Guns and Frocks

Loving Delta and the Bannermen since 1987

Crocodile Dundee and the Stingray

Sunday 24 February 2008

I have already suggested that this trip was not very carefully planned. Some people like to keep a completely open mind, making decisions at the spur of the moment, suddenly abandoning their plans and heading off in a completely new direction. I am not one of those people. I just find that planning ahead makes me tired or thirsty or angry, and I like to put it off as much as possible. That’s why I bought a Eurail pass. That way, I could leave Sydney with no more than a four-day hotel booking in London and absolutely no idea what to do after that. I didn’t have to consider the weeks and weeks I’d be away from the couch, travelling, booking hotels, finding food and interacting with scary new people.

I spent the night being woken by the happy singing of binge-drinking English children. This morning, I walked the streets saying goodbye to Amsterdam and chatting with some of the city’s more colourful drug dealers. One of them offered me his condolences on the loss of Steve Irwin, whom he referred to as “Crocodile Dundee”. He wasn’t going to sell me cocaine, apparently, but he was willing to give me some in exchange for some money. Sadly, I’d left my wallet in the hotel.

And now I’m on my first train: Amsterdam Centraal to the Gare du Nord in Paris. It’s a lot like a plane, but with less fear and more legroom. They’re even about to serve us lunch.

I arrive in Paris at 4.30 pm. My hotel is not far from the station, but I’ve forgotten to download the map from Google Maps. (Can you do that? I suppose you can.) So if I can’t find a wi-fi equipped cafe near the station, I could be in trouble. I’ll let you know how I get on.