A very short, long train ride from Orlando to DC

Trip Start Nov 01, 2012
Trip End Nov 28, 2012

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Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Friday, November 23, 2012

So I begrudgingly handed over $50 to the cab driver who dropped me off at the Amtrak station in downtown Orlando. It was only 10am and my train was scheduled to leave at 13:25pm. A bit of a wait but compared to some layovers I've had, I figured 3 hours wouldn't be too bad. Except the train only left the station around 15:30pm. But I did meet a lovely girl, Chelsea Crawford, who was heading home to her family for Thanksgiving Potluck. I'd probably say that the majority of the passengers arriving and leaving were headed to their families.

So when the train arrived, we were lined up in single file and allocated a seat number. Since the train originated in Miami, it was quite full by the time it arrived in Orlando. I was unfortunately placed in an aisle seat next to a man who was asleep against the plug point where I desperately needed to charge my phone. I would've asked him to plug it in for me except that it looked like rigor mortis had set in so I thought it best to find a more appropriate spot. Besides, I was hungry and decided to head down to the dining cart. I ordered a pulled pork roll, a cinnamon bun (both were gross) and found a spot at a table - which had a plug point. And that's where I met Daniel Mahfood. Daniel is a white guy from Jamaica whose part Lebanese. Daniel lives in Florida and has graduated as an attorney and is working for a judge. We had such an interesting chat and what a great guy with a very bright future ahead of him. Daniel got off relatively early in the journey and I still had about 16 hours to go.

I sat listening to my music and writing my blogs when I was joined, in Jacksonville, by another young gentleman. It didn't take long before we started up a conversation. Terry Stokes. Terry is an ex military man who now works temporarily in the Guard and is also a firefighter. What a pleasure meeting him. Although I do blame him for the fact that I didn't sleep at all. We shared pictures, exchanged stories, laughed a lot and it was really because of Terry (and Shawn Henry) that the 16 plus hour train journey felt like 16 minutes. Shawn is also ex military and was in the marines. He was on his way to Philadelphia, which is the stop after DC but Terry got off in Fayetteville at around 4am. I always feel so chuffed when I meet someone new but then am always sad when we go our separate ways. I've hooked up with Terry and Shawn on Facebook and I'm hoping to see Shawn tomorrow or Saturday in Philadelphia. He has kindly offered to take me around and show me the sites of Philly. I've booked my Greyhound trip to leave DC tomorrow for Philly at 2:55pm and I think it's a 2 or 3 hour bus ride. We also met a very clever guy from the Ukraine who had graduated in mathematics. Who does that? He is currently working as a computer programmer but a very intelligent man who, by his own admission, can't drive very well. We didn't exchange names unfortunately so will probably never see or hear from the Ukranian mathematician again. This is the regret moments we face when we depart ways too soon without finalising the obligatory Facebook friend requests.

After Terry got off, Shawn was trying very hard to feign sleep at the table opposite me. I also tried to sleep a bit but there was no chance. So Shawn joined me at the table and we sat and talked about everything until I then eventually had to leave. Shawn - how would you feel about accompanying me to the best Black Friday sales and for a funnel cake and a quick dash up Rockys stairs a ring of the Liberty Bell. I'll buzz you tomorrow and we can make a plan.

Right we arrived very late at DC, eventually got the bags, went to book the bus to Philly and then went to find a taxi driver to take me to the hotel. Funny about that, he just irritated me the minute I got into his car. Firstly he didn't know where I wanted to go, even after I gave him the address. I give him the address and he punched it into his Garmin ad then proceeded to drive around the block, twice! I was so irritated by the time I saw the station for the 3rd time and the meter was now sitting on $7. I told him to stop the cab or reset it and I will tell him where to go. He got annoyed with me and mumbled something about him not having to work today. He did reset the meter and then tells me he knows where he's going. Ethiopian asshole.

So I checked into the Capitol Hill Suites which was really just a stone's throw away from everything. So I took to the streets in search of Washington's tourist attractions. My breath was taken when I saw the Capitol building and that was just the start. I walked my ass off but saw everything I wanted to see and more. I've reflected all these sights in my photos.

Once I was done admiring the Lincoln Memorial, I looked back and realized just how far I'd come and just how far I now had to walk back. And I did but on a round about route past the White House. I got back to the hotel, after trying without success to find something to eat but every restaurant in the area was closed due to Thanksgiving. So I treated myself to a root beer and went to the room to relax. I'd have liked to do a night time tour but I fell asleep sitting up on the bed. That's how knackered I was from no sleep and in excess of 10km worth of walking. So I gave that idea a miss, whipped my pj's on, drank my root beer and went straight back to sleep. Tomorrow is another day.

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Daniel on

What an amazing and inspiring journal! I'm sure you'll be looking back on this trip for years to come, as will many others. You're clearly getting the most out of it both by doing so much and by sharing every moment of it.

Best of luck for the rest of your trip!!


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