I’m eastbound on the Pennsylvanian. Me and my wireless Internet connection (who says Verizon phones can’t be tethered?) are parked up front in Business Class. An angry, Macbook-toting, hoodie-wearing hipster is angrily kicking the seat of an old man in front of him. My complimentary coffee is strong. And free. The fields of Lancaster county flash past the window as 700 tons of Amtrak-stamped steel hurtle through at 60 mph.
Somewhere in the distance, a cow moos.
What used to be a monthly trip for me has, over the years, dropped to an every-other month trip, then almost entirely out of sight. Obligations of my previous position at work (which I am not complaining about, I voluntarily chose to work all those crazy shifts) made travel plans almost impossible. But now, with my M-F 8-4 job firmly entrenched, I decided to dip into my massive pile of annual leave and disappear for a while.
As I was walking downtown en route to the train station, I passed what appears to be a group of protest–
Oh, hey. We just passed a car on fire. We must be closer to Philly than I thought.
Anyway, I passed a group of people who were protesting health care reform. I didn’t really have time to stop and get pictures, but the placards were priceless. One in particular stood out — “STOP OBAMA’S EUGENICS WAR – OBAMACARE”. I desperately wanted to stop and ask about this forthcoming eugenics war, but I was surprisingly on-time for my train. When I saw the “OBAMA = WHITES OUTLAWED” placard, I realized they were only trolling. Nobody, even ’round these here parts, is that dumb. Good show.
The trick to regular NYC getaways was learned by me a long time ago: sleep cheap. For two nights in Harlem (decent hood; I checked), two nights in the upper west, round-trip rail on Amtrak, and unlimited subway use, my grand total comes to $272 plus tax.
Considering that decent accommodations in New York generally start around $250 a night and can easily clear $500, I think I done pretty good. I’ll post more details tomorrow, but suffice to say, if you don’t mind being a little unorthodox and meeting new people, you can save a metric ton of money. And given that I’m only sleeping here, well, I’d rather spend my money on other stuff.
I did my homework on this trip. Being my first trip in almost a year, I wanted to make sure I see everything worthwhile. I received (too) many recommendations on hole-in-the-wall ethnic diners. Got a ton of suggestions for nightlife venues to check out, too — apparently Brooklyn is the place to be right now. And unlike previous trips, I have mobile broadband this time, meaning I can safely update without worry of someone intercepting my admin password or cookie.
I’m going to put my notebook to sleep right now. In the time I’ve spent editing this we’ve arrived in Philly and are about to turn around for Penn Station. Besides, that guy has awoken and resumed annoying the cabin. I’m going to go tell him Radiohead sucks.