Friday, January 18, 2008

New Train of Thought

Flying in this country has reached the point where it makes traveling by Greyhound look good. I could stand taking off my shoes and using those silly little bottles for shampoo and conditioner if I knew that my flight would be on schedule, that I'd sit in a clean plane, and that the flight attendants would have a little more cordiality than what you might receive from a prison guard at Guantanamo. But since these things have all disappeared as completely as the term "stewardess, " I travel on any U.S. airlines as seldom as possible and have decided that, for my next trip to San Francisco, I'm taking the train.
I know the sole trace of bygone days will be found only in the name of the route, The Coast Starlight, but that is almost enough. I'm sure that the dining car serves Nescafe and that any food will have been rapidly thawed in a microwave before serving. The lounge will have all of the elegance of a MacDonald's with a liquor license, and I'll probably be sitting beside small , insomniac children who are not housebroken.
And yet I'm going to travel through three states at a pace that will be leisurely enough that I can savor the different landscapes. Nobody will tell me to take off my shoes. And there will be a liquor license in that ugly lounge.
Call me crazy but I'm looking forward to this--and if it turns out to be dreadful, at least it will be a good story.

4 comments:

Kim said...

I have taken this train from Seattle to LA and back, and it was wonderful. You will see things those jet setters will never see, including the backsides of every small town on the West Coast and completely unspoiled landscapes in the middle of the night, all to the tune of the train on the tracks ... there is still no more romantic way to travel. I'm so envious! Kim

Eugene Latt said...

Experiences of train travel are unique.Just like taking a slow boat into the past.
Eugene

Janet Brown said...

I really think that if you want to know what is important to a country, ride its trains. In Thailand no matter what class of ticket you have, you never go hungry. In America as I remember dimly from past train trips, if you want to eat good food, bring your own. And in your country, Eugene? I can't wait to find out!

Eugene Latt said...

Hello Janet,
Riding a train in Myanmar is somewhat intrepid.Totally uncomfortable yet the sights make it worthwhile.Food is just average.Yeah,I agree a train ride can give glimpses of a country.