“A train is a poem that will take you anywhere you want to go.” 

Today is brilliant. It is the best of late spring. The sun is squint your eyes bright. The sky is the perfect blue, an iris blue. The wind is slight. The air is redolent of the flowers booming in the front gardens. Birds are still greeting the morning and flitting from bush to bush. The dogs are staying outside in the sun, lying on the deck for maximum exposure.

An injury update: my finger is swollen mostly from the knuckle down. I can bend it only a little, but that’s an improvement. It doesn’t hurt unless I use it without thinking. My leg, though, is worse. It is not a pretty sight. The inside of my foot and all my toes are black and blue. The shin hurts when I move and when I don’t move. Nala has no injuries.

When I ponder my past, I remember amazing places. The first one, way way back, is when we went to Niagara Falls. It was the first time we stayed in a motel, and we ate out every meal. After we parked and settled in, we walked to the falls. The roar of the water was all around us. Rainbows were reflected off the bottom of the falls, off the mist. We watched for a while then moved on. Our next stop was a locker room where we donned ugly yellow slickers and walked under the falls. We were surrounded by water so loud we couldn’t be heard. My favorite story of the trip involved my father. We went into Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. He went up to the cashier’s window and asked for 4 adults and 2 children. He got no response so he asked again. A couple of old ladies were sitting on a bench near the cashier’s window, and they were laughing. My father asked one more time, louder and brusquely. That was when he noticed the old ladies laughing. He looked at the cashier and found out she was wax.

Other amazing places included being at the equator and standing on a dirt spot with a line, straddling that line and standing in two hemispheres at the same time. Macchu Pichu was magnificent. Christ of Corcovado Mountain was massive. His arms stretch almost a hundred feet. From that mountain all of Rio stretches out below including Sugar Loaf and the two beaches, Copacabana and Ipanema. I felt small standing there.

I loved the train ride across the canal. The railroad bridge was lowered over the water. I tried to look at both sides of the bridge at the same time. I was struck by the water, the shoreline and that bridge.

The trains in South America are highlights in my memory drawer of amazing rides. Taking the train to Guayaquil took my breath away. The highlight was the switchback. In Peru, the Cusco to Puno ride was spectacular. It was an every day rail service back then, no luxury train. The ride took about 10 hours. We stopped for a couple of nights in Puno then took a hovercraft across Lake Titicaca to the altiplano of Bolivia.

I took the train in Ghana every chance I got. We whizzed passed small villages, people walking along the sides of the tracks and goats, always goats, just lying by the tracks. At every stop, women offered food for sale at the windows. I always bought fresh bread and bush meat.

I have only the dump on my dance card for today so I’m thinking a deck day with a cold drink, a good book and my two dogs.

Explore posts in the same categories: Musings

8 Comments on ““A train is a poem that will take you anywhere you want to go.” ”

  1. Christer. Says:

    We’ve had much the same weather here today but I guess that it has been cooler here than over at Yours. I’ve now put the first potatoes in the ground but I still have plenty of lawn to remove, I’ll do it little by little the coming days.

    I went away for an hour or so today and when I came back home I noticed that Alma had killed one of my knew mittens 🙂 🙂 🙂 I was expecting much worse so 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Christer,
      Today stayed beautiful all day. I went out to do a couple of errands including the dump. The amount of traffic surprised me, but it is a holiday weekend. the summer swarm is starting.

      Nala is a mighty destroyer. Henry touches nothing. I had to clean my yard again today. I’m glad I have the prisoner’s stick as it makes picking up stuff easy.

      Have a wonderful day!!

  2. Birgit Says:

    A big rail traffic experiment will start here soon, we can get very cheap monthly nationwide tickets for the next 3 months but we can only take slow regional trains. It will be chaos and it will be fun. Expect me to spend even more time in crowded trains this summer 🙂
    (And, no, this ticket doesn’t really make sense, it’s just one of the strange outcomes of our dysfunctional 3-party coalition but it’s currently the best we can get and we will definitely use it.)

    Music festival, day 2: Arabic songs, global soul-pop, Brazilian Folk-Punk (fun!), German-Korean comedy, South-American-polka??? and more, some rain. I ate Turkish and African food today, something with beans, no name, no country. Unfortunately Kelewele was sold out today. Yesterday I wasn’t patient enough to wait in a long line to get it, bad luck. Well, next time…

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      I would have loved to have lived in the age of trains here. I would have crossed the country and slept in a Pullman. I have slept on trains I’m Europe and in Ghana. I love falling asleep to the click clack of the rails. With the price of gas so high, you’d think the train
      would be the salvation of travel.

      I’d take crowded trains over driving, but if I was going for a few days, the dogs couldn’t come. We are looking to a trip to New Hampshire in the fall. Well, Nala and I am!!

      Dysfunction happens just as much in a two party system!!

      I really envy you this music festival. I am amazed at the odd assortment of sounds. What fun!!

      Ghana had a lot of dishes with beans. I did try them but my distaste for beans won over. I’m sorry you missed the kelewele!

      • Birgit Says:

        Unfortunately the age of trains is over in Germany too though we urgently need it in times of climate crisis. No German night trains anymore just a few Austrian ones. Also many other problems, including bad infrastructure, high prizes and insufficient funding.

        Our parliament currently consists of 6 parties, 3 parties form the government now, 3 outs. Our government is a coalition of neo-liberal hawks (the smallest party but it dominates this government with inhuman pandemic and fossil politics, US kind of conservatives), Russia-loving Social-Democrats (see Ukraine non-action, not social either anymore, biggest government party) and Greens (too conservative and overcautious but acceptable, no chance to win elections because this over-aged society sticks to old parties). Opposition: The Left has disassembled itself, nazis are a menace as always and Merkel’s conservative party tries to find a direction without Merkel, it’s shifting to the right but has a chance to win next time because our current main governing party is performing so badly.
        Well, problems, but I especially worry about your country where one of your 2 parties with openly fascist white christian nationalists wants to destroy democracy and society. Good luck, let’s hope for us all that this ongoing coup doesn’t succeed.
        [Sorry, political rant, I try to behave again next time.]

      • katry Says:

        One of the things I used to love about Europe was the availability of trains. I took one from Copenhagen to Hook of Holland. The train even went on a boat. I slept from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. I liked the sleepers. I woke up where I wanted to be.

        I thought having the republican party was the worse. I couldn’t imagine so many parties appealing to such a variety of political leanings. When an independent is running here, the whole election gets skewed. Usually that candidate pulls from the democrats.

        I am also frightened by what is happening here. Trump has given permission for all these whackos to come into the open. He has encouraged them. Slowly, they are dissolving all that has given us freedom of choice one right at a time. I hate what is happening.

  3. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    I hope you heal up quickly. Unfortunately, I’m familiar with the meaning of the word klutz. Today was a repeat of yesterday’s weather with a high of 93°.

    Last week the stem on my phony, baloney, Chinese, knockoff Rolex watch broke. I’m surprised it lasted over four years. Today I replaced it with an Apple Watch 7. One of the best features of the new watch is that it will automatically call 911 should the wearer fall down. Living alone and getting old makes this feature valuable. Fortunately, if it happens at home my wife can help me. Also, the variety of watch faces makes it a fun toy extension of my iPhone.

    In the middle 1950s, my family decided to take the train from Dallas to New York to visit our relatives. We rode on the Missouri Kansas Texas Railroad to St. Louis and then the Pullman car we rode in was hooked up to the Pennsylvania Railroad. This was the end of the era of passenger train travel in this country. I remember the African American porters who worked on the trains, I recall eating in the dining car, and the hustle and bustle of the train stations. I also remember the older coach cars near the locomotive delegated to the black passengers until we reached St. Louis. It was an adventure as a kid. Today, I have no desire to take a train trip of that length.

    The early heatwave in May has prevented me from enjoying cool evenings reading while sitting on my patio. Thanks global warming. 🙁

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      This time I wasn’t responsible for my own injuries. Nala and Henry had paws in the accident and the bite.

      That is such a good idea, a watch which will automatically call 911 if I fall down, but I should knock on wood here was it has been a while since I have fallen.

      I wish I had taken a train ride of that length overnight when I was a kid. The only train I took in those days was the subway to Boston.

      I have slept on train in Finland going from one end of the country to the other. I have also slept on a train in Ghana which derailed. That woke me up fast. I’d love to take the Orient Express, but it is quite expensive. Maybe I should start playing the lottery

      The weather imperfect here right now.


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