mspt47: (Default)
[personal profile] mspt47
Same deal as Day 1 and Day 2.

    7:30am: Didn't sleep as well as previous night and didn't fall asleep right away. It's not because the roommates were loud at all. In fact, they were trying very hard to be quiet when they came in, but still, the sound of them tiptoeing around on the creaky wooden floor, opening and closing the zippers on their luggage, going in and out of the slightly squeaky door ... it kept me from falling asleep for a while.

    I eventually fall asleep and manage to stay asleep until I hear one of the roommates' alarm go off, somewhere around 6:30am or 7:00am. I don't think I ever really fall back asleep as I am quite aware of one or two roommates packing up everything to check out. It sounded as if they were traveling together and they both were whispering in French.

    My alarm is set for 7:30am, and I turn it off before it goes off. I get up. Two roommates are still in bed, so I try my best to move around quietly. I strip my bed of the sheet, mattress cover, and pillowcase and I also grab my towel. I complete packing by 8:00am and go to check out.

    There is a bin for used linens and towels down the by the desk. Check-out is simple. The clerk gives me back the $5 taken as deposit for the keys. That's it.

    I head out the front door to make my way back to the Metro at Station Sherbrooke. It is lightly but steadily raining. I remember seeing the potential for rain in the forecast, but I thought it wasn't going to be until later in the day, when I would be on the train. Luckily, it isn't heavy rain and I don't get too wet walking in the several blocks to the Metro station. Unfortunately, it is a little on the cold side and I am wearing my open-toed shoes, so my toes are cold. But I ignore it.

    I use the Metro ticket I'd bought Sunday night and make my way to the side going toward Côte-Vertu. The platform is packed with commuters as it is rush hour, but most of them get off at Berri-UQAM.

    8:23am: I get off at Station Bonaventure and wind my way through the underground walkways alongside the commuters going to take the regional trains to wherever it is they're going, and I get to Gare Centrale.

    The electronic sign says train 68 to New York Penn Station will be on track 15 but they won't board until 9:00am. It is still scheduled to depart at 9:30am. There is no one in line at the gate yet. I want to be near the front of that line so I can have first pick of seats on the train, but I go get coffee first. There is a Second Cup not far from the gate so I get in line.

    8:33am: I am brave enough to finally attempt ordering coffee in French. I say, "Bonjour ... je vourdrais un latte ... uh, petit." Specifying nonfat would have been preferable, but I didn't want to push my luck. The guy understands me, and then asks me something that I don't understand. I laugh and say, "I'm sorry ..." Then he says in English, "Do you want it to go?" I say yes. *headdesk* Even now, I'm not sure how one asks that in French. The cashier rings me up in French, but I just hand her two two-dollar coins, knowing that would be enough to cover the drink.

    8:40am: I get in line at the gate. I am behind an older woman who is speaking with a Via employee about checking in her large bags. He assures her that she will get to board early and that her bags will be fine.

    I see other people filling out their customs declaration forms. I see a pile of blank ones sitting on the ledge where the gate is and grab one and start to fill it out.

    8:45am: The line is beginning to form behind me, after the Via employee guy directs people there, saying that there is no reserved seating and that it is first come, first served. He tells the woman in front of me that if she wants to connect to the train's wi-fi that she should sit in the front of the second-to-last car. I ask him to confirm if I heard him correctly, and he said yes, because the wi-fi originates from the café car.

    There is an elderly woman behind me that the Via employee chats with. He notes how long the line is now, that this train - even on a random Tuesday like today - is ALWAYS booked full.

    9:15am: I'm seated on the train, on the left side of the train again to see the sights that I didn't get to see on the way up. There were already a good number of people on the train when I got on, as those were the people who got to pre-board. But many of the seats at the front of the second-to-last car are still empty and I grab the one that is closest to the front with a window (the very front row doesn't have windows).

    9:31am: We depart right on time. No one comes to sit next to me, and the entire row in front of me (the ones without windows) are empty. The train was sold out but I guess a lot of people are traveling together and sitting together.

    The conductor announces that the train's wi-fi will not be available until after we get to Plattsburgh, the first U.S. stop after customs. I hope that it works because there are stretches of the upstate area where there is no cell phone reception.

    9:42am: Train tickets taken.

    9:52am: I do a great deal of playing around with my camera's lenses (I brought all three of them with me), exchanging the filters and testing out different settings on my camera.

    10:00am: I've consumed about 2/3 of my iced latte, but I'm a little tired of it now. Largely because I think they used whole milk (since I didn't specify) and it tastes really fatty.

    10:15am: It is cloudy and still rainy. I was asleep for much of this area on the way up, so this is my first look at the area between Saint-Lambert (which we skipped) and the border. There is a lot of farmland, much of which appears to be currently unused. There are also a few factories and storage facilities.

    10:50am: The train conductor announces that we are 10 minutes from the U.S. customs inspection stop.

    11:02am: I am bored and start playing games on my iPhone. I actually didn't play any games the entire trip until now.

    11:15am: Arrive at Rouses Point, NY, the customs inspection stop. Since I am at the front of the second-to-last car, the customs officer (a guy) comes to me first. Almost immediately, he tells me there is a problem with my passport. He takes it from me, along with my customs form, and disappears into the café car. After a couple minutes, he comes back and tells me that I will have to go into the café car to speak with the other customs officer there. I ask if I need to bring anything with me and he says no.

    So, I go into the café car, which has a lot of tables in between the seats. At the other end of the car, sitting facing the door where I've just passed through, is a woman customs officer. She waves for me to sit down across the table from her. She says, "Your passport number matches a passport that was reported stolen. I'm going to have to take this from you." She has her hand on my passport sitting on the table. She then gives me a slip of paper with an address and phone number on it. Honestly, I don't even think I look at the address or what it was for. My mind is racing.

    I'm dumbfounded for a few seconds. I manage to say, "I don't understand how that is possible. This is the only passport I've ever had so how can someone report it stolen?"

    She shrugs and says, "I don't know. All I know is your passport was flagged."

    Still confused, I ask, "So am I going to be able to get a replacement passport?" She says yes, that I just need to contact the office on the slip she gave me.

    I don't even know what else to ask at this point, so I say, "Okay ..." and I get up and go back to my seat. For about 5 or 10 minutes, I sit there confused and a little upset that I'm going to have to go through what I'm sure is a pain-in-the-ass process to get a replacement passport. Then I realize that I should maybe have my passport number because I'm sure the passport reissuing people are going to need/want that. I ask the first customs officer, who is just finishing up with questioning the people sitting behind me, if I can go back to the café car and write down my passport number.

    He says that I actually should have gotten a receipt or something from the other customs officer, and that, yes, I can go get the passport number.

    I go back into the café car. The woman is finishing up giving non-U.S., non-Canada foreigners additional paperwork to fill out. She sees me and waves me over. She says, "Oh, good, I was just going to come get you. It turns out your passport is fine. It was a mix-up on our end. I apologize and you can have your passport back."

    I thank her and then ask if she knows how this mix up could have happened. She says, "I know exactly how it happened. It was my error. Different countries can end up with the same passport numbers, and this stolen one was from a different country with the same number as yours."

    Relieved, I thank her again, and I go back to my seat. I didn't realize how upset and stressed out I was until I found myself inhaling a bunch of the cashews I still had in my bag. Stress/emotional eating? Yeah. Suboptimal coping mechanisms? Yeah. But I AM glad to have my passport back.

    12:09pm: Finally, we are moving again. I play games on my iPhone a bit more. I very briefly connected to AT&T service while at the customs stop and got a couple emails, but then it switched back to Bell (Canadian service) and since I have data roaming turned off (to avoid roaming charges), I can't do anything using the Internet anymore. And even though we've gone past the customs inspection stop, I'm still getting Bell and not AT&T.

    I'm tired and sleepy. I'm still upset and the combination of that and being tired makes me want to eat more of my cashews, but I refrain from doing that.

    It is also totally not helping that the college-age guy sitting across the aisle from me and his girlfriend are digging into a delicious-looking loaf of French bread that they bought in Montreal and eating it with butter. Bread and butter. So basic, but so good. And I can't have any while I am gluten-free. Alas.

    12:45pm: Arrived at Plattsburgh, NY. I am taking a lot of pictures at this point, especially since I am seeing Cumberland Bay and Lake Champlain on my side of the train, which I didn't see on my way up.

    1:36pm: I guess we are not stopping at some of the stations in between? I've noticed we skipped quite a few. I guess there isn't anyone scheduled to pick-up or drop-off?

    I am starting to get reception again on AT&T on my iPhone and I get a few emails, one of which was from the assistant director of nutrition services at HSS. She is just confirming that I most likely won't need to go through the medical clearance process again for my elective rotation. She also asks me to call her so we can speak on the phone. I email her back, saying that I'm on a train in upstate New York and have very poor reception. I will try to call her later if reception improves.

    1:46pm: Arrive at Westport Station.

    2:25pm: Arrive at Port Henry Station.

    2:48pm: Arrive at Ticonderoga Station.

    3:25pm: Arrive at Whitehall Station.

    4:00pm: Arrive at Fort Edward Station.

    4:23pm: Arrive at Saratoga Springs Station.

    I've been attempting to edit some of the pictures I took around Montréal, but it isn't easy since Photoshop was not made to run on the limited resources of my Netbook. I also attempt to upload the couple I am able to edit to Facebook, but the wi-fi is HORRIBLE and doesn't stay connected for more than two or three minutes. I eventually give up.

    4:50pm: Arrive at Schenectady Station. I see that my phone has good, solid 3G reception, so I take the chance on calling the assistant director. Informative conversation.

    5:10pm: Arrive at Albany, NY. We are scheduled to stop here for a full 45 minutes. We are welcome to get up, go out, walk around. I vaguely recall the conductor telling people they can go out and have that cigarette they've been wanting. (In my head, I'm thinking, shouldn't you not be encouraging people to go smoke? I chuckle at the memory of intermission when I saw Godspell when Hunter Parrish told the audience to stretch their legs at intermission and, "... also, if you smoke ... STOP.")

    I go outside, originally with just the intention of standing on the platform to get some air and to just stand for a while. I do, and take some pictures. Then I decide to go up the stairway and into the actual station itself and see if they have coffee or food. There is a coffee shop called Coffee Beanery. I look at the packaged salads they have for sale. They don't look very interesting so I pass. I get in line to get coffee - another iced latte, but this time nonfat, and I ask for sugar-free French vanilla syrup. Eh. It's not great, but it's drinkable.

    I return to the train and wait for our departure from the station.

    6:00pm: Leave Albany Station.

    6:26pm: Arrive at Hudson Station.

    6:46pm: Arrive at Rhinecliff Station.

    7:05pm: Arrive at Poughkeepsie Station.

    7:45pm: Arrive at Croton-Harmon Station.

    8:04pm: Arrive at Yonkers Station.

    8:27pm: Arrive at New York Penn Station. About 13 minutes early. I make my way off the train, through Penn Station, and over to the 1/2/3 subway. It doesn't feel like a Tuesday and I have to remind myself that a lot of the people in the station right now are people going home from work.

    It was a great, relaxing mini-vacation. It was nice to get away from daily grind of New York City, even being off from my internship these last couple of weeks. Being able to say that I went out of the country and went to a city I'd never been before was a plus. But now, back to reality.

All photos located here:

( Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 )
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