Friday, May 12, 2006

Train 2: the last breakfast

Before going to sleep I changed my watch forward one hour. We’re now on eastern time, and I am back in my native time zone. However, there are still many more kilometres to cover. I walk back to the restaurant car, having decided that for my last day on-board the Canadian, I should treat myself to the proper sit down breakfast just one more time. Outside, raindrops are falling horizontally against the windows of our carriage. I recall that the last time I was in Toronto it rained as well. I hope my second visit isn’t marred as well.

It’s a short walk back to the ‘Fairholme’ restaurant car, through our Skyline car and three sleepers. It appears that the first two are the ones that are running light with our train, because there are no signs of occupation on board. I get to the restaurant a little before 06.30, and find one table already partly occupied by some of the friendly faces from coach class. It seems I am not the only one up front who has decided it’s not worth eating a picnic breakfast today.

Each splashes out, and I go for fruit yoghurt followed by French toast. My dining companions are excited to be drinking real coffee again, not the slightly harsher liquid served from our take out counter. We talk about our journeys: one girl is going to a conference in Montréal, another is returning to Halifax at the end of a thirty day North America Rail Pass trip like me, and the third is an English student, touring Canada with her bicycle. She has yet to decide whether to get off the train in Parry Sound this evening to cycle and camp, or stay on board as far as Toronto and stay with friends: the weather is likely to decide for her. As the coffee flows, the conversation picks up energy. Much amusement is being derived throughout the car from the pair of loud Brits in our car (brothers it seems, both easily identifiable thanks to a identical wardrobes and goatee beards). They seem to be trying hard but failing to make friends with members of the opposite sex while on the train. Might have something to do with their opening line being “Hello. You’re pretty.” I carry a great deal of shame and embarrassment for Great Britain.

Our table is served today by a pair of young employees, who one reveals are on their first proper tour of duties. My order is fluffed to begin with, and I’m delivered pancakes instead of French toast, but since everyone on the table has had waiting experience and is about the same age as our servers, we are more than happy to wait. Strange how the older you get, the angrier people like to get with waiting staff. I’m more than happy to leave a tip for the friendly service.

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