NPY’s PotD*: Day Fifteen

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Jeff says, “We’re all up-to-date now with both NHL and Madden 12!” wyn says, “I just don’t get it….”

Along with my television, NPY is also safeguarding my XBOX360 while I am away. Why would I, a complete non-gamer (not even the girly stuff), have an XBOX? I got a really good price, it can stream Netflix to my television, the media center capabilities (although I hardly harnessed them to their full potential), and… during that frenzy when the guys are playing their x12 games like crazy, NPY would not disappear and never leave his house but would just play from my place!


I think it was 9 years ago in 2002 when between the two of us, Lil Sis and I hatched the idea of taking a VIA rail train between Halifax and Toronto. Our Vancouver aunt, with a group of her cronies, had recently taken the train across the country, ending up in Halifax. She raved about how beautiful the journey was, so since we were in no particular rush to get to Toronto, Lil Sis and I took the 26-hour ride that was broken up after 20 hours with a 12-hour layover in Montreal. The train to Montreal was painfully slow-going–we seemed to be going just 50kph the entire way–wending our way through every last forest in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, it seemed. The train was old, smelled, had a smoking car we had to pass through, and dining options were pitiful and limited. We slept uncomfortably and found ourselves paying the same fare to ride a train for 20 hours as we would to fly in one-tenth the time. After a day of exploring Montreal, we boarded our overnight train to Toronto and it was a dream. I would call it the “Star Trek” train because it was brightly lit, modernly upholstered, and the doors between spaces were sliding doors with that efficient, futuristic “whoosh” sound when they opened and closed.

A couple of months ago, it occurred to me that I was not in a great rush to reach Toronto and I could entertain the option of taking a train across the prairies. Perhaps it was the Rockies and Prairies that were highly picturesque and not the Maritimes. I told Lil Sis that it would be romantic to take a train across the country alone to reflect on life, read in peace, and write, and she groaned. Apparently I had said the same thing back in ’02 and it was the very opposite of romantic. I ended up flying and was in Toronto in 4 hours even, so I still wonder….

Besides the exorbitant price, the duration of travel was goofy, even if I wasn’t in a particular rush. It would take 24 hours to leave Vancouver, cross the Rockies, and arrive in Edmonton. It takes 19 hours to cross the Prairies, from Edmonton to Winnipeg. And it takes another 24 hours to get into Ontario and down to Toronto from Winnipeg. Economy (no sleeping berth) fare was as expensive as flying and two nights of “camping” on a train was not a pretty thought. Even my time is worth so much more than this!

A Toronto lifer and long-time commuter would laugh at me but I see the romance in the GO train. It is one of the icons of Toronto and far more civilized than VIA rail felt–possibly in part because people take it are somberly heading to work or school rather than boisterous vacationers and families on VIA. When I took the last train out of downtown for the evening, there were only a few other people in the car on the upper level where I prefer to sit. No one was using their cell phone causing any noise and I soaked up the ride through the dark with the reassuring rumbling and gentle swaying.


* NPY’s Picture of the Day. While I’m in Toronto and he is in Vancouver, 3400km away, we will try to share with each other (and consequently this blog) pictures that capture our day.

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