Sleepless in Seat11E

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
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Trip End Jan 04, 2012


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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bus leaves at 4pm from the Transit Centre down the road from the Hostel, it's not far. We left our bags in day storage and headed out towards the cineplex on the South Bank. I'd done a bit of hunting to find if anything was on, and other than Contagion which we had only watched a couple of days earlier, Midnight in Paris was the only choice.

On the way to the cinema I walked past a project I recognised, I remember doing some design work for it a couple of years ago an so it made sense that the project was now well underway, in fact it looks close to finishing. At the time I remember being very interested in working in and around Brisbane for the improvement in the weather it would offer. Seeing the recogniseable company logo made me think back to work and about how much I was (although I did whinge about it a lot) enjoying my last project. It's the first time I had experienced a bigger project and as so, a bigger team. In a funny way looking forward to being back in the thick of it on our return, but not just yet. The concrete can wait a little longer, as can the hard working, quick witted, eccentric but highly stressed personalities that working in construction can bring to the forefront. The chilled out life of travelling has it's upsides, and a break from that kind of environment is good for anyone - if it only helps you realise that there is nothing in your working life that should allow you to get that stressed. Work to live and not vice versa.

Not a bad film, it kept me amused. I like Owen Wilson and it's good to see him doing some easy humour. A good Woody Allen film. A big moment did occur for me at the start of the film and I see it as a little bit of a personal achievement.
Now, what possesses people to want to talk in a cinema? What reason do you have to pay $10 a ticket to chat throughout in the dark? You can chat for free in light outside.  It happens everywhere. Why not save your tidbits of conversation for a moment where everyone around you doesn't want to kill you. I hate cinema chatters. Hate is a strong word but I can't think of a better one at the moment; it isn't the people I hate, it's just the action. As a film fan, I would say it is one of the sins that would send you to movie hell, as would recommending Legally Blonde to someone  or enjoying Aeon Flux for anything other than Charlize Theron dressed in leather.
They were chatting. Loudly. In two directions. A couple behind me and a couple about 10 rows in front and 8 seats over. Not a big cinema but these two were a long way away. As the trailers finished and the music for the film rolled up the two behind stopped. The quiet provided just then heightened how loud the two ahead and left were being. I would give them a chance. I fidgeted in my seat as I grew more angry. I don't mind whispering - I whisper, thats fine. They were talking..out loud and then he Guffawed! Who guffaws for crying out loud. His arms waving somewhat uncontrollably as he laughed his time was up. The dialogue of the film started. I gave it 30 seconds and then turned to Kate "Scuse me Kate, I'm just going to have a word with them".
I jumped up and started walking across and immediately I didn't know what I was going to say. Normally I harumpf and stare at people until they just stop making noise - this was requiring action. As I got to them I bent down behind them butting into their conversation. The guy looked at me a little startled. My ginger beard must have caught him out. "Err sorry, huh?" He asked.

"Sorry guys, but could you....Shut Up" 
my mind went blank and then ".....please". At least I was polite-ish.
"Oh god, sorry" He replied. and as I sat down I was greeted by a hushed silence from the front left of the cinema. Victory.

On stepping out of the cinema, true to form, the weather for the first time really in our 4 days in Brisbane picked up and the sun shone strongly. It was as if someone knew we had to pick up our bags and lug them to the bus stop and onto the ever more depressing Greyhound.

Now this feels a little like stepping back a month or two as even though you will read this typed, I've reverted to handwriting while on the bus to make sure I pick up on the bits that make me snigger and catch my interest. It's these sort of things I want to be able to recall in years to come.
It's a little difficult writing as the sun has set beautifully to the West of Surfers Paradise which looks like an Australian Benidorm. We're crossing the border between Queensland and New South Wales and because of such the clocks are going forward 1 hour. Daylight savings. I'm not sure how this works logistically as the time zone splits the town through a roundabout. Confusion must occur.

As if to reinforce my growing contempt of all things Greyhound, our journey from Brissy has kicked off with Marley and Me on the little slightly tinted purple screen. When will they start showing things like Terminator? It just seems a little sexist.
The driver, a vast improvement on previous samples has brilliantly managed a dithery old lady for the past hour, to which I congratulated him. The lady, clearly past her 70's  is not used to travelling and seemed impressed by all things 'Gold Coast'. "Ooooo, aren't those buildings big", "Isn't the sea blue", "Aren't those waves huge" etc. "Never seen anything like that in my long life".
The driver majestically held conversation throughout. At one point the driver mentioned that his grandad was buried in the town (or close to it) where the lady was from and she bloody knew the bloke. "Couldn't believe it when she knew my grandad, when I didn't even know the fella"
With her poor hearing and repeated use of "Beg yours" whenever she was seeking repetitiion of something, his patience was outstanding. I was literally banging my head against the headrest when she just seemed to be pointing at the most obvious things to make conversation.

"Oh look, that looks like it might be a church on top of that hill"
The driver disconsolately responded "Yes I think thats what the cross is there for".
My Hero.

The journey hit the hard point shortly after picking up a large group of sunburnt hippy wannabies from Byron Bay (a port of call we are having to skip due to minimal time). This is the part of greyhound where time moves slowly and I can't sleep. I noted down in the dark a few thoughts that came to my mind during the computer game-esque journey in the dark. I was in a semi-conscious dream in which I was on the verge of going potty, I am sure.

My mind wandered on issues such as the difficulties of overtaking in different countries, whether Kangaroos looked a little like Rats with dog faces, whether Robert Downey Junior is a good actor, why Kate is hiding underneath a blanket, why the hell the driver just stood up mid driving for a stretch (I am the only other person awake on the bus and I saw this but I don't think he intended for anyone to see it), why the hell I was smiling for no reason, What Crocodile Rock by Elton John is about, how do you convert 278 km into miles in your head and how come if Australia has such a small population how are they so good at sports. I mind strayed a bit as you can tell.

As light approached I was heavily shattered, felt broken and needed to sleep. Sadly 2 hours after arriving in Newcastle we would be going on a day tour.

Note:I feel a bit like a fraud regarding the title as neither of us sat in seat 11E or close to it. Bus seats only go up to D and we were sat in row 2, seats C&D. It wouldn't have worked as a title though. "Sleepless in Seat2c&D". See, just doesn't look right.
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