Travel to see country & people: In my row on the Amtrak train to Sacramento sit three lovely Mexican Golden Girls who knit by day, share brought-in nachos, cheese cubes and white wine in the evening, and then at night tuck under a mountain of blankets under the seats on the floor for sleeping.
When I wake up this morning, our Texas Eagle train has already left Texas and we are about to leave Missouri as well. We are just arriving in St. Louis and crossing the Mississippi to Illinois. I've ridden this route before on the way out to Fort Worth. There was nothing to be done but backtrack a bit along the same route to get to the Pacific. At least I don't have to go all the way back to Chicago, just as far as Springfield in Illinois. My train left Fort Worth two hours late. I would have missed my connection in Springfield. But overnight the Texas Eagle made up so much time that I still have time at Springfield if it goes on from there. The nice thing about traveling with Amtrak is that you are never left to your own devices, but there are always staff there who round up all travelers and guide them to the right departure platform. You have to be very stupid here to get lost. There are also not many connections, so everything is clearer than in German rail traffic.
This is the third time I'm crossing the Mississippi. This time heading west again from Illinois and now I'm rolling through Iowa, the 12th state on this trip.
So far I have already traveled to the following states on this journey:
- Rhode Island
- New York
Driving past three dozen proper burger joints and Mexican restaurants in San Antonio to grab a $17 "Texan Pizza" at 46th Street New York Style Pizzeria is the worst idea I can remember having on this trip to have. What a muck!
Today my Southeast Asia trip begins, for which I prepared longer and better than on the last trips. I don't have a ready-made travel plan, because for me the journey itself is actually the goal. On this trip even more than usual. I just looked around mid-December where there were still reasonably affordable flights to Southeast Asia somewhere. There are basically none like before the COVID pandemic. I found a one-way flight to Bangkok that cost more than a return flight three years ago. As soon as I started my journey today, it became clear that international passenger traffic by plane had gotten into serious trouble. I'm leaving from Frankfurt am Main (FRA). Check-in there at China Airlines takes just three minutes. But at the automated border control, I've been in line for 30 minutes. There are not enough of the gates for so many passengers who have to go through it. Passport control is only theoretically faster that way. In reality, many people still have problems handling it. Most do not leave their passport on the scanner long enough, so the process has to be repeated multiple times.