|Our really marvelous bedroom compartment--the type that we had all the way back across the country.|
It cost more than the smaller roomettes we had on the way to Boston,
but it was roomy and private, and we really loved it.
1. Always wear your glasses when visiting the little bathroom down at the end of the train car for the first time. If you don't, as I didn't, you will see several buttons to push, each with a little blurry sign next to it. I pushed the first and largest black one, expecting to hear the toilet flush. Nothing happened right away, so I poked at a few other buttons, one of which just happened to be red.
When I emerged victorious from the tiny cubicle, I almost ran over Rene, our kind and most solicitous car attendant, who politely inquired if he could be of service. I thought--oh, my, this traveling first class business is really something else--you get such wonderful service (while wondering how on earth he might assist me with the business at hand).
It was only on my second visit to the necessary room--this time wearing my glasses--that I could read the sign next to that little red button, which said, Press for emergency assistance.
Ah, well, I can only assume that Rene, used as he is to older, near-sighted passengers, has run into this situation many times before, which would explain his air of calmness and general lack of anxiety.
|The first train: Cameras were at the ready!|
2. This riding on the train is a special experience. We discovered through chats with our table mates in the dining car, people were on the train for a variety of reasons--because they could no longer stand the indignities of post 9/11 air travel, because they wanted to see where they were going, or because they just wanted to experience the nostalgia of old-fashioned rail travel.
We were trying hard to act like grown-ups, but were so excited when our train arrived in Albuquerque and we were to board for the first leg of our journey. But then I saw that others around us were a bit giddy, too, when I observed the cameras coming out to document both the train and the travelers. That somehow made the fact that we were so thrilled okay, and we all gaily took pictures of every part of this wonderful travel experience.
3. Now that we have traveled by train, we have somehow become true Travelers. Going places by plane never had this effect on either of us, but now we want to experience travel throughout the world, mile by mile. Maybe we'll try freighters or the Queen Mary to get ourselves across the ocean; once there, we might try trains and canal boats to travel through England, Italy, and France--and maybe we'll even go to China or to Russia. That's as far as we've gotten with our plans and fantasies, but henceforth we will consider ourselves Travelers, with a capital T.