibration expert, he worked on a project during the Vietnam war which would analyze the Parabolic trajectory of a missile to be able to target where it came from, for return fire, accurate to 12metres.

However, just before he was actually sent over to Vietnam, he lost his leg in basic training, he then cut From that story and told me about the youth work he did in Ryde (Sydney) helping them get their lives back on track.

In the end he told me why he was on the train, many years ago, he had broken his forearm in 2 places, after 6 months of it not healing right, they eventually pinned it, during this time he could not work or care for himself that well, so he moved back in with his parents and went to Church as that was about all he could do, because he could not drive either, one of the girls from church was playing taxi for him to get to-and-from church, he ended up marrying that girl and they were on their way to cairns to celebrate their coral wedding annaversary.

He was a real character, the hostess was walking down the aisle asking “Any rubbish?” he piped up and said “yeah but she just went to the dining car” the hostess made the obvious threat “oh well, i’ll be sure to tell her that when I see her” but his reply really cracked me up… “Go for it, thats why i’ve got a wooden leg, it’s easier to put my foot in my mouth”

Anyway, we finally made it to Cairns just on dark, I hailed a Taxi and FINALLY made it to my accommodation, there was however, a slight hitch, as I did not have the credit card which ‘booked’ the room on me, I had to throw myself on the manager’s mercy (along with a few hundred dollars of my cash as collateral) before they would give me my room… in any case, I made it, showered, watched a bit of tellie and crashed around mid-night.