Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Drawing Room A

My concept of train travel came largely from White Christmas, in particular the scene in which Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye, and Vera-Ellen's voice double sing about snow to a club car menu.

Imagine my sorrow when I discovered that the AutoTrain had no club car. It had a lounge full of old drunk people demanding refills on their merlot. But no club car. There would be no making a mountain scene out of parsley and a blue napkin that night.

I was also horribly misled by the vastness of White Christmas' train. How wide was this train? Did it completely round down the Appalachians on its way to Vermont? Because our roomette on the AutoTrain was this wide:

Not nearly as wide as one single, svelte Friendboy Andy.

Well, maybe it only looked small with the seats in the upright configuration. It would probably open right up when the beds were taken down.

Or... not.

So it was us, the old people, and the merlot the lounge bartender pretended he had locked up. There was pretty much only one way to deal with that:

The AutoTrain offered entertainment other than walking up and down the cars and pretending we were in a full-motion nursing home; it offered a movie--two showings, apparently to deal with the massive demand-- of a 2004 juggernaut entitled Chester: Hero of Central Park. I gather that some sort of talking dog was involved.

We were up late by AutoTrain standards, and turned in at 9:45. Because I am the bride, I got the top bunk.

I was held in the bed by the alleged seat belt-like netting you see in the turn-down photo. At first I enjoyed the netting, as it somewhat resembles what keeps the astronauts in place when they sleep on the shuttle, had NASA the desire to strangle its crews mid-orbit.

I passed a very pissy night. I'd drift off, the train would semi-derail, I'd wake up, and lay there unable to go back to sleep because I was so pissed about not being able to sleep.

At least the Bridesmobile passed a restful evening.

Andy wisely decided that my first introduction to the Beltway probably shouldn't come after four minutes of sleep, driving a car with stuffed animals piled to the rearview.

Andy is multitalented.

I can't parallel park my own body, let alone a sunken Corolla. Andy, though-- this man knows how to put a Master's degree to work.

yep at:


mike, short line said...

No club car? Come on, what's a train ride without $4.25 ham and cheese sandwiches? Actually, that was almost 15 years ago when my family went on a whirlwind trip of the Northeast, so I imagine they're probably $7 or more now.

Our first stop was Niagara Falls, then on to Boston via New York. I left my Game Boy — this is the original, thick, gray, spinach-green original we're talking about, not the thin, full-colored or touch-screen ones these kids play today — on the train to Niagara Falls, and at Penn Station, I decided to enlist the help of the famously-friendly NYC customer service people to see if they had found it:

ME: "Um, I think I left my Game Boy on the train. Have you guys found it?"

Glad to see you didn't misplace your car.

Emma said...

To me that looks like luxury... we get none of that business on the Eurotunnel, just some dodgy Burger King in the terminal. They then load us onto the train like a herd of cows, tell us to do odd things with the windows, then whoosh us through the tunnel.

Of course, if we were on the Eurostar instead of just the car thingy, then there's a bit more choice, and it's more expensive. *sigh* still no club car though.

red pill junkie said...

Well, the train in the movie "Some Like it Hot" seemed so much wider and comfortable... although now that I think about it, I wouldn't really mind much to find myself in a tiny crampy space with Marylin Monroe ;-)

Josh The Pilot said...

I've been on the EuroStar twice, and I thought it was great. It sure beats the hovercraft or a ferry.

Anonymous said...

"Pine Tree, coming in to Pine Tree..."

Oh you shouldn't tempt me with the White Christmas quotes! (I have that movie memorized and have seen it at least one billion times...) :)

I'm sad that your train experience wasn't nearly as fun as the one in the movie. Although anything is made better by singing "Snow" in harmony. ;)

HelloBettyLou said...

Love Eurostar! I slept through the entire ride from London to Paris. The train from Paris to Frankfurt, however, smelled like rice and children.

laura in virginia said...

Yay! Welcome to my state!

Emma said...

Ah, the EuroStar JTP, is wonderful, I share your love of the EuroStar. I have been on it about 5 times now. The best being the 30th Birthday treat for the other half, when I splurged and bought us first class tickets in both directions. We got slightly *happy* on free Champagne.

The EuroTunnel... only been on it once, and it lacked the anticpation and excitement the ferries do. Perhaps this is from many childhood holidays to France on the ferry, when you got all excited because you could see the coast of France on the Horizon.

Now the train through the Alps from Andermat in Switzerland, THAT was fun! (yet still no club car).

Abby the College Student said...

Hey, it could have been worse, you could have been on a Greyhound. You get a higher class of people on a train, the Bus Tribe have no idea how normal civilized people act. After the Brits ceased their empire building, Christians have given up on two-for-one deal they used to offer of "Bringing the Light of Civilization to Foreign parts" with a side order of preaching the gospel; it might be a good idea to revive the practice when it comes to the next missionary trip to the Bus Tribe.

During long and dull journeys young couples might start snogging at the drop of a hat, as it helps pass the time and hormones are raging after all. However, the Tribe will go from snogging to horizontal in less than a minute; this not only gives the person behind them a great deal more then ever wanted to see, but hurts that poor legs and interrupts that person in what she was doing (correcting the spelling of the graffiti). This sort of behavior is enough to provoke a normal person (who is already annoyed at the rest of the Tribe, the cramp conditions and smell of tobacco for the fact is that to be a part of the Tribe you have smoke the Peace Pipe at every bus stop) to measures she never thought she would use, namely pouring her soda over them.

While the train maybe a part of Limbo that Dante didn't have words to describe, the bus actually has stops in all nine circles.

Also welcome to my home state,

Abby (who went cross country in one of those things)

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