Thursday, August 17, 2017

Canada Is Cool!!

And by that I mean that the people are cool, the scenery is cool, and the towns are cool. In other words, I certainly do like what I am experiencing!

Today we started the day by changing to Central Standard Time. That’s great, except that everyone showed up for breakfast at the same time. Since you aren’t assigned a breakfast time on the train, if the dining room gets full, they have to start a wait list and you sit and wait in the “snack room”. I arrived just as they started a new wait list. I sat down and waited, and soon Gladys (not her real name – I forgot what it is) came in and sat down. When she heard about the wait list, she was NOT happy. And when she couldn’t find a pen to write her name down, she got even more NOT happy. And when the train dude who creates the wait list came in, and she wanted him to write her name down, and he said sure, just a minute, she got TOTALLY NOT happy and said never mind and walked out. Poor Gladys!

Anyhow, after she left another lady came in and sat down to eat a muffin from the nearby tray (hence, the snack room). We chatted a bit. She’s from Canada (I don’t remember where – all these Canada places run together in my head). Anyhow, she said there was so much food on the train, she just wanted a muffin. We kept talking until the train dude came and told me my name was up – time for breaky!!

This morning I ended up sitting with three more Canadians – a couple who are on the rain with their two older teenagers, and another woman who is changing her life (something about moving apartments, cities, jobs). We had a lively discussion about many things and then departed for our morning plans.

Today the train stops in Winnipeg for a few hours. The train person said that there would be a bus tour (for $$) if we wanted to take that, but when the train got there, we would need to scurry down the steps to sign up. So I decided that’s what I would do in order to see as much of Winnipeg as possible.

Our train got in a little late (when we’re on the railway, if a freight train is coming through, we have to get on a side rail and let it pass – they have priority) so by the time I scurried down the stairs, the tour lady was in a rush to get us all on the list. I didn’t have any Canadian money, but they took my American money because they were in a rush. There was only one bus, so several people probably didn’t get the tour – guess they will know to scurry next time!

I got on the bus, and the Canadian lady from the snack room got on and sat with me. Then the tour lady got on and started talking a mile a minute. She said that she was going to have to give us a speeded up tour because we got in late and we had to be back in 90 minutes. And so off we went.

We drove around the train station area and she told us a lot about that area – I would tell you but that would take a lot of remembering. I wish that I had had more time to walk around that part because there are all kinds of shops and things, but I had to make a choice and chose Speedy Tour instead.

Once we left that area, she took us around town and showed us a bunch of residential houses, some of which celebrities like Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez rented when they were filming movies here. Apparently a lot of movies and tv shows are filmed here. Once we left this area, she took us to the Legislative House, where we got off the bus and went inside, and she told us a bunch of stuff about how this was designed like a temple – there’s a whole book about it. It was also really interesting, and I looked up the book, but strangely, Nashville Public Library doesn’t stock it. Puzzling…

Anyhow, we scurried back on the bus and headed for a quick look-see at downtown and scurried past the hockey stadium. Then we went across a fancy bridge and ended up at the burial spot of some dude (forgot his name) who was somebody important (forgot that too – she was giving out a lot of info in a short amount of time and my brain can only hold such much – like, where is the bus?). Anyhow, where dude is buried there is also the remains of a burned out church (forgot the story about why the church is burned out). The exterior walls are still standing, but when the people (whoever was in charge) found out that the insurance was not enough to cover the cost of rebuilding the church as it was, they opted to build a smaller church inside the walls of the burned out church. It’s sort of cool. The new church is cool, also. Instead of total stained glass windows, they have partial stained glass windows that depict the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. It was really very nice. We stayed there for a quick minute, got back on the bus, and headed back to the train and boarded. And then waited two more hours for several freight trains to pass before we could leave.

Once we finally did leave Winnipeg, the train driver (whatever they are called) put the pedal to the metal as we sped past the countryside. This part of Canada is known as the “prairies.” The land is flat and full of vegetation. As we were coming into Winnipeg, we passed a corn field that was larger and longer than any I had ever seen (this coming from a former farm girl whose family had a garden with a couple rows of corn). Apparently these are huge farms here that grow fast amounts of corn and soybeans, and probably other things I don’t know what they are.

Anyhow, today, as I mentioned yesterday, I have the last dining rotation. Which means lunch was to be a 2:30pm. I went to the snack room for some sustenance to get me through. Eventually our dining rotation was called, and I headed to lunch. Today I sat with Monica from yesterday (I remember her name because of Friends) and some older dude (in his late 60s) who was wearing a sports coat (side note – there are people on this train who dress very nicely and there are people who don’t – let’s wonder which group I fall into). Gladys was actually sitting across from me at another table, but we didn’t speak – maybe we were both hoping that the other one didn’t see the other. Anyhow, Monica is very quiet and Coat Dude was a little quiet until I kept trying to initiate conversation. I think he finally gave up and started speaking some. He was the one who gave me some information about the prairies. We did see some fields of vegetation that he couldn’t identify. He asked one of the dining servers, who also didn’t know.

Today’s lunch was a bison burger, which was delicious, and some kind of berry ice cream for dessert, which was heavenly. After we were done, we all departed and went our separate ways. I went back to my roomette, pulled down the bed and took a glorious nap. I also texted and talked with various family and friends and read a bit. Unfortunately, I got bored with my present book, so I skimmed the rest of it and called it quits on that one. I just have to answer the dilemma of – was that considered a “read” book or not? I then went to the next book, which may or may not meet the same fate.

For the rest of the day, I looked outside and marveled at how beautiful Canada is. We stopped at one point and were able to get out and walk around and get some fresh air. The sun was setting and it was simply lovely. Soon it was time to get ready for bed, and since I'm really getting pretty good at pulling down and putting up the bed, I think I'm ready for tonight!!

And here are today's photos ...

My bed - and sometimes viewing spot.

Train Station in Winnipeg

Going up the steps in the Legislative House - very fancy!

The burned out church - when you go through this part,
the new church is built right behind it.

Good bye Winnipeg!

This farm girl can't resist a photo of a tractor harvesting hay!!

The prairies - I don't know what's growing here ...

And this dairy farm girl can't resist a photo of cows!!

Or of a farm and hale bales!

And so we ride off into the sunset!!
Blessings today include: meeting new friend Peggy and going on the tour with her: tour and tour guide; lunch with Monica and suit dude; evening train stop

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