My Eurail holiday

Transcribed from journal written on European grid-pattern paper. Undated.

I’m on a train*. Blackness outside, the occasional light lives and dies, streaking past like a glow worm. Brown vinyl seats, crumbs from the packet of butter biscuits. My destination is Greece.

I’m on a train, FS. Destination Greece, because I want to get my passport stamped, not a good reason. And I wouldn’t mind seeing the Acropolis, blue sky, white stone buildings and olive trees; a slightly better reason. Blackness outside, I could be anywhere, although the man in the corner gives this compartment an Italian feel. He’s squat, dark, asleep.

Brown vinyl seats, crumbs from my packet of butter biscuits. “Finish sandwiches sorry,” so I paid 900 lira for the biscuits. But I don’t have a good reason for being here. To be brutally honest, I’m doing it to be “interesting”. To have been & seen & done. The stamped passport.

The man has opened his eyes. He caught me resting my head on the window. He gives me a steamy look.

Bridgette said, always get into a compartment with other women & children. Never sit alone in a compartment with a man. But it’s alright because the door is wide open, the light on, and there are women in the next compartmnet. In in the corner, resting my pad on my knee. The train is slowing down, stopping, orange lights outside. My glasses are lying brokenly on the pull-out table, beside a plastic cup.

I don’t want to reach Bari. I don’t know what will happen when I do. Im a long way from home. Where’s home? New Norcia. Mum, Dad & Debbie live there. I lived there for a while this year. But when people ask me where I’m from, I say, “Perth.”

I’m getting pissed off. I’m writing badly. I’m trying to write and nothing is happening. My mind has gone into relapse. I may have to wait till next year, when I start studying, for it to work again.


* Here’s a link to a train on Flickr. I Googled “train to Bari, 1982”. This would be about right.

The following (undated) must have been written in London, towards the end of the trip:

I want a Vegemite sandwich. Fresh brown sliced bread & margarine and vegemite spread evenly in between. The sandwich is wrapped in Glad wrap and put in the bottom of a fishing bag. The sandwich is eaten a few hours later, a mile or so from its birth, in the open air. Every bites are alternated with sips of hot strong tea; the water having been boiled over a little campfire. Actually there are 2 or even 3 rounds of the Vegemite sandwiches, and a green apple to have after.

I am, of course, hungry, with no hope of food until 7.30 tomorrow morning. So when I get back to New Norcia, one of the first things I must do is eat Vegemite sandwiches beside a campfire. Knowing that I will do this gives me something to look forward to and when I get to Perth I’ll go to a bad little cafe and have chicken with greasy chips & a cup of over-milky tea, which is what I’d like to have now, in this setting. Perth is a poor substitute for London.

I’ve just been to Brixton; rubbish in the streets, reggae, spiritual singers, “get the police off the streets”, a white man selling pro-Black papers, police everywhere on the streets, shabby

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