Well, not any odder than all the other choices I’ve made in my life. Which probably isn’t saying much. As I’ve made some odd choices, okay.
Besides, I took trains all around Asia. And I didn’t even die once.
And, well, TRAINS, you guys. I mean, who doesn’t love a train?
But when you tell people in the States that you’ve opted to take a fifteen-hour train trip instead of a one-hour plane ride because, hey, it will save you at least thirty dollars and it’s a TRAIN, they will look at you kind of funny.
Like, even more funny than they usually look at you.
And, let’s just say, that they usually look at you pretty funny.
In the end, I was really happy I opted to take the train rather than fly. And I would totally do it again if I needed to get somewhere, and I had, you know, an entire day or five to kill.
Because thirty dollars is thirty dollars, okay.
AND, well, TRAINS, you guys.
Five Reasons Why Taking the Train in the States Isn’t Crazy. So Stop Looking at Me So Funny.
1. You can bring unlimited liquids! And questionable hand luggage!I don’t really care about the metal detectors and luggage screening at the airport.
I don’t even mind the TSA pat-downs.
And when they tell me to take off my shoes, I do without so much as an annoyed sigh. Even though I’m pretty sure that walking on an airport floor without shoes is exactly how tapeworms are spread.
But I do go a little bit bananas over the whole liquid restriction thing on planes.
You guys, I drink a lot of fluids on a regular basis. Like, A LOT. I’m like the opposite of a camel. Whatever that might be. So those rinky, dink, half-full plastic cups of water that they give you on the plane just don’t cut it for me.Plus, I’m ridiculous when it comes to toiletries.
I’m sure other people can survive with two teaspoons of lotion and conditioner each during a one-week trip, but, let me tell you, I cannot.
Lest you forget, I am a full-sized girl.
I need my full-sized toiletries.
With the train, I got to hop on board with as much liquid as my heart desired, and, trust me, my heart desired a lot of liquids. Including a huge water bottle and bag full of toiletry bottles, each one the size of a three-month-old baby.
I even brought my lunch bag with me, which I’m sure I would never be able to carry on to a plane because it looks like this:
And, yet, nobody pulled me over to conduct a full-body cavity search because of it.
2. You can pick your own seat!
We will strike up a conversation and discover that we both happen to love cheese and cats and that crunchy sound that fall leaves make when you step on them.
He will find me charming despite my ability to finish every single morsel of my airplane meal no matter how disgusting it looks.
And we’ll live happily ever after.
At least until we have to get off the plane.Sadly, this has yet to happen.
You know why?
Because airline companies make really crappy matchmakers. And fate is kind of a big, fat jerk.
But on the train you get to sit pretty much wherever you want. If you see a tall, dashing stranger sitting all by himself, you can just go sit next to him. Just like that! Screw fate! And seat assignments!
I was so planning on doing just that when I spotted a certain attractive stranger on the train home from New York. But I’m a total weenie when it comes to boys. So I freaked out and sat two seats in front of him. Which made conversation kind of impossible. That and the fact that I was sitting next to some woman with a hacking cough.
But next time, you guys, I swear.
I will totally sit next to the cute guy.
Or, at least, one seat in front of him. You know, baby steps, people.
3. You have a lot of time! To do stuff! Or not do stuff! You decide!Haven’t you always wished that you had like fifteen hours to just relax?
Or read that book you’ve always meant to read?
Or watch the scenery pass by?
Or moon over photos of lemurs?
Or think about how that guy two seats behind you would totally fall in love with you if only you could just get the nerve to talk to him? But how are you going to talk to him if there are two seats between you, and this woman keeps on hacking up a lung next to you, and OMIGOD WHY IS ROMANCE SO HARD???
On the train you have that time!In fact, I had even more time than I originally expected because both my train leaving Buffalo and the one returning to Buffalo were delayed by a few hours.
The first train was delayed due to weather.
The second train was delayed due to something the conductor referred to as a “minor derailment.” Which did sound kind of distressing at the time.
But a lot less distressing than “minor crash landing.” So I guess we can rack that up as another perk of train travel.
Plus, how cute would that be if I had talked to the guy, and we had fallen in love, and then later when we got married, and people asked us how we met, we could say, “Oh, we met during a minor derailment.”
TOTALLY CUTE, RIGHT?
Ahem.And, unlike, taking a plane where a two or three-hour delay would mean doubling your travel time, with the train a couple hours delay wasn’t such a big deal.
Because, whatever, I was already going to be on the train for the whole day. What were another two or three hours?
Just more time to moon over lemur pictures!
And more time to plan my wedding.
Ha, ha, totally kidding.
4. There’s wifi. Kind of.You guys there was wifi on the train.
ON THE TRAIN!
How does that even work?
Granted, it wasn’t very consistent wifi. In fact, it hardly ever worked.
The few times that I got it to work, I’d have just enough seconds to update my Facebook status with something like, “OMIGOD, WIFI ON THE TRAIN, YOU GUYS!!!!” before it would conk out and stop working.
But still! WIFI ON THE TRAIN!
I’m telling you that defies physics.
Or whatever it has to defy.
5. Two words: Dining Car
I always imagine a dining car to be full of fancy, old timey people wearing fedoras and drinking brandy and smoking cigarettes in those long cigarette-holder-thingies.
Of course the actual dining car was nothing like that.
It wasn’t even as classy as the dining car on the Chinese fast train where all the seats had doilies on them. You know stuff is classy when there are doilies on the seats.
But there was a super fancy menu with super fancy things like booze.
And something called an “artisan sandwich.”
You know stuff is classy when there are artisans making your sandwich.So how about it? What mode of transportation do you prefer? Have you ever taken a train in the States? How was it?
P.S. Speaking of trains and people looking at you funny, now’s your chance to sign up for 2013 Ultimate Train Challenge! Starting in May, the challenge consists of traveling from Saigon to Lisbon (or the other way around). In just 31 days! On, you guessed it, TRAINS!
Yes, it is just as crazy-pants and awesome as it sounds.
Go to the website for more details and to sign up. And if you use the affiliate code ST13UTC in the “referral” section of the sign-up page, you can get a $30 discount. Because, hey, thirty dollars is thirty dollars, you guys!