Fellow Travellers

The people in our railcar are becoming more relaxed and chatty as the time we spend together lengthens.

Over breakfast on Day 2, I take a look around at the people nearest to us.

Across the aisle are mom and daughter from Florida. Mom is a retired Avon rep; daughter is a former travel agent, now a cop. Tomorrow is her birthday; she’ll be forty-three. She is fit and tiny, looking and sounding just like Jodie Foster. Mom is happy to tell me their whole life history.

In front of them is a lone Brit. Retired and in his 60s he is fit, wiry and talkative. He flirts with Mom and daughter, especially daughter who flirts back in a tough, ironic way. He’s not getting it.

He has a mixed London accent. He’s from Lewisham where I went to college, but now lives in Kidderminster in the midlands near where I grew up. We still don’t have much to talk about, but he seems to have done a heck of a lot of travelling since retiring. He must have a great pension. 

In front of us is a honeymoon couple from Manchester, switching between starry-eyed hand-holding, eager window-gazing and the observation deck relay.

Every one is very polite on the observation deck. There is really only room for two people each side with a bit of a squeeze. But people are great – as the next special bit of scenery slides into view, they take a look, snap a couple of shots, then squeeze out of the way to let someone else have a go before it falls away behind us.

In the carriage on the second day, people are also now relaxed enough shout out “Bear!” and point so that everyone else gets a chance to see it.

In front of the honeymooners is a couple from Calgary. They’ve been down in Vancouver and this is their treat for the return journey. It’s their first time.

And next to them spread over several seats is a German family, mom and dad, grand-dad and three teenagers. They are all polite and laugh a lot. A nice family. They like it that Janos speaks a little German. Janos is from Brazil. His father was German.

Good looking in a dark, brooding way, Janos is doing a bit of modelling in his spare time and trying to break into film. Meanwhile he works five months a year on the Rocky Mountaineer.

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