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Posts Tagged ‘wi fi’

PART I

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.

Turquoise-socked footies

Turquoise-socked footies

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.

I'm a toilet, I'm a shelf

I’m a toilet, I’m a shelf

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.

Wash up, brush your teeth and you're ON a train!

Wash up, brush your teeth and you’re ON a train!

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.

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Wi-Fi Signal logo

Wi-Fi Signal logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SUNDAY

Well, I’m off on another adventure to Florida!  Usually the “fun” begins when I’m there and I amuse my readers to no end with accounts of the daily craziness.  NOT SO this time!  Let the games begin! 

Today is Sunday and after racing around to finish up packing, getting a pedicure, trying on 3 different things that did NOT fit and not being able to locate one of the cats (we finally did) we finally left our apartment.   Since we were leaving late (apparently my fault) (NOT), tempers were already running high.  Add the 71 degree weather in the no-longer-air-conditioned apartment AND picture this – I have my rolling suitcase with a heavy tote bag on top of it, carrying my computer over my shoulder and one large canvas bag of Christmas presents; I’m wearing flip-flops because I don’t want to squish my new pedicure and all black because that’s what fit that would be ok to sleep in.  Peter is carrying a suitcase that must weigh 25lb on his shoulder that pulls his sport jacket down and he’s carrying another canvas bag with Christmas presents and a bag that has some last minute snack food I scavenged from the refrigerator and cupboards.  Actually the snacks are leftovers from Wednesday night’s gathering!

Hailing a cab turned out to be fairly easy but of course we got a driver who was indecisive about the fastest way to Penn Station.  First he started west on 86th St and then thought the FDR drive would be better so he U-turned.  The Drive was ok but when he exited at 34th St and headed west on 35th St, we virtually crawled across town.  I was already overheated, cranky and watching the meter climb was making me crazy.  $22 later we arrive at Penn Station a.k.a. Penn’s People Zoo.  It was MOBBED and it was hot.  

We were supposed to leave by 1:30pm but by the time we walked out the door it was almost 2pm.  Our intention was to get to the station an hour early so we could check to see if there were any cancellations for a roomette.  There were none, the train is sold out!  Oh, didn’t I mention that by the time we booked the trip they were no more roomettes left? And why did we book so late?  Look to my right…. therefore we are in for a 26 hour train ride in Coach seats, no beds.  I knew right away it was Christmas since there “was no room at the inn”. 

Getting onto the train was like being part of a herd of cattle.  There’s a cop at the top of the stairs next to the ticket agent and he’s shouting “Keep the families together, keep the families together” which means there are straggling kids with wheeling suitcases trying to push through the 5 lines of passengers trying to reach the top of the escalator!  

I boarded the train and turned right like the conductor said only to come to an immediate HALT.  There was a family of four trying to get out of the car against the tide of us trying to get in the car.  This necessitated a strange dance backwards of several people and their luggage with no place for them to back up.  Finally they got off and I lunged forward hoping to find two vacant seats together, lol lol.  Of course there were no seats.  I was ahead of Peter so I dropped one bag down on one seat and across the aisle and one row forward, I dropped another bag.  Then I tried to negotiate with the woman in the second pair of seats.  “ Excuse me ma’am would you mind switching your window seat here for the one over there so I could sit with my husband”?  She looks at me as if I asked her to move to rest room.  I try again and she leans over to look at the seat I’m pointing at and says, “No, I think I’d d rather be here”.   At this point Peter comes up the aisle and sees that I’m not standing in a pair of seats and I’m already putting the bags of Christmas presents up on the rack.  He loudly says, “What, aren’t there 2 seats together?” And then adds, “Well can’t you ask someone if they will move?”  I tell him I did but no one wants to.  I guess that did it because the lady announced she would move.  I said, “Bless you, thank you, you are so kind and you have no idea how he’s been, I’m never traveling with him on a train again! 

Once underway, the train cooled down a bit and we settled in.  As soon as one of the conductors came by, I inquired about Wi-Fi and was informed there was no Wi-Fi on the train and here I thought I would be writing my blog, playing scrabble online, cruising through ebay and checking in on Facebook, Not Happening! 

Shortly thereafter, a man came through asking is anyone wanted to make reservations for the Dining Car.  We looked at each other and thought a change of scenery would do us good later on so I told Peter to make it for 8:00pm. Well that wasn’t happening either because the only reservation he had was for 5:00pm and it was already 4:30pm!  And I wanted to buy a large sub for us to split on the train since everyone told us how expensive the food was and Peter said not to AND I listened to him, so really who’s the schmuck? 

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