Sunday, December 27, 2009

A First Class Experience

Life on the Indian Pacific was far from roughing it. About 30 minutes prior to departure we were shown to our cabins--which were typical in size of those that I had seen in Europe. The only difference was that I had the cabin to myself, and there was an en-suite bathroom. I was shown how to use the fold out commode and sink. I paid special attention because, even though it seemed straight forward, if you didn't flush and tilt correctly you could cause a blockage. I was also told that when at my evening meal my bed would be turned down and in the morning during breakfast my bed would be made up--now this was the life. The only thing left was choosing an early or late seating assignment for meals. Liz and I had agreed that we would go for the later option. First of all, she was coming from Spain and couldn't imagine dining before 7 p.m. Then there was the issue that we couldn't be bothered getting up too early in the morning. So with all the important details taken care of, I was able to settle into what would be my home for the next 48 hours.

As we pulled out of the station I was relieved to find that my cabin was facing forward. I could hear Liz in the corridor, and I knew she hadn't been so lucky. A drama was brewing. Fortunately, her Tour Guide was gracious enough to change cabins with her. It actually worked out for the best because now rather than being at opposite sides of the train car, we were next door to each other.
It wasn't long before it was announced that the red group was to report for lunch, and that at 2:00 the blue group--which included us--would report for an ice-breaker in the lounge. Uggh, these types of things normally drive me crazy and I was relieved that I had Liz to help me survive. Not only did she already know the people on the train with her tour group, but she is a social butterfly. In fact, as the announcement was being made I could hear her out in the hallway chatting it up with everyone that came by.
Over the next 2 day's Liz's social skills proved to be handy, as we became "consentidas" to the service staff. Not that service wasn't impeccable for all, it was just that we got a few extra "toques." Liz's gregarious character allowed us to meet some interesting people on board including: an American who had just sold his computer company and was out and about exploring the world, two adventurous British Gentlemen, a British Expat and his French Partner who enjoyed fine wines, and an Australian Couple celebrating 25 year of marriage.

The Australian couple actually were traveling in Platinum Service. This temporary service was a step up from Gold with a normal bed and a non-fold out commode. Between an invitation from our new friends, and special exception from the staff Liz and I were able to visit the Platinum Car, a privilege that was granted to no other Gold Class travelers.
Now there was one fear of my Indian Pacific Journey that I knew Liz could not solve. I had read several reviews that claimed that rough train lines, paired with continual stopping and going, made sleep impossible. Now if you ever have sat next to me on a long distance, overnight plane ride you may be laughing. After all, on my recent return flight from Oregon to Australia I curled up into a ball and slept a full 8 hours. The guy next to me said he had never seen anything like it. But still, I was nervous about not being able to sleep comfortably on the train., especially since I tend to be a bit grouchy when I haven't had a good night's sleep. However, instead of finding the rough tracks bothersome I spent two evenings being gently lulled to sleep as I looked out the Indian Pacific window at the immense star studded sky.

The Indian Pacific takes pride in being one of the great train journeys in the world, and for me it proved to be a first class experience.


  1. This sounds wonderful. My only overnight train trip was one from Chicago to....Albuqueque:) Fantastic memories!

  2. Suzer, it was a fabulous experience. I've done several overnighters in the States and in Europe and none compared to the IP.