I'm eating polenta for breakfast and it's slightly less gaggable than the porridge I generally choke down to stop me from getting hungry before one. Yep, my life has devolved to blogging about my breakfast. That's what happens when you have a nine-to-five job, or in my case a nine-thirty-to-six job. I can't complain. Other people work more, other people work harder. But someday I'll only work when I want to. Someday . . . Not today.
Still reading The Old Patagonian Express and starting to get sick of it. The bastard has got all the way to Guatemala and doesn't seem to have found a place or person he likes yet, unless you count the highly erotic silhouette of a girl or woman in a backlit doorway he passes on the train, and even that seemed to make him more uncomfortable than happy. But it's still beautifully written and still engaging enough to keep going, at the least to see if he does find a place he doesn't grumble about before getting to the tip of the continent. And it makes me want to read Pudd'nhead Wilson.
One way it's beautifully written is its evocation of a more civilized time on trains. Being back in Europe, I'm back on trains in a way that wasn't really possible in Canada, as without fail driving is more reliable there and adjusting travel plans by a couple of weeks means someone can give you a ride between cities. Here it's cheap and fast, cheap and fast enough to generally compete with low-cost airlines or the coach (though we're coaching it to Berlin - booooo - but the night train is more than twice as expensive, a really absurd price, and there's no other direct option from Belgium) and certainly cheaper and faster than driving over longish distances.
But it's not as I remember it. Every year the trains get faster and more efficient, and they get less and less comfortable. When I was living in Italy just a few years ago, the oldish espresso trains had compartments in all the classes where, if you were alone, you could lock the door, pull down the six passenger seats into one double bed, and make sweet love with your sweetheart. ALL classes. Now making love sitting plum upright on these horrible open trains with nothing shielding you but the seatbacks, even if you spring for first class, is liable to net you an obscenity charge.
One day speed and efficiency will get a little less fashionable and people will realize we're refined creatures and that we have aesthetic needs, and that a 12 hour train journey without at least a little head is contrary to our higher nature. In the meantime, I'll still take trains because at least they're not aeroplanes, which scare the lust straight out of me.