This is the last leg of our journey, the final chapter in Peterlori’s Great Adventure. The trip down to Florida was a bit rough and it lasted 26 hours, and believe me that’s a long time to be on a train. Guess I wouldn’t do so well on those romantic transatlantic crossing of the old days! Well, the trip back to New York lasted 30 hours! I couldn’t imagine why the way back was longer than the way down until I learned that we were going to Tampa to drop off some travelers and then head east again and north.
I’m not used to having breakfast so early in the morning and certainly not doing so sitting in a dining car opposite a stranger. The stranger actually was a lovely young woman who was a waitress and lived on City Island. That made for interesting conversation as neither of us had ever met someone who actually lived there. I had the same issues with the waiter as before. He rushes you to make your order and listens half-heartedly if at all before he races off to deal with another diner. This time I got potatoes instead of the grits I ordered. The girl ordered a vegetable omelette BUT she didn’t know there were no vegetables otherwise they would have been in last night’s medley! More roasted corn and tomato or red pepper.
I wish I had some real drama or humor to interject into this post but I think the rest of the day just seemed to drift by. Even though we ate breakfast so early, when they came around asking us to make if we wanted to make lunch reservations we passed. The day was bright and sunny and sitting in our little roomette and reading was a great pastime. Peter was ensconced on the upper berth and loved sitting up there. The only problem was that the lower berth was still in berth mode and needed to be put back into individual seats.
Finally I caught a glimpse of Thomas going by and I snagged him and asked him to please put our room back in order. He worked his way down the aisle and eventually got to us. Peter asked him if we could leave the upper berth as it was because he really liked it up there. Thomas said yes as long as we let him remake the bed sometime before we got back to NYC .
There is no real dinner service on this last leg of the trip but there is what they call a simple dinner. “The” waiter went to each roomette and took orders for this light repast. Our choices were half of a roast chicken or a pasta dish made with spinach and a light garlic cream sauce. As I said, the food so far had been good but you still have to remember where you are and under what circumstances. Food and some dishes in particular are mass-produced and I had a feeling that the cream sauce and pasta fell into the category. So we ordered the chicken meals and were told it would be served around 4:30 or when we got to Baltimore.
When we went into the Dining Car, we were seated across from a couple who within moments went from polite hellos to those uncomfortable airplane conversations one might have with a total stranger. What is about the fact that you don’t know this person and will never see them again that allows people to reveal their inner feelings, their secret fallacies and even air the dirty laundry about their family? It wasn’t long before I was nudging Peter under the table and trying to nod in agreement in hopes the discourse would wind down. Way, way too much information! It was interesting that he had been born in the Midwest but raised around the panhandle and she was from south Florida and that they were celebrating their anniversary with a trip to New York City and then Niagra Falls and then Toronto. We are always fascinated by what tourists think New York City is going to be like and what they are planning to see. This couple had bought those New York Passes that appeal to tourists. She had no idea what was in the Metropolitan Museum but was definitely interested in seeing Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum….oh well.
It was dark and freezing cold when we pulled into Penn Station. Peter’s much-loved, much-worn over-the-shoulder bag had ripped around one of the zippers and so he was anxious and afraid something might fall out – I had to walk behind him. All I was thinking about was that I was wearing sweat pants and a tee shirt with a shawl tightly wrapped around me and hoping we wouldn’t have to be outside too long. We did luck out getting a cab and believe me it was luck as the area around Penn Station on a Saturday evening is a zoo!
We were so happy to be in our own apartment after soooooo long on the train. I surely thought the cats would be at the door to greet us but no. Nicky never got out of the chair he was sitting on and I don’t know where Nora was but the fact that we had returned apparently had no real effect on them. And as much as I adore my fur babies, it would have been nice if they had at least pretended to be dogs and wag their tails and jump around when we came home. And the thing is the cats know their owners are needy and just for spite they act indifferently lol lol. That will teach us not to abandon them for a week and expect a warm welcome!