What a difference a roomette makes! We left Florida on Friday afternoon at about 1:00pm, not exactly looking forward to the trip but hoping that with the guarantee of a berth in a roomette we would find the trip more pleasant than the one down. As soon as we got on the train, the conductor informed us that lunch was being served. Seemed like a good way to start the trip. Sitting in the Dining Car is really cool. The tables are large and the food is quite good. We were in high spirits, ordered our food and watched the scenery go by. It’s very pleasant sitting in a large open area with white-clothed tables, civilized in fact. One of the waiters who might have been the head waiter was the one we got and he left much to be desired. Who knows maybe they don’t make that much money but somehow I think with the steady work, health care, vacation and probably unionized, he could have been much better. First of all he had this habit of starting to take your order and then either walking away while you were still talking or jumping across the aisle to take the newly-arrived guests. I ordered tea with my meal and he never asked me what I wanted. So of course he brought me tea – I said, “Did I tell you what kind of tea I wanted”? I guess it did sound a little snotty but it wasn’t delivered in that manner. He looked at me and said,”What do you want”? “Herbal”. “What kind”? “What do you have”? Finally I settled on Apple Spice only to be told upon his return that they were out of Apple Spice. “OK, orange”. Tea was only the beginning of what they would be out of!
After lunch, we went to our tiny roomette and figured out how we and our luggage were going to live and sleep in this 5′ by 6′ cubicle. Let’s see now, if I put this bag here and the suitcase there and Peter puts his suitcase over there…well honestly it was going to be really tight in here and I need to stretch out my legs a little.
For a while, we sat across from one another and tried putting our legs off to the side while we read. I am SO HAPPY that I brought a John Grisham novel because it held my attention for hours during this trip. There was the small tray table you could pull up and out of a slot by the window and opened up between the two of us. Neat, it had a checkerboard stenciled on it. I propped up my computer and although there was no Wi-Fi, I worked on writing a blog in the Word program so I could upload it when I got home. And the afternoon slipped by. However, at some point I had to pee (no surprise there) and I asked Peter if he had seen a restroom. No, he hadn’t so I went out and down one aisle and into the next car and then back to the car behind us and saw nothing. I can’t remember now if Peter left to go ask a conductor or whether someone informed him that the toilet was in the roomette! Really?! Yes really! The before picture is above and you see my TOWN bag sitting on a shelf. Here is the after photo.
Now it should be clear as to what the first half of this blog title is all about! Intimacy is mandatory. Above the toilet is a sink with real running water and a mirror above it. The sink pulls down from the wall, the faucets are there and there are drain holes in the back of the sink so when you pick it up to return it, the water runs out. Just amazing design and use of space.
Well once we discovered the facilities we had to work out some plans to use them. Not going into a lot of detail here, truly it would be TMI!
To while away the late afternoon, we watched a movie on my computer and it was a great way to watch one of the old Preston Sturgess movies Peter had packed. We made reservations for an 8:00 dinner leaving Peter enough time to make a martini in our little room first. I had packed a very cute little plastic shaker and we had brought along some gin. There was ice down the hall (just like a hotel) and so he enjoyed his pre-dinner cocktail just as if we were home. We had already spent so much time on trains in the past few days that the train was beginning to feel like a getaway home to us. Dinner was delicious; We had steak and a baked potato and uh oh, no vegetable medley. They were out so they substituted roasted corn with tomato or roasted red peppers , couldn’t quite discern! It was all good and by the way, meals are included in the fare for the roomette,
All afternoon as I sat in my seat reading, wrapped in a shawl, I kept complaining about how cold it was. We thought we could adjust the temp and although there was a thermostat I think it was only for heat because nothing changed. I should have known this would be a problem at night. As we were eating dinner, Thomas, our compartment attendant made up our beds and when we returned it looked mighty cosy. Peter opted for the top bunk as he was agile and I had no intention of climbing down every time I had to pee. We sat up reading for some time and then I realized just how cold I was going to be all night. I slept in my sweat pants and a tee shirt, I had the shawl, I put socks on my feet and tried blocking the vents with a towel but that kept blowing off. It was a very fitful night for me while Peter slept comfortably up above and about 5:30am I realized I should block the vents with one of the pillows. Awake again by 6:30am, I finally gave up the idea of sleep. We brushed our teeth, splashed water on our faces and headed to the Dining Car for breakfast.