On a warm summer's evening on a train going nowhere I met up with this gambler. We were both too tired to sleep. We took turns staring out the window at the darkness, until boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.
OK, so my train ride did have the warm summer's evening, and often I was too tired to sleep, but no gambler came my way to impart words of wisdom before taking his final breath. Instead, I was seated next to the Staring Sisters. It felt like these two girls were taking turns keeping their gaze upon me. And when they were not staring, one of the girls would proceed to recline and upright the chair in front of me, the one that was attached to the tray table holding my laptop.
All in all, it was a good trip from Seattle. I met a couple decent people on the train. I had the smarts to stop at Pikes Place Market in Seattle to pick up some fresh fruit and snacks for the journey. This allowed me to avoid being taken for the high priced fare aboard. I was even able to scam some wireless internet signals at a couple stops.
It was all going well, until the night before Minneapolis, when we were informed that the train would not be going all the way to Chicago. Due to recent flooding in Wisconsin, the tracks were currently being worked on. The train would have to take a detour, but many passengers would have to take a bus from Minneapolis to Chicago. I was one of those chosen ones. But we were in luck, as Amtrak was generous and gave us a very posh bus to ride in. If that were only true, what they gave us was a cramped bus, a cake doughnut, and an eight ounce bottle of water. That, my friends, is service that will keep me coming back. A freakin' cake doughnut!
Well, we finally made it to Chicago, and were told to go to the baggage claim to get our bags. For some reason, I decided to check with a staff member about my checked bag, which in a real world would be transferred to my train to Bloomington. He informed me that only the earlier train to Bloomington had checked luggage service, and that my bag would arrive the next day. He did offer me a chance to get my bag, and so I found myself under the belly of Chicago's Union Station. It was an interesting place where few venture. Down there I met the men who get no thanks for getting the bags from train to baggage carousel. I found my bags, and proceeded back to the surface, only to discover I had about fifteen minutes to spare before my next train departed. No time for that slice of Chicago style pizza that I had hoped for.
Three hours later, I was at my parents' place trying to remember where they hid the spare key. It was found, a much needed shower soon followed, and now I am hit with the fact that the trip from Korea is finally over. It is a sadder thought than I expected, but at least it means that the next adventure is ready to be planned. Where to next?