first impressions of train travel

Coming out of the city, there’s not a lot to look at that might be described as picturesque: the backs of commercial buildings, tree-obscured neighborhoods, concrete and earthen walls, parking lots. There is a fair amount of graffiti and it’s fun to see it go wizzing by like a cartoon gallery show. The train slows and speeds back up a lot. Sometimes we’re barely moving at all, but we never come to a full stop. I’m not sure the reason for this–maybe some kind of traffic negotiation.

Our seats were assigned at random, but I wound up with the window. Not only that, but the guy next to me was extremely tall and the stewardess took pity on him and got him a seat with extra leg room. Not sure what that’s like, as I’ve already got more than I need (maybe three times the space you get on an airplane), but good for him. And good for me: I’ve got the window and the aisle.

My finely honed child-ignoring skills are coming into play, as there are two nonstop, toddler warblers behind me. They have some kind of electronic game that accompanies their prattling with two alternating, muted and broken power chords. Their mother tells them to “stop” about every thirty seconds and they burst out in tears about every thirty minutes. The train is significantly quieter than plane travel, but so far, my fellow travelers are making up the difference. I may need the earbuds when naptime comes.

I was surprised by the lack of security procedures in the train terminal and the staff there was helpful but less than coordinated. They all seemed to know how to handle the check-in of my bike, but each had a piece of information not shared by the others. So I made a few rounds between four or so of them until I managed to share with each the whole of the knowledge I had collected from them individually, and thereby I gained the four magical tickets, attached them to my bike box, and had it admitted to the luggage check.

I hear rumor that refreshments are offered downstairs in the car adjoining mine. A glass of red wine might go a long way toward reinvigorating my child-ignoring strength. I think I’ll go check that out.


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