Monday, August 1, 2011

Day 285 - Best Friends

Thought of the day: The train is now chugging its way through the forests of California.  The landscape outside of the window is beautiful and serene, so different from the rugged Colorado mountains we rode past yesterday but they are equally striking. After getting settled in the train and having a good night of bumpy but peaceful sleep, I am starting to feel pretty comfortable on board.  Unsurprisingly, there's always an adjustment process when I try out something new.  I had expected too much of the living condition and service on the train, so I got a bit of a reality shock when I just got on board yesterday.  Now that I have had a better idea of the state of things and adjusted my expectations accordingly, I am actually pretty amazed at how well things run.  The attendant in our car has been working non-stop for days. She is apparently the only person who works in this particular car of this particular train and as long as the train doesn't take a break, she doesn't get a break either.  And the attendants in the dining car work non-stop for several hours in a row during breakfast, lunch and dinner to serve the entire train of diners and I don't see a whole lot of people tipping them.  Our room is tiny but it really has all we need. The beds are surprisingly comfortable.  During the day, they can be compacted and stowed away to make space for day time activities. As the time I spend on the train grows, my appreciation of the attendants and of our living condition grows too. Meanwhile, David has just taken the girls up to the observation car to take a better look of California, so I get to have a moment of uninterrupted peace to enjoy the experience on the train.  No matter how often I ride a train, the feeling on the train is always a bit strange and surreal.  When the train is moving, it's as if you are going through a time tunnel.  You watch the landscape roll by and there's just enough time to get a glimpse of everything but not enough time to get connected with anything.  It's a form of inconsequential existence where you float above life as a pure observer even though you are all surrounded by it.  In a way,  that gives you an opportunity to become more introspective. There's clearly a restorative power in a journey like this. If one has just gone through a tough time in life, I can imagine that a train trip like this can be calming and healing.

Photo of the day:

Jasmine, Lila and their new best friend hugging each other: another strange and surreal thing that can happen on a train is the speed in which friendships can blossom.

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