California Zephyr: We all only drink and make merry when traveling in the train :)

Rocky Mountains
One of the first towns that we stopped, its a gateway to close by ski resorts

Sam looked unapproachable when I sat opposite her in the viewing car, though I was intrigued by her book and wanted to ask more questions about it. She shut me off by suggesting that she would give me the book if she finished before the Salt Lake City, unfortunately that never happened and I never got the book :)

More Rocky Mountains
The beautiful Colorado river

But we did started talking, especially after she told me about her fascination with the Trans Siberian Railway, something even I have dreamt of doing since my school days. Marcus joined in as well and we had some super fun conversations, He also had some beer which he shared with us, apart from all the stories about the super expensive ranch he worked for. Already a little happy with the beer, we realized we needed much more booze, and purchased a gallon and half of locally brewed beer from Glenwood Springs. We ran and managed to catch the again, and it was a sprint that was witnessed by many of our co-passengers as we realized later. Sarah and her kids joined us as well and we all played many rounds of Uno together, all the while discussing some real interesting things.

Sam's reflection
Marcus, Beer and me :)
Hmmm...I captured the same mountain in the onwards journey as well, beautiful nevertheless
It was late afternoon, and the sky was fantastic

Fairly drunk already when Marcus got down, we were joined by the extremely tanned ski instructor Carl from Australia, and with him around wine flowed :) He bought wine for everyone around, played music on his iPod, told us how much he hated the Salt Lake city. We kept drinking till Sam and Carl got off the train got off at Salt Lake City, and I kind of felt bad about them getting ff too soon. For a while I was tempted to get off with Carl for the big house party that he invited us to, and with the kind of spirits he had, any place would have been fun!

Some more fantastic sky...
The light is almost heavenly, almost sunset...
Hiding sun?
Hmmm...I went mad with the camera at time, while the rest happily played Uno :)

Scott the Germany born military man was already waiting with a bottle of red wine for me when I came back to the lounge coach (I am just amazed by the generosity of the co-passengers wrt alcohol in the train). Soon the super fun and already extremely drunk Maria and her mother came in laughing, and I joined them for some mid-night snack. I also had my first Avocado and loads of chocolates with them while Scott and Terence discussed philosophy.


Train in motion? (lame caption)
Carl with the lady from Reuters
Salt Lake city station
Maria's mom with all the food :)

It feels weird now to be sober, but I am enjoying the afternoon nevertheless. I just met the travel writer couple David and Kay, who travel around the country everywhere, visit the National Parks, stay over at different lodges and write about them. Its always amazing to meet fellow travelers, though I do not by any means travel as much as they do. Not to mention the high school kid Andy who had traveled all the way from Michigan to meet his girl in Roseville and the cards couple who taught me the game of Rummy, and I certainly had quite a bit of fun playing with them.

More stunning mountains...the beauty just never gets over
Things getting dry...before snow suddenly came and stayed for hours around us
Kay and David :)

The train is almost empty now, and its already tough to remember the people I met and the conversations we had. From the intense Republican vs Democratic debate last afternoon, to the late night highly charged discussion between Carl and the train conductor, I enjoyed it all. It was great to just talk about Obama and his healthcare reforms, and to know how the youth felt about the US economy, traveling, going to the college (which seems to be kind of low on priority for many), perceptions about India and so on. I always felt so welcome with everyone, young or old, republican or democrat, there never was any hint of discrimination at all. It never mattered that I was a non-white, non-American, asking such uncomfortable questions, drinking, flirting and just joking around with them.

Its just so amazing how one train trip helped me connect with so many Americans, as against the three months I spent in Palo Alto and Stanford. I am at a loss of words to express how I feel right now with my train trip coming to an end. I do hope to keep in touch with at least some of the people I met on the trip, these amazing people who made my journey so worthwhile...

Read this - Top 5 unmissable journeys by rail by Lonely Planet and you will see this one as well :)

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Just an update...I finally do exist on Facebook - Sid the Wanderer :)

51 comments:

  1. I am so Jealous! Firstly you can have BEER in a train! WOW! and the mountains are so beautifully - they surely do give an extra high to the trip!

    That writer couple is damn cute! I wish there is a day when I could do that for a living too!

    Send some beer this side too..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, you can legally have beer in the train...though its not allowed to get your own (which most still do)...we were caught drinking our own whiskey but were let off after a long argument :)

      As for the couple, they are my ideal as well :)

      Delete
  2. Beautiful landscapes, awesome looking beer, great photographs!! Now I must admit that the woman reflected in the window looks quite interesting as well ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the landscape was amazing and yes the reflected woman was very interesting as well :)

      Delete
  3. lovely pictures...beautifully captured...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Absolutely breathtaking, the landscapes!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. More beautiful shots Sid. Looks like a spectacular journey!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Adam, really appreciate your comment :)

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  6. Che belle foto e che viaggio interessante che state facendo. I posti sono splendidi e le montagne molto suggestive. Complimenti e buon viaggio! ciao Cri : )

    ReplyDelete
  7. Beautiful pics. And yes, trains are cool... and BEER on a train is just plain awesome! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks man, and I agree lots of beer on a long train journey is blissful :)

      Delete
  8. Lovely pictures..Seems you had a blast..!...

    PS :
    Why don't you consider doing away with the word verification?..!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sridharan, and I thought I removed the word verification...let me recheck!

      Delete
  9. I wanted to say something nice. But I guess that's difficult to do when one is so jealous :)

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    1. Thanks 'Young Bigmouth' :) Your comment is highly complimentary :)

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    2. You thought so? I was just being mean, seriously :)

      Delete
  10. Now that's what I call a bottle of beer man! I sit here drinking my little bottle of Leffe, while good, it feels almost inadequate now. Like the shots. I could swear I have taken a shot of that one mountain - the flat one - before... It has the "feeling" of being familiar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Barlow for the kind comment :) Any beer after that has been inadequate for me, especially because I missed my train getting it, and had to run to actually make it :)

      And I do understand the 'feeling' of familiar, happens with me as well sometimes...

      Delete
  11. Did you happen to meet your 'Celine' on your train journey :P Its funny how some movies can make you fantasize things ;)
    And as usual the photos are beautiful Sid :)

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha...no I didn't, I met my Celine a long time back :) But your comment did remind me of the movie...also the fact that I once enacted a scene from it back in my design school :)

      Delete
  12. I love the train picture-at-the-station picture, the just-before-sunset picture, the Rocky mountains, all of it. I can't wait to go this way, now. Where you off to next, Siddharth?

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    1. Thanks D, I am glad you liked some of the pics :) As for my next destination...there are some on the card, but all plans can change based on the work at school :)

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  13. Beer and wine and interesting people and breathtaking sceneries...this must have been a helluva trip, eh. :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Absolutely fantastic landscapes! I grew up in an ultra-flat place and I am fascinated with mountains. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Fantastic sky indeed. I love all the photos. Can't stop saying WOW!

    Happy weekend. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rizalenio, I really appreciate your feedback. My weekend was fabulous, hope u had a good one as well!

      Delete
  16. Beautiful pictures of course. Surprised you're not familiar with rummy. It's a travel staple in my neck of the woods, great game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I knew about rummy, but somehow never played it. Even in the train everyone seemed to be familiar with it...

      Delete
  17. Sid, this must really have been a wonderful trip. And that is what reflects in your images. Wonderful work.

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    1. Thanks Elin, the trip surely was absolutely wonderful :)

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  18. Awesome photos, awesome-r landscapes and awesome-st stories...so everything seemed so alive..even the mountains and the dry landscapes...and even I want to do that trans-Siberian journey..some day may be....

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Kunal :) As for the Trans Siberian journey, I think I will soon start signing up people interested in it and then we can all maybe go together, it could be super fun :)

      Delete
  19. Love your blog buddy, pics are amazing! After going through your post I feel like quitting the rat race for some time and do some travel planning :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot Rahul :) Don't worry about the rat race, I have quite it twice already to take breaks to study and travel. You can always take a long enough break to live life...and then may or may not go back to the race :)

      Delete
  20. I wish you'd have come through somewhere closer so we could have shared a few stories. I wish you many more blessed and happy journeys. I love the red mountains.. they almost look like layers of a giant blanket, waiting there to hug you.

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    1. Ha! Was I anywhere close? Where do you live btw? And who knows, maybe some day we will share some stories :)

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  21. sam's reflection is nice...

    ReplyDelete
  22. These pictures are awesome..very beautiful.

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I am a Pune based Industrial Designer, Street Photographer and Travel Blogger. I enjoy traveling as much as sharing my stories and photographs from around the world with people to inspire them to make even more wonderful journeys themselves :)

I call myself 'The Wanderer' as I often love to just wander about in the places I visit - to meet new people, see new places and to just soak in new experiences. Often its the unexpectedness of the moment which makes it so memorable...

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