|No granola bars here!
Now, as you can tell by glancing at my profile in the sidebar over there, I have 6 kids, and they have done their share of making us look really bad in public. REALLY BAD. So I didn't think I had it in me to judge other parents. And for the first, oh, 12 hours of the trip I didn't. It's rough, taking a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old on a train. I felt for those people, I really did. Even when the older child woke ME up in the middle of the night, looking for his parents, who for some reason were both asleep in the seats across the aisle, instead of each sitting/sleeping with one kid apiece.
Really, I should have known right there.
And then along came hour 13, when the older one was whining and the younger one was crying, and the older one started hitting the younger one and the younger one started yelling and hitting back, and NO ONE DID ANYTHING. The dad was somehow managing to snooze through all this, and the mom was ignoring them until it got really bad, and THEN she would intervene. Halfheartedly. This happened repeatedly over the next 9 hours or so.
OMG. 9 HOURS.
You know, they could have headed this behavior off at the pass, before those poor kids (who really weren't bad) were fighting and crying. They could have taken the kids to the Sightseer Lounge and let them look out the big windows and maybe eat a fun snack. They could have walked around the train with them. They could have NOT BEEN SNOOZING while the rest of us suffered. I swear, by the time we arrived in Seattle, I hated these people more than I have ever hated anyone in my life.
This is yet another example of how train travel can turn you into a person who contemplates murder. I'm not proud of that fact, but there you are...
We stayed in a hostel in Seattle. I'll admit, I had second thoughts about this adventure when we arrived around 9 PM on a Saturday night (via Uber, because I wasn't stupid anymore) and the common areas were full of drinking 20-somethings. LOUD drinking 20-somethings. But Susie had a look on her face that all but shouted, "We're NOT going to pull our bags all over Seattle looking for a real hotel, are we?" The poor girl was traumatized by our California experience, that's for sure.
|Our hip room in the hostel
Of course, I did feel like Grandma Moses, sitting there surrounded by fresh-faced young adults, people who you could tell just bounded out of bed in the morning, ready for whatever adventure the day had in store for them. People who no doubt could sleep comfortably even on coach cars in trains and rise refreshed. People who traveled with only a backpack, rather than with 4 pieces of luggage and an 11-year-old in tow.
|We went here TWICE.
Carefree, is what I'm trying to say. They all looked so carefree. It made me feel old. Old and careworn. So, yeah, that was the only downside to staying in a hostel. Feeling a hundred years old.
|One of the Seven Wonders, I guess
At some point, we decided to look for a grocery store to stock up on food for the train (again), as we were leaving that afternoon. We found an IGA a few blocks away that was notable in that it was actually underground. "This is such a neat city!" Susie said, happily full of pyroshkies as she went down the stairs and into the store. "What'll they think of next?"
And that's the beauty of traveling with an 11-year-old, folks; I'm sure one of my world-weary teens would not have derived nearly that much enjoyment out of Russian pastries and oddly placed supermarkets.
Not to mention that they wouldn't have been caught dead staying with Grandma Moses at a youth hostel...