Perth, Monday 30th January 2006


It seems that Australian customs is getting more difficult by the year, starts resembling the American one. Yes, I know it all. And no, I really do not have a place to stay yet. In just a moment, down in the arrival hall, I'll call a couple of hotels. Yes, my destination is Katherine and yes there really is a train to Darwin from Alice Springs. Yes, it is a new track, but a couple of years old by now. And no, I do not know when I'll head on to Katherine. And no, the Indian Pacific does not leave Perth today (Thursday), the next one departs Sunday. And yes, I did tick traditional medicines as I carry Malaysian nutmeg cream and will queue up for a luggage inspection. And no, there is no way yet to reach me by phone. I'll top up my Australian pre paid SIM card in just a few moments, when in the arrival hall. So, all my answers strike you as odd and you wish to have my passport scanned? Well, please do so, time is the one very thing I've got plenty of at the moment, a grand total of 51 days to be precise.

Sigh. What a redundant bunch of worries. Don't these custom officers ever go abroad themselves? The nutmeg cream really does not endanger the Australian fauna, is a great cure for mosquito bites. An ATM in the arrival hall supplies cash, a Dutch giro card is well accepted here. A volunteer of the Western Australia Visitor Centre assists me in choosing a hotel. And yes, it takes just two phone calls to find accommodation, with bed, shower and Internet facilities. Another five minutes and the whole world can call me and I'm on my way to the hotel.

No lack of planning, just a maximum of flexibility. Australian customs can forget about sleepless nights, I am fine here. All's well. No worries mate.


The questions of family and friends resemble the interrogation by Australian customs. What am I up to in Perth? What sights did I visit already? What are my plans for today?

Yes, I did tick "Holiday" on the official arrival card, but I do not like the word holiday. The whole concept of permitted leave is out of my world for years already. I go wherever I want to go, work or no work. Actually I am just avoiding Dutch winter, having a good time in the sun. So, I really don't care much about all the tourist attractions. I enjoy myself solving some nice puzzles, and that includes a bit of work. It is business as usual for SUMit Roster Software, wherever I am. Long live Internet and mobile phones.

The Netherlands are asleep during the Australian day and I like it that way, no e-mails, no phone calls. The only point of worry: finding a pleasant workplace.

The perfect workplace yet here in Perth is Heirisson Island. It is a fair piece of green, centred in the Swan River, too far from the city for the tourists, so no disturbances.
Train City Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Indian - Pacific Perth 11:55 11:55
Adelaide 7:20 7:20
Ghan 17:15 17:15
Alice Springs 11:55 11:55
Katherine 8:00
Darwin 16:30
Ghan 10:00
Katherine 13:40
Alice Springs 9:20
12:45 14:00
Adelaide 9:00 9:10
Indian - Pacific 18:40 18:40
Perth 9:10 9:10

All aboard!

Australian long distance trains are my favourite means of transportation.

The first trip, with my cousin Ingrid, took me from Melbourne to Perth, with a short stop in Adelaide. Adelaide to Perth was a beautiful, long trip through the desert and that's the part I'd love to do again.

I do have a destination: from Adelaide on to the Northern Territory. It's a beaten track for me till Alice Springs. Afterwards the red desert will give way to tropical green, aboard a train with a once-a-week schedule. I do not know Katherine but it is the destination of my journey, with possibly a short side trip to Darwin.

And I've even booked the first stretch. Schedule departure from Perth is next Wednesday, 1st of February at 11:55, arriving at Adelaide Friday morning 7:20.

On board my cabin will be my workplace, with plenty of electricity, far out of reach of phone and Internet. It will give me plenty of time to solve the more difficult puzzles, write a training about how to plan, and read a book on colour theory. At night I'll enjoy a good night sleep in a bed with a view to the wonderful desert sky with plenty of stars. I am looking forward to it, truly enjoy such a mobile, quiet workplace.

As long as Australian customs accepts this to be a holiday, I'm fine.

Till next nut,