Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sacramento, the Delta King, and traveling by train

The Huz and I spent a few hours walking around Sacramento this afternoon, working off our yummy Greek lunch purchased at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant (the best kind, in our opinion!) from a woman whose Greek accent was so thick you could spread tzatziki on it. Yesterday we'd prowled Old Sacramento pretty thoroughly, taking a ride on a formerly steam engine train completely surrounded by 3rd - 5th graders, and then just walking up & down this very touristy but fun section of the city. I found a cool little place called Shiny Objects, with the owner behind the counter and scads of fascinating glittery dichroic glass pendants. Picked up a couple, one for myself and one for friend Robin. I liked them so much that I went back today to buy some more for gifts, but unfortunately by 3:00 he was already closed. Bummer! Oh well, it gives me an excuse to find something unique for them at one of our next stops (Salt Lake City and Denver).

Below are some pics showing the charm of the Delta King, where we're nesting for a couple of days. We're trying to stay at locally-owned venues whenever possible, and we've loved our stay here.

Look how short the doorways are! (The Huz is 6'2")

It's funny, much as we're enjoying this leg of our trip, we're finding people are a bit more stand-offish than many we've met earlier in our trip. I find that the memories that bring a smile to my face are the ones that include people we've talked to, like Carol in Whitefish, and this fellow who helped us with camera batteries in St Paul, and a dinner with the Huz's former fiance and her husband (surprised myself by really liking her! And him :o). And for the past couple of days there hasn't been a ton of that.

Partly it may be that we're not eating in the dining car lately, only because our trips don't coincide with meal times. Dining cars are great social experiments. Each table seats four, and because they can't afford not to have all the seats populated all the time, we've always been seated at dinner with others. It's made it very easy for us to spend leisurely time with some pretty intersting people. For example, our first dinner companions, on the trip from NY to Chicago, were a couple who'd just come over from Egypt. She was an American who's been teaching at the American University in Cairo, and he was an Egyptian lawyer. We never did entirely get the story as to why they're traveling together; they're not married and had separate sleeper compartments. They were in the US so she could undertake a grant-funded project for the city of Detroit, something to do with comparing the "spaces" that middle Eastern immigrants choose as compared to their residences back home.

Our second companion was a published author! He has published a novel and is working on another one. He lives in Syracuse and writes until his money runs out, then he does contract work for Microsoft writing content for their website.

Next we dined with a newly engaged couple, Jeff and Stephanie. Both are well ensconced in the hospitality industry. She's a concierge, he advises restaurants and wealthy individual collectors on wines. Needless to say, we got some good tips from them on restaurants!

Next was a woman who's lived all her life in North Dakota and told us about the recent oil rush going on there; and another woman who is a project manager for the King County (Seattle) prison system.

Honestly, it was all just so fascinating! The Huz is great at drawing people out and we've both enjoyed being diverted from our own sort of dense togetherness on this trip ... we've been married 16 years and together for 20, so it's not that we don't have anything to talk about, but we probably don't have three solid weeks of conversation in us either!


Barbara said...

Great trip stories. Dining on the rail car is intersting. We took the train to Florida one time and had some odd table mates. They didn't want to talk to us, at all. odd.

Dr. Bob said...
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