November 25th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0

I had intended to combine an account of today’s adventures with yesterday’s, since all we did today was sit on a train, but really I should record the train journey in rather more detail – it is pretty unique.  Not, I repeat, that anything happens – we were on the train from quarter to midnight yesterday to 7 tomorrow morning (if you follow me) + we didn’t crash.  Still…

The single most important thing about the train (I’m going to generalise) is the food.  We had brought a small amount of food with us – mostly fruit – but there is so much on sale that it really isn’t necessary.  Not from a buffet car, you understand – at every station the locals were out in force to sell their wares – enchiladas, tortillas, tacos, sweetbreads, cheeses, fruit, coffee, cold drinks, sweets.  Sometimes this is done from the platform, sometimes they board the train + try there.  And so far, we’ve been pleased with all we’ve bought – our stomachs, after their initial uncertainty, have borne up wonderfully.  And the food is cheap too – usually 5-10 pesos.  In addition to these, the guards also sold various things, tho’ I don’t know whether this is part of their job specification, or they were freelancing.  Anyway, this added beer, rock and little jellies, as well as early morning coffee, to the menu (tho’ not as cheap.)  Finally, all sorts of other little goodies might appear at various times – eg cheap jewellery, little toy horses.  Quite the travelling market.  Mind you, it is needed to compensate for the scenery, which really kin Northern Mexico is pretty dull.  We both amused ourselves with reading most of the time – I’ve finished the short history of the Roman world we bought, + have started Gulag Archipelago (I’m back to prisons again), + Val is reading “The Mill on the Floss”.  We also played a few games of cards, but the sitting down, reading, + sun gave me a headache.  However, to our current experience at any rate, the 2nd class compartments are by no means the stinking, overcrowded cesspools that have been described to us – about standard British Rail in fact… so far, at least. (Val says the bogs are worse here.)

You will already have noted my preoccupation with food, and this is just another example.  I suppose because it really is one of the highlights of every day.  It is also specific; so that when having nothing else to write, I could list each item for each meal… and frequently do.

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