14 March 2007

A Good Walk Spoiled

You know what it's like when you get righteously indignant, outraged even, and in the midst of your fuming, mentally compose a scathing blog entry that bitterly denounces all the idiots responsible for your frustration, which cheers you up almost to the point of the inconvenience/insult/injury seeming worthwhile? Only to find that you were totally mistaken, and the whole mess was actually your own stupid fault?

Well, maybe you don't, but I do. Today I did the Manly to Spit walk, which is about 10km/6mi of mostly harbourside paths and trails through a variety of terrains and bioregions and which is absolutely stunning, easily the best walk I've taken in Greater Sydney ever, only to come out at the Spit Bridge with hopes of hopping on a bus back into the city in time for dinner and a movie.

Instead, I found a road that was more like a freeway and, while there were buses galore zooming past me, no bus stop. I walked across the bridge, carried on for another 500m or so before the road turned into a real freeway with no pedestrians allowed. I tramped back across the bridge, assuming the bus stop must be on the other side, but no, not only was there no bus stop, that side of the road also turned into a no-pedestrians motorway.

The only remedy seemed to be to take a bus going in the wrong direction, i.e., back to Manly, which was exactly where I didn't want to go, or at least far enough in that direction so as to be able to find a bus stop going in the right direction. So, cursing all the while, I stood at the Manly-bound stop while five, count 'em, five buses zoomed by me without stopping. They were all express buses, which apparently didn't consider the Spit Bridge a worthwhile stopping point.

Back across the bridge again, seriously considering hiking up the side of the semi-mountain where the road led, pedestrian ban or no pedestrian ban, and thinking of all the exquisite tortures I would inflict on Transport Minister John Watkins if I ever caught him outside of his chauffeured limo when, tucked away among some parked cars, I discovered the bus stop I'd somehow overlooked my first and second time around. So, not only had I wasted the better part of an hour, but my blog topic for the evening had been demolished as well. Oh, yeah, and I'd revealed myself once more as an idiot. Well, a doofus, anyway.

But thankfully, Sydney Transport or whatever those yo-yos are calling themselves this week, still had more insults and injuries in store for me, so I got my topic back. First the bus got stuck in a gargantuan traffic jam to the point where I might as well have been walking, then when I got off to do just that, I discovered I was in the wrong suburb (okay, that's not really Sydney Transport's fault). It was then that I discovered that the entire North Shore railway system (which I was planning on using to get across the bridge) was shut down because a train was stuck on the track. In a sane city, they would have moved the broken-down train. Might have taken a half hour or so, but that was fine with me, since I wanted to get dinner first anyway. But no, it was shut down for the night, and after already walking the 10k through forests and rocky cliffs and across the tiny hidden beaches where I really should have stopped to go swimming, plus 2 or 3k more looking for the bus stop, plus 1k more from North Sydney to Milson's Point, I also had to walk across the Harbour Bridge into downtown Sydney.

Which, come to think of it, isn't such a terrible fate after all. It was completely dark by now, the breeze was gentle and warm, and the lights spread out across the city and the harbour were absolutely spectacular. I forgave everything and everybody, but my feet still hurt. Even still, despite all my bitching, the walk wasn't spoiled at all, just extended far beyond expectations. That doesn't mean I'm going to give up a good blog title, however, so, with apologies to Mark Twain and the game of golf, there you are.

1 comment:

Jersey Beat said...

I usually come back from anywhere else complaining about the mass transit there in comparison to new york city's. but I found the buses in Austin to be great. I zipped all over the city - including a several-mile run from downtown up to the UT strip along Guadalupe Ave. - and the buses proved to be big, comfortable, run on time, and only cost 50 cents a trip.

Oh, and welcome back to NYC, Mr. Livermore!
- Jim Testa