Gathan Beaga

train (pt. ii)

I’m at Upper Hutt now, and still no more wireless networks in evidence… not since Kaiwharawhara back in Wellington. Not even anything close to the station itself.

I guess the reason why there were so many back in Wellington may be as much a function of the landscape as any characterisation of the people belonging to either geography. As the train curved along the harbour shore, under the hill, it would have bathed in the beneficent rays of 802.11 radiation from any and all of the wireless enabled households on the hills above. In flatter countryside, such as through the Hutt and elsewhere, the wireless signals will have been stopped by the intervening houses.

Interesting. Now I wonder if I can post this before I lose cellular coverage?

[Several minutes later:] Nope.

Just past Upper Hutt there’s some rough country, a short tunnel, and then the grand-daddy of all NZ train tunnels (I suspect) under the Rimutaka Ranges. I’ll have to wait until I get onto the plains of the Wairarapa on the other side before I try to post this.

Just past the end of the Rimutaka tunnel is my favourite moment in the whole trip – I’ve blogged on this before – but you come down a long valley, swing to the left around the last ridge at the end, and out to your right is a long view of open country and a lake. Very pretty indeed. Except I’m on the left of the train tonight so I must be content merely in describing it.

The air noise increases just as we are about to exit the tunnel – yes, equalise the ears as we emerge. It’s sunny over here. The ranges and the prevailing winds are such that it can often be claggy and moist in Wellington but hot and dry here in the Wairarapa, which is probably why this particular commuter train is usually packed.

And so we pull in to Featherston.

[Several more minutes later:] Still no go on posting. And yet I can get to Google. What I’ve done is set up my MacBook to use my cell phone as a modem, via bluetooth. I couldn’t begin to describe how I set this up – it was a couple months ago now (with the aid of Ross Barkman’s pages on the subject, from memory).

Now we’re at Woodside, possibly the cutest train station in the country. Which is not saying much, actually. (In other words, it’s been painted recently and isn’t located in an industrial zone.)

It’s looking dry over here, just as it was in Wellington, but there is still some grass – a legacy of all the crap weather over Christmas. In fact, (he says, looking out the window a bit more) it’s definitely greener than is usual for late summer / early autumn.

Now to try posting this again…

[A couple minutes later.] Nope.

Well, there have still been no more wireless networks. Not so surprising out here in the country though. For amusement though, there are two other phones and a computer within bluetooth range though. Should I…?

I’d better not.

The late afternoon sun really does cast a nice light. On the other hand though, it still does nothing for people whose houses (and lives) are orientated towards the road. The train lines always seem to pass by their waste dumps back yards and you get to see the worst of what was supposed to be hidden from view.

To my left, in the distance, are the hills – the Tararuas. It’s raining up there – more of Michelle’s orographic precipitation. I wonder if they are on the other side, in their jungle house, as I type?

Not far from Masterton now. One last try…

[A couple minutes later.] No. Time to shut up shop and post this on a better connection.

Until later, then.