Saturday, November 20, 2010

The wrong side of the crossbucks

I took the train back home. In my little(!) roomette were two chairs that faced one another and which could recline until each one was absolutely flat, touching to become a bed. The conductor pulled out (and down) the chair facing my chair and put a towel across the seat so I could use it as a footstool and still keep my shoes on. If you locked the door and pulled a curtain across it, your roomette became a private bathroom with a sink that folded down to fill and up to empty. Beneath a step which swiveled up was a commode - hidden but welcome for a long trip.

Of course, our family's usual experience held true: as in when we buy something, it goes wrong (or breaks) and is replaced with a substitute that is great. When I showed my ticket stub to the attendant who was supposed to tell me where car 9710, room 2 was located, he looked perplexed.

"We already have someone in 2," he half muttered to a fellow trainman standing next to him. He turned to me and asked if I had already had breakfast and offered to show me to the dining car while they made up a room for me.

There, I learned two things. Eating aboard a moving train is fun. But, eating while sitting on the side of the table moving backwards is not. I switched sides so as to face the direction of travel and scarfed up a hot breakfast. I was, so I was told, the person that closed the kitchen. Last to eat before lunch.

It was a strange experience to sit on the wrong side of the crossbucks at a level crossing and watch the traffic pile up while waiting for us to move. I felt like waving but settled for sipping some coffee, instead. Oh yes, there was an ever full coffee dispenser at the end of the car. I learned to get refills while the train was not moving very fast. I once found myself surfing from wall to wall down the smooth sides of the narrow corridor while trying to keep the coffee inside its lidded cup.

I did the crossword in the newspaper that was provided but it looked as if someone who was over a hundred years old had written it out. Trains tend to shake, rock, and roll. So did the handwriting. I was worried about being able to read but that was not a problem. I believe I could read while hanging by my thumbs. It's a vice.

Next time, I will bring water and more snacks. The two bottles of water in the window cup holders held maybe half a cup each. There was lunch provided but I left the dining car before dessert in sheer self preservation. The waiter stopped me and asked if I was sure I wanted to leave without dessert.

No, I wasn't, but I did anyway . . .


ol Doc said...

I am looking at a 5 hour drive on Wednesday. If there was a train going my direction, I might be tempted to book a roomette. And your recovery time was faster than car travel allows. Nice to know about the luxury of such accomodations. And you had a toilet and sink! Just like in da movies!

ol Doc said...
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RANGER said...

Uhh, not exactly like in the movies. If you look up the concept of "small" in the dictionary, you might find a picture of that little compartment.

Zeta said...

Aawww train ride. We love them. We keep talking about taking a vacation with a train ride included. I understand about the motion of the train. I tried to practice on my steno machine, but the train rocking verses my typing made me dizzy.