After I flew back to Minneapolis from London, we spent a day retrieving Brian and Dianna's cars. (We had stashed them at friend's houses so they wouldn't be on the street in case Minneapolis declared a snow emergency.)
My final "leg" of this trip was getting back to Grand Forks from Minneapolis, another 300 or so miles. I had decided to do something which I haven't done in 35 years. . . take the train. Brian's roommate scared me about this, telling me I should try to scope out a "normie" to sit next to, and then smiling a slightly knowing (but truly menacing, like something out of Stephen King) smile and saying I should be "fine." (sure, sure, "fine," but perhaps no longer able to make eye-contact with anyone other than my senile dog, and having to take copious amounts of medication with insane co-pays that, in order to afford, I'd have to sell my camera equipment on e-bay for a mere pittance. . . . that kind of "fine." But I digress . . .)
And Amtrak really was fine! Fine, as in wonderful! You get to the station, drop off your luggage (without paying extra for it, and can check two bags), and then simply walk to the train and get on it. No taking off your shoes; no answering penetrating questions about who packed my bags and if they have been under my control at all times (what exactly does that mean? will they know that my husband really was the one that put them in the car for me at the start of the trip? do I really want to implicate him with Homeland Security?) And you get to pick which seat you want to sit in!
The train was not full, so most people pretty much had two seats to themselves, and I wandered toward the back, and picked a seat. And just like how I manage to pick the slowest, most jinxed, line in the grocery store, within about 5 minutes, the seats behind, in front of me, and across from me came alive with cell-phone chatterboxes, and crying children. And this was going to be an 11pm to 5am trip!
But then the magic happened! As the train pulled from the station, people ended their phone calls, the kids fell asleep, I discovered that trains have leg-room that would accommodate the Jolly Green Giant, and the conductor came by and passed out pillows. (not the smother-you-in-your -sleep-kind; the kind that you can wedge between your head and the window ) I turned on my i-pod, and strangely, it seemed to play only one song.
I looked again, and it had really played the whole album! I'd fallen asleep! I started it again, and was again asleep within minutes, and before I knew it, I was back in Grand Forks!
Taking the train was far, far better than flying on a plane, and certainly better than driving myself through winter weather. About 10 minutes before my stop, the conductor came by and told me we were almost there. And the conductors take your luggage off the train and it's waiting for you in the station.
Take the train, if you get a chance!
This week's theme is SOOC and processed versions. Here are two sets:
Compare this to the vendor in yesterday's photo! Un-edited Harrods
Un-edited photo of escalator in Harrods (before I saw the sign that said "no photography."
And the edited version: