It's been a nice day-and-a-half in New York — but the time has come to head up to Boston, and to see my family there. This afternoon, I hopped on the train with Amtrak, and did the 4-hour journey the scenic way. Unfortunately, the train ended up leaving NY's Penn Station about 40 minutes late, and it was an hour late by the time it reached Boston. Plus, it was absolutely packed — all of this because of it being Columbus Day long weekend, I assume. Bit of a pain for my uncle, who was waiting around when he came to pick me up from the station. Also a slight ripoff — apparently, the Amtrak tickets are much cheaper if you book them a few weeks in advance — I bought my ticket yesterday, and it cost me a whopping US$111! In retrospect, perhaps I should have just gotten the bus with Greyhound. Anyway, it was a good ride, and I got there in the end.
The train was meant to leave Penn Station at 2pm. When I got there, they already had a 20-minute delay listed on the information screen. That 20 minutes ended up stretching out, into 40 or so. And when the train finally arrived in the station, there was a mad rush like you wouldn't believe. Because they don't let you onto the platform until the train's actually there and ready for passengers, the rush to the platform escalator was worse than a rugby scrum — if there were any really small kids trying to get on, I hope they weren't trampled to death.
Once I was on, I realised that the train this afternoon was totally packed out. It seemed to be mainly "college" (i.e. uni) students, going home after a long weekend away, or going back to school after a long weekend at home. There were like, oh my GOD, like sooo many freshman (i.e. first-year uni) girls, and guys too, and like sophomores (i.e. second-year uni students) — and they were like, taah-king non-stop on their cell phones, and listening to their like, iPods — it was totally awesome, like seriously. Yeah, the teen talk did get a bit annoying — but hey, at least this is New England; it would only be worse over in California! Plus, it made for some interesting conversations to overhear. Oh yeah, and did I mention that American freshman girls are hot?! :P
It is a bit expensive — especially since you don't even get reserved seats, and since there's nowhere to put your luggage except the overhead spaces — but the trains around here are still worth travelling on, for the scenery if for nothing else. The New England countryside really is quite gorgeous. The New York-Boston train goes through rural Connecticut, as well as Rhode Island, before reaching Massachusetts; and it's lovely to see the woods and the countryside, especially at this time of year, "in the Fall" (i.e. in Autumn). The leaves are taking their time going brown this year — because of the hot weather, I guess — but they're starting to go crispy, and it's certainly a sight to see. Not something that we get to appreciate much, back home in Australia, with our forests full of evergreen eucalypts and all.
The train pulled in to "Route 128" station — which is in the western part of Boston, near where my cousins live — at about 7pm. Fortunately, my uncle hadn't given up waiting for me, so he was there to greet me when I arrived, and to take me back to their house, for a big and long-overdue reunion with my American relatives.