Passing through New Mexico
As lunchtime rolls around, I find myself seated at a table in the dinning car, while we roll through a New Mexico river valley flanked by red rocks and the occasional pueblo style mansion. My tablemates are a diverse group, an Asian American civil engineer in his 30s working for a transportation consulting company in the Bay Area, returning from a trip to Oklahoma; a middle aged African American lady going home to Las Vegas; and a British lady visiting her son in Santa Fe, who opted to take the train from Denver over her son's suggestion to just fly down because she wanted to take the scenic route.
We talk about public transportation in America ("Hey, were you involved in the whole FasTracks project up in Denver?"), bemoan how sad the nation's passenger rail infrastructure has become ("... and they now serve preheated food on plastic plates. Still much better then airline food."), relay the whole General Motors streetcar conspiracy theory ("... and so GM donated busses to various cities leading to the shut down of the light rail lines we had back in the 50s..."), water problems and growth in Vegas ("...we can't keep growing at that rate, there isn't enough water"), and explain the concept of "stone fired pizza" to our British contingent ("It's a fancy way of saying oven baked").
Half way through lunch, the train pulls into Lamy station. We hear a broadcast over the intercom for someone's arriving early to pick up a passenger to Santa Fe. Our British friend excuses herself quickly scooping up the last of her stone fired pizza as we shake hands and exchange pleasantries. Then we're off again through the New Mexico countryside.