And we are off! Some minor mishaps with my various pieces of technology resulted in a stop at the Apple Store then a place to purchase a new SD card. iPhone, always have a case, that is what saved me from being phoneless. iPhone 4s are not repaired at Apple – already outdated. My Canon camera is so old it is difficult to find the large SD cards, fortunately London Drugs still had some.
There is something about sitting onboard the train, at least in Canada, that soothes away any inner turmoil. An unspoken and spoken camaraderie ensues. We are all taken up in this silver ribbon, gently swaying, unhurried, passing glimpsed landscapes. Sleep comes willingly, albeit a bit cramped and pretzel enduring when in coach, but it still arrives. We are wrapped in a cocoon. Safe. Warm.
As we emerge from the hustle and bustle of cities, habitation taken over by snow clad trees, stretching our wings to welcome the rays of the sun, the laughter from our neighbours, or the excited chatter of children I am reminded to breathe once more.
In Valemont I looked up to be struck by the sheer reach of the mountains. Until then we had passed translucent blue, glacial waterfalls frozen in mid roar. Icicles beyond imagination. A river slowly bubbling a path through its ice covered centre, ready to burst its seams, break its bonds and welcome spring.
Each passenger has a story. I catch snatches of some, offer snippets of mine. We open up, sharing memories, dreams, this day’s photos. We are a mixture of old, young, student, learned, parent, grandparents, single, coupled, travelling solo, with friends or family. Languages and culture become as one while remaining distinct. Canada, New Zealand, China, Germany, Singapore and more share threads. Paleoetology, nannies, teaching, studying and of course travel, were just some of the topics covered. Plus going home, leaving home, visiting – a goal to be met, just not yet.
I met a family also on the way to Jasper, also just to visit. Grandma, Grandpa, parents, 4 year old boy and his month old baby brother. The little boy was thrilled when I asked him in Mandarin if I could take his photo. He then became my new friend when I brought out my pandas then insisted on introducing me to his panda. He kindly offered me an orange. Thank goodness it was a tangerine – I really, really do not like oranges. He easily spoke back and forth in English, for me, and Mandarin for his grandparents. I am quite sure they also spoke English.
It was quite hilarious when I said, in a stage whisper, “Is that a moose?” Only to have others in the dome car ask where!
Lunch in the Dining Car. Although not in my self imposed budget I thought why not? Seems many of the coach class agreed. After all, many of us are in coach to have money for the extras.
Tomato bisque, shrimp & scallop skewers in balsamic, on lettuce, Saskatoon Berry chutney (too sweet), Caesar salad, Butter tart square (also too sweet – perhaps do not check blood sugar in the morning), Coffee. Other than the sweetness everything was tasty.
Trying to give an idea of scale from the train using my iPhone.
I am pretty sure this was in Valemont. Population: 1020. Lonely stop.