8:26 a.m. – Just having passed the stop for Culpeper, Virginia.
With the sun shining brightly into the passing train window, my sunglasses donned, and having just finished breakfast preceded by a night of intermittent sleep, I am back on the laptop. Annie Lennox singing sweetly through my earphones, deer running through the fields, and hearing the faint mumble of neighbors' first-of-the-day conversations, I'm starting a new day, which will transition into an afternoon with friends in New York City.
My dinner last night consisted of an early snack: a snickers bar and a pepsi. Very nutritious. Needless to say, just after opening my eyes to a glorious sunrise, I was excited to hear the train dude announce breakfast time in the dining car. Dry scrambled eggs, grits, and a croissant accompanied by black coffee, orange juice and a lovely conversation with Pam who works for a member of Congress in Florida, and who is on her way back to D.C. for a couple more days of work there. She even treated me to breakfast, before bringing a promised Motrin to another rider with two broken legs. An incredible samaritan, it's beautiful to meet people like her when you've seen such madness in others. I am truly blessed to know some amazing folks in this world. There is so much beauty in the universe, we need not get caught up in the darkness.
Virginia is an interesting place. Rolling hills and big, boxy houses in quaint towns proudly flowing American flags mixed with not-so-kept-up houses surrounded by what I can only see as crashed-car cemeteries. Beautiful to see the changes in scenery though. I like hills.
I didn't get a chance to see too much of the Carolinas as we passed through there in the middle of the night, only popping my head up once around 1 a.m. to notice we were stopped in Charlotte, NC where my father who I haven't seen or spoken to in 20 years lives, I think. I don't know the answer to that question, ask him.
My lunch consisted of Doritos and a Pepsi. Very nutritious. But I knew I'd be gearing myself up for NYC food, so I wasn't too worried about it. The train pulled into Penn Station almost an hour earlier than expected. Perfect timing. Gita met me at baggage claim, we exchanged hugs, tried not to cry, and set off in a cab for my new temporary home.
Once the bags were dropped off, and we gobbled up some spicy Thai leftovers, we hopped back in a cab for Bed, Bath & Beyond to purchase bedding for the newly painted room. Meanwhile, Michael painted, Gita finished up the edges when we returned, I checked emails, and then we all headed off for the Waterfront Ale House, a great little local spot for hangin' with friends and for enjoying the heck out of an ostrich burger with caramelized onions and a balsamic relish accompanied by waffle fries.
Too pooped to burn the midnight oil, we headed home and tucked ourselves in for a good night's sleep, prepared to continue the rest of the journey at a more decent hour.
To be continued. Bon appétit!