3 my first ride on a train My name is Alice Thompson. I come from Sydney, Australia and I'm 18 y ears old. Recently I had my first ride on a long-distance train. And what a ride! A friend
and I travelled on the famous Ghan train. We go t on in Sydney and we got off in Alice Springs, right in the middle o f Australia, more than four thousand kilometres away. We spent two da ys and nights on the train.The train was wonderful and the food was g reat. We ate great meals cooked by experts! For the first few hundred kilometres of the journey, the scenery was very colourful. There wer e fields and the soil was dark red. After that, it was desert. The su n shone, there was no wind and there were no clouds in the sky. Sudde nly, it looked like a place from another time. We saw abandoned farms which were built more than a hundred years ago.The train was comfort able and the people were nice. During the day, I sat and looked out o f the window, and sometimes talked to other passengers. I read books and listened to my Chinese cassettes (I'm studying Chinese at school) . One night, at about midnight, I watched the night sky for about an hour. The stars shone like diamonds. Why is the train called the Ghan ? A long time ago, Australians needed a way to travel to the middle o f the country. They tried riding horses, but the horses didn't like t he hot weather and sand. A hundred and fifty years ago, they brought some camels from Afghanistan. Ghan is short for Afghanistan.Camels we re much better than horses for travelling a long distance. For many y ears, trained camels carried food and other supplies, and returned wi th wool and other products.The Afghans and their camels did this unti l the 1920s. Then the government built a new railway line, so they di dn't need the camels any more. In 1925, they passed a law which allow ed people to shoot the animals if theywere a problem. In 1935, the po lice in a town shot 153 camels in one day.
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