Via Rail.. On Board Observations

Well fellow bloggers here I am riding the rails. I have been in our nations capitol all week. That’s right I have been in Ottawa.  My work here ended today and now I am sitting  on the 5:10 pm Via Rail train #59 heading from Ottawa to my home in Stratford.  The train was a bit late leaving Ottawa. We will arrive in Stratford at 12:33 am, Friday morning.  I am sure my wife will be wide awake when I arrive. I know she will be there waiting, no doubt she has missed me immensely all week. I know I have missed her.  She will probably be in her pajamas, winter coat and of course that bright wonderful smile I can never get out of my mind.

I am sitting in business class. I love it! It’s a nice relaxing ride, they serve you a meal and well the booze seems never-ending and of course it’s all free. Well kinda free, I mean the ticket was a bit more than the folks at the back of the train probably paid.  Remember that Seinfeld episode where Jerry ends up in first class and Elaine is in coach on a flight. I am imagining this is what it is like.

I am sitting in seat 4 A. It is a comfortable seat, green with little white specks. it reclines nicely and has lots of leg room. I love a window seat whether I am on a plane or a train. If your riding the rails in Canada, seat 4 A is kind of between two widows so you have a spacer between the window in front of you and behind you. That’s right  I have a about a two foot post beside me so I have to look in front or behind me to see out the window. If it was the daylight, I might be troubled by this, but  its dark outside so who really cares.

They serve a great meal in business class, did I mention they supply free drinks as well. As I write this my belly is full an my cheeks feel slightly numb.  I have had 5 glasses of wine and a liquor after the dinner. Is my wife in for a treat tonight!

The train is pretty full. Currently, I have no one beside me. I had a travel mate when we left Ottawa. He was a gentleman in his mid forties I would suggest. I tried to spark some conversation but he just wasnt biting. Eventually, he got off at our last stop. Now I sit alone. Oh the serenity!

In front of me is a gentleman with an english accent. He sits alone but I picked up on the accent because his seat for some reason was wet and he was speaking with the steward to see if it was ok for him to sit in the other seat (beside him). It appears that no one will be joining him so that worked out. Two rows ahead of me are two women. I would say that they are certainly enjoying the free-flowing drinks. What I gather, as I sit in total observation is that they took some time off from whatever it is they do to travel to Ottawa to do some Christmas shopping. They clearly succeeded in their task as they seem to have a number of shopping bags with them. Have you ever wished you had a Whisper 2000? I could give you so much more detail if I did.

Behind me are two lawyers. They also seem to be a couple of self-proclaimed movie buffs.  They are discussing in detail different movies each have seen and then comparing those movies to real cases they have counselled in their careers. Interesting to say the least. One of them spoke of a case he had where one of his clients was in a bar, bought some drinks for a couple of guys, then left and came back with a pistol and  shot one of the guys in the head. Apparently he had slept with his wife. Wow… didn’t see that one coming!

One of the lawyers behind me was initially upset when the train first left Ottawa. Apparently, he left one of his cases on the platform and when he went to get it the Stewards would not let him off the train as the train was about to leave the station. It appears that his brief case will be riding the next train and he will have to wait in Toronto for it to arrive a couple of hours after this one arrives.

We have stops in Brockville, Kingston, Oshawa, Toronto, Brampton, Guelph, Kitchener and then Stratford. Now you can see why it takes so long.

Across the aisle from me there is a section of 4 seats, two in front of each other and of course facing each other, depending on what side you’re sitting you would be travelling either backward or forward.  There are 3 people in the seats. They are a family. I find them to be the most interesting I have met thus far. There is of course, the mother and father and a son whom I would estimate to be around 18 maybe 19 years of age. Mom is sitting beside the son and dad directly across.

These folks have come full circle in their conversation. I first tuned into them as the father was talking about his work situation. It would seem he works for the Canadian Safety or Standard Association or CSA. These folks approve and set standards for all kinds of equipment and materials in Canada. If you live in Canada you undoubtedly have heard the phrase “CSA approved”.  Anyway, like many other Canadians, from what I could pick up on the conversation he appears to be working under a contract. He mentioned his current contract expires in April and he hasn’t heard what will happen after that. He seems confident that all will work out and he will be extended but mentioned he may have to look at other options. As I am writing this he is looking through paper work from his job… seems dedicated enough to me, I say forget the contract and hire him on permanent!

Dinner arrived not to long ago. I had Tilapia with with rice and of course lots of wine. They also served a nice cheesecake for desert but I only had a taste… you know the waistline! The meal also came with a nice salmon appetizer. Quite good actually, better than food you receive on an aircraft.

Now back to my neighbors across the aisle. I enjoyed watching them chat as they ate their meal together. The conversation was non-stop. It was like they were sitting around their own kitchen table enjoying a meal as a family. It was nice to see. There was conversation about the son and what he is up to and his options for the future. They talked of their plans for Christmas and how they wanted to spend it away from home this year. The father talked about how he was planning on taking time off from Christmas Eve until New Years and they would head north do some skiing and spend time at a cottage ( I am not sure whether it was their cottage or someone elses, Geez I need a Whisper 2000!) All in all it seemed like a plan. The mom seemed very excited about it, she kept saying it would be a great memory for us. Christmas really is about family.

Things are starting to quiet down on the train now. People are drifting off to sleep. We have been on the train for just over 3 hours… I suppose the wine and free drinks have taken their toll. Across the aisle from me, Mom seems to be reading a book, Dad is busy working and the son is watching a movie on his computer….  Seems to me that this train ride is more eventful than I though it would be….

Well that is all the “This and That” I have for you today. I wonder what tomorrow will bring….


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