Houston- we have a pit stop.
Trip Start Apr 18, 2011
65Trip End Dec 09, 2011
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For a grand total of 50 minutes the train stopped in Houston where we were reliably informed of the city's great attractions and culture. And also how one would have plenty of time to explore these delights if they didn't make it back to the train for the 9:50 departure time, as it only passes through every 2 days.
Taking into account my extreme hunger and unwillingness to pay train food prices, I decide to risk it and leave the train- and my bag (it'll only slow me down)- to go and get some food. It's a mission, there's a deadline, an objective, the need for reconnaissance.
After vaulting out of the train I find myself under an elevated highway in what looks to be a building site, but I cant really tell in the dark. Aiming for the high-rise skyline, I run, scanning the buildings for grocery stores, restaurants, fast food, anything. After stopping at a ridiculously expensive sushi place I am given directions for a pizza bar called Franky's; just four blocks away, tick, tock.
I imagine from an outside perspective I look a little disturbed; running, analysing everything, panting as I ask for directions.
I eye the neon sign and am comfortable with the remaining time. I go in for my well deserved pizza, and realising that alcohol must be consumed indoors (I'm not in New Orleans anymore), I stay with my Peroni and watch the end of the Miami and Boston Playoff match.
On my return jog I take a few more pictures to confirm that this escapade is not just a dream in an otherwise comatose journey of microsleeps and lucidity.
Other highlights include being given a free lunch by a retired physics teacher called Frank- salmon sandwiches, sunflower seeds and an apple
Also, after waiting for 5 hours in San Antonio to change trains I awake to an empty waiting room. Gathering my bags, I stumble to the door expecting the worst but am pleasantly surprised to see a procession of equally tired train folk all staring at the newly arrived Austin train. You could say I almost missed it, or you could argue it was impeccable sleep timing.
I feel like this train journey has been a destination all in its own right; meeting people, new experiences, etc. Either way, a days travel on a train certainly puts into perspective the 'long' journeys I have done back in the UK. Unfortunately I think there may be longer ones to come.