Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Halifax to Montreal: 1 300 Km, 23 Hours

Today was the big day of the start of my train trip to Vancouver. It also seemed to be the start of a journey for every one else in my room. The German above me was heading out to Hamilton (why?), and my Danish friend, Mr. Hollensen, was getting ready for a pot luck barbecue. He had originally invited his son to a "pot roast barbecue" before he figured out there was a difference. He said to me, "Something is wrong here. Why would you put a pot roast on a barbecue?"

Mr. Hollensen also had to go do some community cleaning and free lawn work, because the local government employees "had their priorities mixed up," and had let things look untidy. This bothered him because, "as a Scandinavian" he was "used to civil servants keeping things in impeccable order."

In my Scotland trip blog I mentioned that I had met four people in my hostel who had gone to the UofA. This morning though, I met a former UofA student who was actually in one of my classes in my final year. At this rate, I fully suspect that by the time I end up in Vancouver I will actually run into someone I know personally.

Remembering how expensive snacks/food on the train are, I decided to make a quick dash to the Superstore beside the train station to pick up some budget saving confectioneries before the trip. However, I ran right into the Blue Nose Marathon, and what Korean drivers would call "runners pollution". I made a mental note to leave for my train a little earlier, in case I have to wait a few minutes to cross the road to the train station later.

(This lady is in her sixties and running a marathon in 27 degree centigrade weather. Don't you feel pathetic now?)

In the supermarket, I noticed that Jona Gold apples were selling for $4.79 for a 4 lb. bag. Since the apples I bought at the Farmer's Market yesterday, and quoted as 6 for $3 actually weighed three pounds exactly, a quick bit of mental maths will show that I actually paid less for my locally produced apples at the Farmer's Market, straight from the hand of the farmer himself, than I would have paid at this large supermarket. Oh yes, I like this city a lot.

At about 10:10, I left the hostel to catch my 10:30 AM train to Montreal (The Ocean #15). About ten steps from the door though, I was stricken with a great panic that perhaps my train had left at 9:30 AM. I had not actually checked the time of its departure since arriving on Thursday, so it was a definite possibility. I was wrong, it was neither 9:30 or 10:30, but in fact 12:15 PM.

Back inside the hostel I went to torture myself watching Republican politicians make an absolute mockery of themselves and the American democratic process, on Meet The Press with David Greggory. I had to stop watching after ten minutes though, because I got so upset that I actually started yelling at the television and cursing the lying scum bags. It's bad enough when people yell at the TV during sporting events or movies, so I figured I didn't need to be part of the problem by yelling at the TV during a civilized interview.

On the train, I chose my usual single row, window seat. However, just a few seats in front of me were three young families with young kids, all travelling together. Over the course of the trip, these kids would annoy just about every one in the train (but of course!). Finally, at Moncton, the selfish brats and their kids got off the train. I gave a silent cheer, but I also felt sorry for the other passengers who also alighted at Moncton, and were robbed of the opportunity to actually enjoy their trip.

Because of my stash of snacks and goodies, I decided that my budget could handle one trip to the dining car each day I rode the train, as a treat. Knowing full well that whatever I ordered would be smaller than its description in the menu, I asked the waiter what she felt the most filling meal would be. She suggested the haddock, and this is what I received...

To be fair, the fish fillet in the middle was quite dense, and this meal filled me up exactly perfectly, although the $12 price tag seemed a bit steep. However, it led me to wonder why I was not able to order this "half-sized" meal at other restaurants, in addition to the BMI boosters they usually serve? I understand the economics of size when it pertains to these sort of things, but if Jeffrey's cafe in Grande Prairie can offer "half-size" sandwiches, why don't other restaurants?

Misc. Pics:

(The view from the train of the other side of the train yard in Halifax.)

(My station: All set up for a 23 hour trip.)

(A red river in New Brunswick.)

(Cranes in a ship yard somewhere in western Nova Scotia.)

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