The Adventures of Public Transport

Written and pictures by April Louise

Why is it that ideas flow to me when I least expect them to come! As I sit in this local cafe, looking out of the window on a fairly busy street waiting for my friend to arrive..... I see a bus stop in front of me. I watch people get off and on in an orderly fashion. My notebook suddenly emerges from my bag as my brain starts to go crazy with inspiration. Just from watching that scene, my theme for this blog came alive. PUBLIC TRANSPORT!

No sooner, my friend (Emily) rocked up, we said our greetings ordered and suddenly we both were talking about public transport. We shared stories and experiences of our encounters and with this bought tonnes of laughter. (This was by no intention at all....we were meant to be having our catch up about general life not about transport!!!)

We both agreed that you just never know what to expect on any given bus (local to long distance), tram, train (local to the high speed Euro Star), aeroplanes, boat, camel (thank you Morocco for that experience) or a donkey (Santorini). Catching public transport not only makes you feel like a local; it creates memories and stories for a lifetime. They are an adventure to say the least!

Public Transport  - Plate and Barrel

Here are a few of my stories I want to share. I look back and laugh at them but at the time I’m like... HELP me!!! Let me know if you can relate to any of these stories.

1.      Buskers doing there thing in the carriage you're in. (In particular Eastern Europe and South America.) You want to walk down to the last carriage to get some quiet time but unfortunately there are more buskers down there too. As much as I appreciate good music, some of these ‘musicians’ might need a few more lessons in order to get their records out onto the Top 100 Music Charts. Don’t get me wrong, some buskers are wonderful but on a train where the acoustics echo and you just want to be left in peace... no thankyou!

2.      Time differences. Some countries just don’t know how to tell the time (Sorry Spain and Peru!). I have been left standing on many platforms thinking I have missed my local bus or train but nope, it’s just late. I’m not even talking about 1 or 2 mins from departure time; I’m talking about 15 mins - 1 hour late. I always remember standing in Southern Italy for 45 minutes waiting for our train to arrive. It just pulls up and when you ask for a reason for the delay they say “no reason.” Oh okay than.

3.      Oh lets stay on the time theme for one more minute... why is it that some stations every clock in the building, on the platform and on the transport system is telling me a different time? Maybe someone needs to be employed to check all the clocks on a regular basis. I’m excluding Germany and Switzerland from this statement as they are so on time and have everything perfect down to the last second. Apparently the 9000 trains in Switzerland (cover 2000 miles per day) run with 98% accuracy. I think those two countries should send your clocks worldwide!

4.      “I’m a tourist please rip me off and take me on a joy ride” is a sign that I stick on my forehead when I go travelling. Why is it that public transport fares and taxi fares triple as soon as I open the door and get in? I negotiate a price however they just don’t budge. Cheeky buggers. I think I need to work on my bargaining skills so when I go back to Asia and South America, I’ll have more say in the price.

5.      Language Barriers. This always contributes to confusion. Even though I have travelled a lot, I still live in hope that I have the right stop, right train, right platform etc. It's times when you are at a busy station wishing you know more than the basic words to get around. Even reading the timetables can send me into mind frenzy. How does everyone else go?

6.      Sleeper trains. I’m going to finish with this story. This still cracks me up when I think about it. I’ve been on several sleeper trains and they are all diary moments. From the nice Euro Star to the ‘interesting’ trains.... stories are endless.  One story: Karina, mum and I had to catch an overnight sleeper train in Asia. Let’s just say it was an interesting 10 hours. Cockroaches were everywhere; the toilet was a metal hole so when you went it would fall (well hopefully) to the ground below. (Let’s just say that Squatting whilst holding the walls with your elbows in a moving train isn’t the easiest thing to do). And lets not forget about the bunks; they were wooden planks that where just balancing on a light frame (nothing was drilled in or stable) so when you sat up the next person would be flying up to the roof! Then there were the locals cooking their dinner in the corridors. Oh good times.

To conclude, I could go on and on about some of my transport stories and so could Emily. She also reminded me about the people watching, the death stares that people give you when you look at them, how etiquette varies country to country and the beautiful BO that can be smelt from a mile away but that is for another day! In the mean time, I would love to hear about your public transport travel stories. I’m sure you have some funny tales to tell.

Final note, public transport, you might have your cons however you are convenient when I need to get around when travelling. It helps feel like I’m a local (connecting with locals and culture), plus you are filled with adventures so that makes you a writers dream so thank you. 

If an apple keeps the doctor away, what does an avocado a day do?

Here in Australia, avocados have become a pantry staple.  Whether you use it for your avocado smash in the morning, or as a filler in your lunch salad, sandwich, or for your guacamole when friends come around for some margaritas at night, the humble avocado is a super-food and shouldn’t be disregarded from anyone’s shopping list. I personally love avocados and could easily eat half of one per day.

When Karina told me that they are hosting an avocado event, I was filled with excitement as I want to see what their chef Simon creates. Speaking of Simon, he told us in boot camp this morning that he is whipping up some Avocado Ice cream after class today for the next “Long Table Dinner”. I immediately thought, this is going to be interesting! No sooner he mentioned avocado, a few people around me started talking about their favourite avocado recipes and uses. This discussion took the pain away from the exercises that we had to do …. Added bonus!

No sooner, ping an email from Karina comes through asking me to write a blog about avocados. So, I went to google to find out some more facts about this fruit. I’m aware of its health benefits and uses but I needed something more. After three hours of researching (mind you an hour and a half was spent looking up new recipes that I must try) I found a few cool facts that left me like… I feel more knowledgeable now. I can list them all but how boring would that be? No one wants to read boring facts so instead I want to talk about the avocados in South America. The avocados there were some of the most delicious ones that I have ever tried.

Every market that I went to was filled with buckets and boxes of avocados at prices that I have never seen in my life. Try $1.00 for a 1 kg! It’s unheard off isn’t it here in Australia let alone Canada. With this price, I was buying enough to have one a day. No wonder my skin glowed by the end of my south American Adventure.

On the Inca Trail in Peru, avocados were constantly served and no sooner they were plated up, they were demolished. I remember one of our first lunches that was served - sandwiches. (Nothing beats a good fresh sandwich after 4 hours of uphill hiking). Two massive plates of guacamole were put on the table (approx. 14 avocados were used according to the chef) along with other things like ham, cheese, cucumber and tomato. What was the first that was cleared? Yep the guacamole.

 

Now I have shared an interesting story, I suppose I better share something from my research as Karina will be wondering what I did at Halo Espresso on Angelo Street in South Perth for the ENTIRE afternoon.

So… did you know?

1. The avocado is a fruit. Don’t worry, I got this one wrong when I did a “pop test”

2. There are 80 different varieties of Avocados. Hass is the most popular.

3. They originated in Central Mexico. Today, Peru is one of the largest world producers and exporters along with California.

4. Avocados are grown in Australia. Queensland, NSW and yes our very own WA have conditions that enable Avocados to be grown. I also read this article that Avocados are booming in WA. Let’s hope that prices will drop as supply has increased.

5. The Avocado has more potassium than bananas.

In conclusion, I hope you feel enlightened about what I have shared and I hope I have also created some excitement for the next dinner Horizon Events will be hosting. I certainly can’t wait as I love avocados! In fact, I’m off home now to make a chocolate avocado mousse with a cold green smoothie!

Written by April Louise