Sunday, 19 June 2005

Coast starlight

Seattle was disappointing. I mean yeah free buses in the downtown area is great, The underground tour was funky and the space needle is kinda cool (it would have been really cool if they'd let me climb up on the roof a la Dark Angel) but mainly Seattle sucked because the wicked live music scene I expected failed to materialize. So after 2 days and 2 sucky hostels I moved on to San Francisco.

One of the best decisions I have made so far is to take the overnight coast starlight train from Seattle to San Francisco.

Initially I chose the train because it is a hell of a lot cheaper that flying ($94 vs $199) and 'cos I thought It would be a generally cool thing to experience. It was fantastic and I whole heartedly recommend it to everyone. At first glance 23 hours on a train sound horrific, but the old adage time flies when your having fun really counts here.

The train is a very social place and its impossible not to fall into conversations with people all sorts of people like Christian summer camp councilor desperate to talk about the new Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Movie, an Environmental Scientist turned cleaning lady from Wisconsin traveling down to L.A to help her friend move house and a little old lady on her way to surprise her son for his birthday. You get talking to some really interesting people and hear some great stories.

The only problem with the train is sleeping. I can't normally sleep on public transport any way, even with the super comfy seats that almost fully recline. But I had just about managed to doze of when the guy next to me started snoring.

I just couldn't do it. I had to find some place else to sleep and spent about and hour going from one end of the train to the other trying to find an empty seat. Of course there were none and I ended up downstairs in the kiddy Car (basically an empty section of a carriage for kids to play in) layed out on the floor with about 5 other people.

I actually managed to get a solid hour of good solid sleep and it left me feeling so good I didn't even mind that the train was 3 hours late into the station. But considering that the train the day before had been 12 hours late I could hardly complain and hey I wasn't in a rush.

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