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During my brief 5 night trip to Australia this past week, I visited two cities, Sydney and Canberra. To get between the two, I took the train. I considered using Avios to fly the short hop on Qantas, but the train was only $35 USD, and I couldn’t pass it up. I figured it would allow me to see some more of the Australian countryside.

At just after noon on Sunday I boarded the train at Sydney Central Station. The train was scheduled to arrive in Canberra at 4:23. I figured I’d work a couple hours and spend the rest of the time admiring Australia.

I was in booked in economy coach B in seat 65, which is labeled as a window seat and at the very front of the car. When I arrived, however, there was a gentleman already seated in 65. The aisle seat next to him was vacant, so I just took that. I was a bit bummed to not be seated directly at the window, but I didn’t really want to bicker about it. I could still see a good amount out the window.

My desires are derailed

At barely 5 minutes into the trip the guy next to me abruptly closed the curtains. He then proceeded to settle into his seat for a nap. Great. No view. This took me from a little bummed to mildly annoyed. How am I supposed to see a wild ‘roo if the curtains are closed?

Now, not only was the guy seated in my seat, but he was blocking the view entirely, a view I had hoped to enjoy. Being seated at the front of the car meant that window was the only way I got a decent view of the landscape. I thought about switching seats, but the conductor had specifically said we were on a full train.

Not even 15 minutes later the man sat up. The nap didn’t last long at all. Good. Or so I thought. To my indignation he spent the next few minutes looking out the window by PEERING BETWEEN THE CRACK IN THE CLOSED CURTAINS! Wonderful. He was looking out the window, and I couldn’t see a thing. And he was sitting in my designated seat no less!

As exasperating as this was for me, I still didn’t address it directly. Maybe I should have. An added element was that he didn’t seem to speak English, at least in the two brief verbal interactions I had with him. I decided to just focus on working from my laptop and try to forget about the whole situation.

For the remainder of the trip the curtains varied between completely closed, nearly closed with Mr. Window Hog’s head stuck between them, and partly open (about 18″ max). Several times I tried to make it obvious that I wanted to look out the window as well, but it was to no avail.

australia nsw countryside

But not all is lost

The train was full leaving Sydney, but it slowly started to thin. Once there were a couple empty rows, I put my laptop away and moved back a few seats to get some window time. The annoyance faded. Australia was beautiful, and it was still a good day.

What would you have done in this situation?

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