Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Today I caught the train from Vancouver, Washington to Tacoma. This was the first leg of my journey to London. From Tacoma, I took a bus to the Seattle airport, where I am now waiting for Icelandair Flight 680 to Reykjavik, Iceland.
It's been a long time since I took a train anywhere--over eleven years, in fact. Back in 2000, I took my family from Lawrence, Kansas to Victoria, British Columbia for a two-week vacation. Part of that trip was the gorgeous north-bound train ride from Seattle to Vancouver, BC.
Americans don't take the train much. Before I spent my senior year of high school in Finland, I don't think I'd been on a train at all, if you don't count the monorail at Disneyland and the railray at the Oregon Zoo. In Finland, riding the train was commonplace, cheap and easy. I rode all over the country--to visit friends, attend music festivals, camp. Since one of Rotary International's many rules for exchange students was "no driving," we all used the public transportation extensively. (The other Rotary rules--termed the Four D's--were no drinking, no dating, no drugs.)
I think the 1980s were sort of the dark ages for trains in the United States. Amtrak now is efficient and clean. There is free wi-fi on the train. I'd much rather take the train than the bus. (Though the bus driver today did chat me up and give me a butterscotch candy.)
The London multimedia students have been requested to bring a personal mascot to star in photos and videos. I don't think Chick is particularly impressed by the train, particularly considering that he probably came to the United States on a container ship from China.