We arrive at the train station late in the day and then wait on the bus for what seems like a long time. Apparently the train is running late.Eventually we are waiting on the outdoor platform as the warm air darkens into dusk. The station lights come on. The trains come and go. Each time we hear another arriving we ask expectantly “Is this it?” as loud announcements in Arabic blare above the din.At last it is ours and we clamber aboard.
The train is not new, but clean enough and functional. Each small cabin has two bunks and a wash basin. (The shared bathrooms are located at the end of the carriage.) The window opens to the outside, but is streaked with dust and dirt that obscures the view.
I’m exhausted and expected to just fall into bed after boarding. However, nothing makes me feel as if I am embarking on an adventure like train travel does. Maybe that harkens back to my mother taking us all to the cities for Christmas shopping in the last months before passenger service to our small town ended or maybe it stems from all those trains Peter herded us onto all over Europe in college. At any rate, by the time I board I am high on adrenaline. Sitting in my closet of a cabin to eat dinner by myself has zero appeal.
So I stand in the hall, watching out the window and chatting with my fellow passengers. Others also seem equally reluctant to move into their cabin and close the door, so I have plenty of company.
All the of the single rooms in the group have been blocked together, so when dinner arrives, Dave, Nancy, Denise, Rachel, and I all pile into Nancy’s cabin. There really isn’t enough room for all of us, but we order wine through the steward (who seems to find us amusing) and make the space work. We keep the door open and chat with a steady stream of visitors as well as each other while drinking Egyptian wine from plastic cups.
By the time we head off to our cabins for a few hours of sleep we are all good friends.
This is going to be a great trip.
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