Most things we write come out of a moment of enthusiasm
This is my third day on the train. I boarded at 9am on the 28th, and I am writing this on the 30th. It hasn’t been too bad really. When I first got on I was next to another Australian woman from Melbourne, but she wanted a window seat and got moved. So now I had the double all to myself, yay! I could spread out a bit and try and lay down some. They have a full table service dining car here too, plus a snack bar. I got lunch on day one and was sitting with three others who were travelling on their own too. Two of them were older and the third was a young Indian man. We had a bit of conversation, but no one was very chatty. I got a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, which was quite greasy and had about three times too much ham. At dinner I was seated with a family of three, a dad and his two daughters (10 and 16). They were really nice and we talked for a while about America and Australia. The littlest was very curious and got very excited when I started talking about kangaroos and koalas. I had the herb roasted chicken for dinner, which wasn’t too bad, quite a bit of meat that fell off the bone nicely. Filling too.
The first night’s sleep was quite uncomfortable, the seats aren’t designed to be lain across, plus I was probably a little tall. I stumbled back to dining for their final breakfast call at 8:30am (which I thought was a bit early to be finishing breakfast) and was sitting with the family again. I got a continental breakfast which was cereal, fruit, yoghurt and cinnamon bread. Not too bad for $8, with juice and coffee too. The littlest kept asking questions about Australia, and the dad asked me if we had peanut butter in Aus. I had a bit of a giggle at that, though I have to say we don’t have quite the obsession with it as Americans do. We don’t put it with chocolate for example.
I found out that we had been rerouted during the night and were currently sitting in a little town in Wyoming, waiting for the new train crew to be flown up due to union rules about how long people can work. We were there for about two hours before we got going again. There were big wildfires going through Colorado, so it wasn’t safe for the trains to go through. So we got a Wyoming tour. It was kinda cute, they kept telling us little tid bits of info about the towns we were going through (eg, the town where Butch Cassidy grew up). We got back on track in Denver and were still running on time, so that was good. I was a bit worried that it would snowball and I would miss my Indianapolis-bound train from Chicago. No such problem, so that was a relief to know.
The train didn’t have wifi like I thought it would, but it did have power points, so that is good. I have been able to type up all my blog posts in Word, so now I just need to copy and paste into WordPress, add photos, and publish.
I have been sitting behind a guy all the way from SF who is quite chatty, but also sort of irritating. One of those people who tells you almost straight away that they are seeing counsellors, don’t have a job or money, their issues with finding relationships, etc etc. I mean sure, get it out of your system, but to a random girl on a train, really? I’m quite happy to dispense life advice, but usually to people I know. Personalised info, you know? I told him just to stay positive. It was really all I could say. He also got talking to another guy sitting nearby about web cams and chat rooms with names too inappropriate to say out load on a train full of children. I put my headphones on at this point. That other guy what actually really freaking annoying, he kept playing music from his laptop without headphones. It alternated between screechy girl bands and screechy death metal type stuff. Urgh. I did ask him to use some headphones, but he was just back at it the next day. Luckily I have headphones myself, but I feel bad for the other people around that don’t. The rules of the train do say you have to use headphones, but quite a few employees walked past him and didn’t say anything. Gah.
What else? We stopped at Galesburg, Illinois and everyone bounded off the train to have a smoke. It was gross. And when the call went out for everyone to get back on they all just threw their butts into a puddle nearby (it’s raining at the moment)! Yuck! At a stop earlier in the trip the driver asked people to please throw the butts onto the tracks as they didn’t want them on the train at all. What the hell? Maybe a bin would be a good idea?? Gah.
Last night for dinner I was seated with a mother and daughter travelling together from Sacramento to visit family in Nebraska. They were really lovely, they had been to Australia before, so we had some great conversation for quite a while. They own a winery in northern California that they decided to open a few years ago, not knowing anything about wine making. It was very cool, now their wines are winning awards around the state. Teresa, the mother, gave me a business card and said that if I ever come back then I should come and stay with them for a while! It is great making all these random connections all over the place!
For my second night I had a woman sitting next to me from Denver, and I actually slept better sitting upright than I did trying to lie down. The pinched nerve feeling I had after the first night is now gone, though I would desperately love a shower…
We are almost in Chicago now. I have a two hour wait and then catch another train for six hours down to Indianapolis. Maybe this train will have wifi. I have plans to stay the night on a couch belonging to a guy called Joshua. He is quite happy to pick me up at midnight on a Saturday, and seems like a nice guy. Then tomorrow I get to check-in at Butler!!! I am arriving a day before my roomie, Bess (also from Flinders). She has requested a bed by the window if there is one, but apart from that we should be cool. I can’t wait to sleep in a bed again…
On the Indi bound train now. Just posted all my other blogs, woo! Finally just about up to date. When I was in Chicago I went hunting for a Starbucks to steal internet from, as I figured mother would be a bit worried from not hearing from me. Understatement much? Poor mummy… I sent her messages on Facebook though and also got to skype my semi-paniced boyfriend. It is lovely that people care about me so much I suppose.
I am currently feeling quite disgusting, having not washed my hair or been generally clean for three days now. I have changed my shirt a few times out of mercy for my fellow passengers. Chicago was surprisingly hot and humid, I didn’t expect it at all! I got harassed by some guy for money, almost to the “I’m going to call the cops” point, but I think he got the idea that I was broke too just in time. Twat. Chicaho looks like a nice city, I am looking forward to when we come back as part of our studies. If I can find a couch I think I will try and stay the weekend, train it back to Indy probably. As far as I know we go down on a Thursday and they will bring us back Friday, or we can hang out for a few days provided we are back in class Monday morning.
We are half an hour out of Indy now, better start packing up…