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The Train

I took the amtrak from Portland to Seattle and back again. On the way there a young couple traded their business class seat to me, so they could sit together. I liked business class. There was a nice little heater right by my chair, and the seat was big enough to sit crosslegged in. On the way back, I took my comp ticket to the ticket counter to ask if I could upgrade it to business class. The lady checked and checked in the computer, and the moment she realized that my ticket was a comp, she scoffed, and said "No! This is a free ticket!" as if it was totally outrageous that I thought I might get away with riding in business class. I am after all just skiing riffraff, with a green gregory pack on my back and an old north face jacket. I thanked her for her help and went away to contemplate the class divide. I came out below it that time.

The trip back was pleasurable too. I like the groundedness of traveling by train. I feel calm, and unafraid on a train. Flying, as I will be later today, is much more stressful. Part of it is all the security. And part of it is just being off the ground in a giant hunk of metal carrying tons of explosive fuel and dependent on electronic equipment for communication and navigation. No, the train feels civilized and reasonable to me.

I keep asking about sleeper trains, because if I could get a sleeper berth for a reasonable rate, I would certainly travel cross country via train. But apparently the prices are outrageous. I need to find out the specifics of the price. I have traveled up and down the country of Chile by overnight train, and it is a wonderful way to go. It cost about $30 each way, about 17 years ago.

Egad I'm getting old.

I notice that the book I am reading is influencing my writing. Normally I use only minimal descriptors, preferring nouns and verbs. But I am more tempted by adjectives and adverbs while reading this thick tome. I can't come close to the degree that Taylor Caldwell uses descriptors--her sentences are wallowing in them. But a few more are sneaking in. I will experiment for a while with giving my sentences more color and texture. Gradually. It goes somewhat against the grain.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 17th, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, good God! I can't believe you had the audacity to ask for an upgrade on a COMP ticket!! ;-)

I have also heard that the trains are expensive these days. Last Christmastime, I rode the train from Williams to the Grand Canyon with my friend Julie. They were also comp tickets! We played cribbage and drank hot chocolate, watching the snowfall through steamy windows. It was a most enjoyable day!
Dec. 17th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
I'd like to take a train journey in America, through the mountains in winter. Maybe we'll do it this year. Oakland to Seattle round trip is $200 or so per person, but near twice that if you want a sleeper. I'd like to do Vancouver to Calgary through the mountains in winter, but the journey is the destination for something like that.
Dec. 17th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
Err... if I read this right a sleeper, and I'd rather not sit in a regular seat for 25 hours, would cost $5-700 per person. So maybe I won't be doing that then.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )



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