Thursday, October 09, 2008

Trains, Trailers and Automobiles

Mom's train was supposed to arrive at 8:15 this morning. But it didn't.

First there was an engine problem and they crawled into Albuquerque, NM. Then they had to wait in Kingman, AZ to replace the crew who had been working too long. Then they hit rail traffic as they approached Los Angeles. I learned all this from the nice lady in Amtrak customer service.

So Hydra came home early, and we packed up the trailer and he headed for the campground to meet up with our Songmaker friends. I followed a little way in the Echo and then peeled off to head for downtown L.A. and Union Station.

She's supposed to arrive at 4:04!

I love the seats at Union Station. I'm not so wild about the fact that now they say the Southwest Chief isn't going to arrive till 5p.m.

It was a warm day. Every so often a breeze blew up. There's a nice little public space around this gazebo at the end of Olvera Street.

There are a lot of homeless people downtown. I'd forgotten what that's like. You just have to think a bit about how you engage other, a lot less freely.

This woman was the only person dancing to music played by a flutist who accompanied a recording. It was kind of lovely to watch her spin and dip, her purse and a shopping bag near her feet.

Three friends have their photo taken.

Around this time Mom called to let me know the train wouldn't be arriving until 6 p.m.

Hydra's always thinking about another guitar.

Ooh, I could have had his name painted on one of these--in any color!

This particular specimen does, indeed, look superior. I walked to the far end of Chinatown. Went to the fabulous Wonder Food Bakery for a couple of egg custard tarts. Don't be fooled by their location amid trinket shops, they have wonderful baked goods.

I walked under the dragons on the way out of the district.

Just as I started to cross Alameda at 5:40 I heard something about the Southwest Chief arriving! I went inside and no one could tell me what track it had just arrived on.

We found each other after a few trips up and down the long corridor for me. It's just exciting to see people pouring into the station from all those entrances.

By 6:15 we were seated at a table at Phillippe's! It's only a couple of blocks from the train station. What a nice way to avoid the last of the heavy traffic draining out of downtown. We split a beef dip, a turkey dip and some potato salad.

What's even more amazing is that it only took an hour and fifteen minutes to get all the way to Fillmore. I almost missed the exit to the 126 from the 5, the traffic was moving so well. After traveling more than 48 hours on the train, Mom was gracious about being whisked off to a campground.

We ate the egg custard tarts in the car. Tender and delicately flavored, they flaked all over us.

Gotta say, it was much nicer for Mom to be stuck on a train than a plane, and it was much nicer for me to roam downtown rather than pace the baggage area at LAX.

We win!

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