Friday, November 16, 2007

choo choo nightmare

To all but Tristan since he loves trains, never take the train. Just don't do it. I went to a conference in Tukwila (south of Seattle) on Wed/Thurs. I didn't really want to fly in to Seatac, and my company didn't want to reimburse me to drive myself, so they suggested I take the train. Cool, I thought, the train is neat that should be fun. Ha.

My Mom drove me to the vancouver station, train was to arrive at 6:30, it was really cold outside. Thankfully they have a small station that you can stand in. The train was late. They had to change engines in PDX, then the bridge was up, then they had to wait for freight traffic. And you may think, oh thats not so bad, but it took an hour and a half for the train to get to vancouver. I didn't leave until 8pm. We were supposed to be in Tukwila by 9:10, I say again, Ha. Since our train was late we lost our 'place' in the train track order, so we had to wait for all other traffic at every stop, they had the right of way since they were on time. Which ment we were later and later with every stop.

There were only three of us in my car. I think each car holds about 20 people. I sat across the isle from a nice lady, we talked most of the time. But there was also another lady, aka crazy lady, in the car with us. Every time the train would slow or stop or rattle or Anything she would huff or sigh or complain out loud. We laughed silently every time. I think she got off in Tacoma. It was also cold, really cold. My feet were freezing and I had my big winter coat on the whole ride. Every time the staff person would walk through our car we would say it was cold, he turned the heat up twice but we didn't really feel any difference. The third time we asked a different person to turn up the heat and she said we had the warmest car on the whole train, ugh. There was also this 10-12yr old kid that kept walking through the cars, like 15-20 times during our ride, annoying.

Okay, so we didn't get to Tukwila until 11:30 or so. I was supposed to have a cab waiting to take my to the hotel, well, they were supposed to be there at 9:10. So the lady I had ridden up with drove my to the closest hotel, the embassy suites, so I didn't have to wait at the station. I use the term 'station' very loosely. Tukwila has a plateform with a covered shelter like a bus stop. Nothing inside, no phone, very creepy in the middle of the night. Anyway the nice lady drove me to the embassy suites, they called me a cab and I enjoyed their lobby for 10mins. I'd like to stay there sometime, when I have money. wow. Spendy place. So the cab comes and takes me three miles to my hotel, the DaysInn. Lets just say it might not have looked so bad if I hadn't just been sitting in a ritzy lobby. It was icky. I got there at 11:55, they close they lobby/check in at midnight. That would have been interesting. SO I get my keycard and go to the room. I was on the second floor all the way at the end of the hall, I passed a lot of doors, outside of which were booze bottles, garbage, and my favorite, a plunger. Can we say ick?

The whole place had the stinky cleaning product smell, like, hey lets spray some smelly air freshener and maybe no one will notice the moldy bathroom. My room was freezing cold. I cranked the heat up and it ran all night, I was still cold in the morning. I slept in all my clothes. The bed was hard and I could feel all the springs. I woke up by 7:30. I could hear all the people around and above me thumping and slamming doors, so I got up. The shower had mold around the walls and ceiling. I dress quickly and checked out by 8:30. I again had to call a cab since the conference was at a different hotel. Yeah, I know, why didn't I just stay at the hotel where the conference was? It was too expensive. The conference was interesting to me, but probably not to all of you :) It was about childrens mental health and the benefits WA state provides and how we need to change it etc. Thankfully they had breakfast and lunch served, I was so hungry having no dinner the night before and all...

So the thing was over at 4pm and my train home didn't leave until 5:45, so I sat in the nice lobby, called George and talked for a while. The about 5pm I decided I should call the cab since they take 15-20mins to get to you. I asked the front desk lady to call for me, which she started to do, then she asked where I was going, Tukwila amtrak I told her. She said Oh! and hung up the phone and went to the back room. I stood there confused for a moment until she can back with a man in hotel uniform. It was the shuttle driver. He drove me to the station instead. Nice and all but I got there by 5:10, a little early for the train, but at least I didn't pay for a cab. Now, I know this is long, but if you remember I described the Tukwila station earlier. Yeah, it was raining and really cold. So I sat in the little shelter until
5:50 when the train showed. It was a cold ride home, and more crowded. We were supposed to be in vanc by 8:30, got there at 9pm. George picked me up and I went right to bed when we got home.

Lessons: Don't take the train. If you do, wear your snowsuit. If you take the train, expect to be late, very late. Don't get off in Tukwila. And finally, don't stay at the DaysInn.
Thank you.

5 comments:

Laurie, Mommy, Nana said...

Oh dear! :~) That's one for the journal that you and your kids will laugh at some day :) Really, you will laugh some day :) I've never been on a train, so I have nothing to compair it to, but some of my plane flights have been almost as crazy -- and dirty hotels, well, I've had my share of them, too. I feel for you - totally :) Hope the conference was worth all the hassle.

Olivia said...

That totally made me laugh. What an experience that was! WOW! But good job on being brave through it all and proving that you can do it! What a nightmare....
I do have to say that if it wasn't for Tristan the Train King I think this would really have deterred me forever.

Emily Marie said...

Oh sheesh! So good you had no one else with you to have to drag around! Sorry you had to stay in an icky hotel, been there! blah! Maybe the train doesn't always sound so fun!

Marilee said...

Thanks Lynnette. I have to go to a conference in Seattle in two weeks and was considering the train. I have taken it before and it was only a little late and restful (but it was summer and not cold). But I think I will fly or drive - anything but the horrible train. I will try also to avoid icky hotels.

Mina said...

Yeah, I've ridden the train a few times and it wasn't so bad...but I'm pretty sure it summer, or at least spring, and I didn't have any deadlines. But I agree, it's not the ideal mode of travel. Sounds like a hideous trip aside from the conference itself...I feel for you!