What sights I've seen!
Day 3 has been by far the most relaxing and productive.
Thankfully, I got a good nights rest last night. I had my head on the pillow by 8:45pm like a grandma, but man did it feel good to sleep.
I also keep gaining hours as we head west which has been lovely, though I really am dreading the opposite of that when I head back home next week.
This morning I woke up before the sun again. I pulled open my window shade and with my head on my pillow gazed up at the stars. So many stars y'all! I could see constellations and everything. I started having all sorts of existential thoughts. Here are some:
What the hell is out there!?
There has to be life on other planets.
What if Earth is hell and that's why we are all so obsessed with the concept?
I can't believe everything around me is made up of exploding stars.
This is so beautiful, I'm so lucky.
Is it too late to change careers and become an astronaut?
How is this train moving so fast yet nothing is changing in the sky?
What if aliens landed right now what would I do?
Is there anyone else looking up at the stars right now and thinking the same thoughts as me?
Anyway you get the picture.
Breakfast was Biscuits and Gravy. Yum! I gotta say, the food has been pretty acceptable this whole trip, and I'm not just saying that because it was free. I've pretty much tried everything I can eat at this point though :( My diet is pretty limited due to the Crohn's disease that exists in my body. I've been trying to avoid bread, cheese, and dark meat which makes up about half the menu.
At about midday I had the bright idea of going to the observation car to write and see the sights as we sped through the Rocky Mountains.
Turns out everyone else had pretty much the same idea and the observation car was packed. There were large groups of Amish people taking up whole tables. I guess they don't believe in flying? The other dominant group was middle aged white people. They seem to be the main base for Amtrak's sleeper trains.
I sat with Tom and Gretchen which was a great choice as far as middle aged white people go. They were heading to Utah from Nebraska. They were literally the nicest most easygoing people. We talked about our travels, places we had seen, and places we hoped to see in the future. Tom's favorite place he ever traveled was The Grand Canyon, for the record.
My favorite part of this whole exchange was that Tom and Gretchen were obviously still so in love with each other. Gretchen kept giving Tom those love eyes whenever he said something endearing and Tom kept putting his arm around Gretchen as they gazed out the window together while we careened through the Rockies at 9,600 ft, Amtrak's highest point.
I made great progress on a story I am working on about Anakaona who was a Taino Cacica from Quisqueya (a Chief from the Island that now encompasses the Dominican Republic and Haiti). Anakaona and her husband Caonabo where one of the first Taino's to encounter the Conquistadores when they landed on Hispaniola. Things did not go well for her after that...
I am convinced that Anakaona is my ancestor, as soon as I learned about her she has been popping up in my dreams, and I just knew I had to write something paying tribute to her. My hope is to one day turn this piece into a play/one woman show.
Here is a short excerpt:
"It had been early morning.
Anakaona was taking a walk along the shore not too far from where the rest of the village was still sleeping when she saw their large canoes. It was bigger than her bohio home which she shared with her husband and several other family members. She was transfixed.
She had seen the image before in a dream. She had not understood what she was looking at then, and even now she wasn’t quite sure. For a moment she didn’t even know if it was a dream, a vision, or reality.
She pulled on each of her fingers. She pounded the sides of her head. She pulled out a piece of long dark hair from her head. Pain.
It was real. Her dream had come true and there were strange men coming on those giant canoes. She knew right away that they would do nothing but cause her people harm."
Sounds bad right? Don't worry it gets worse...
Alright, back to work! I arrive in San Francisco tomorrow at 4pm!
Thank you everyone who has been reading and commenting :)