Friday, June 19, 2009

Choo-choo choosy

I vowed when I left Paris to do my best not to compare and complain about the differences between life in France and in the U.S. Each has its highs and lows, pluses and minuses. I try to just go about my day being all Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and make the most of whatever side of the Atlantic I am on.

And then. Sometimes, I am gobsmacked. And I have to express my, er, astonishment.

Next week I have to go to our nation's capital and decided to hop on a train instead of battling the beltway. It's additionally a romantic notion because the train runs by my field, wailing its whistle at the crossing down the road. Makes my heart soar every time I hear it. So why not take the train? Why not, indeed.

The distance between here and Washington DC is about the same as the distance between Tours and Paris, about 2hours 20 minutes by car. I bought my ticket for "The Cardinal," with the scheduled time of 2 hours and 50 minutes station to station.

Okay, I can deal with that. Much as I lament it, I know that the US has no equivalent to the TGV, which can whisk passengers from Tours to Paris in just over one hour.

But when I was picking up my ticket at the station the kind agent warned me (after I had paid), "Be sure to call this 800 number before you head to the station. The train is always late. Could be 15 minutes, could be three hours late, but it's always late."

(Sound of Polly gnashing her teeth.)

10 comments:

Isabelle said...

Next step: you need to investigate why it's always late!
15 minutes I can understand, but 3 hours, that's a bit too much...

Meg said...

Reminds me of this old Disney cartoon...maybe they don't have anyone on the rails anymore as time-conscious as Casey Jones.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbTBk4pDIHA

Harriet said...

My friend experienced a very late train out of Charleston when she was traveling to DC., so the guy gave you good advice.

One of my dear French friends lives in Tours. I met him on the TGV in 2002. Do you travel to Tours frequently? We should compare notes. I find it's a great place to pick up a rental car.

Starman said...

And there you have the basic difference between Europe and the US.

Who is Mary Blake? said...

Polly
Come home.

Chester Alan said...
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Robyn said...

I live in Iowa and they told me the same thing when we went from Ottumwa to Chicago. We checked in the morning and it was 30 minutes late so we stayed home longer. No since waiting in the station.

indavao said...
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tagskie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Polly-Vous Francais said...

I hope that some of the plans for high-speed rail in the US really move forward.

Mary, I'd love to come home.

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