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About SarahZ

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    Writing, reading, baking, trivia, adventures, historic preservation

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  1. I grew up on a variety of boats, but I've actually never sailed. Anyway, this is getting off-topic.
  2. I love taking a shower after completing travel. It's so refreshing, even if I don't feel particularly sweaty or dirty. There's just something about washing the train/plane/car off. Plus, hot showers are so relaxing. Amtrak showers are not relaxing. I always feel a need to hurry, there's hardly any room to maneuver**, I spend 90% of the time trying not to bang into the walls, and anyone who's seen my hair can imagine my frustration over the size of the towels. (For reference, pour a pitcher of water on a section of shag carpet and then use a washcloth or two to attempt to soak it up.) If I were connecting in Chicago, I would be tempted to use the shower for those exact reasons. **The showers with glass doors have enough room, but I've only encountered those once. Also, the other points remain unchanged.
  3. SarahZ

    An unusual passenger encounter

    I expected a hilarious read, but I couldn't get past the terrible writing. I feel like I'm grading 9th grade essays again.
  4. SarahZ

    An unusual passenger encounter

    The Illuminati, maybe? I've never met this person, but it also doesn't surprise me. There are all types out there.
  5. I definitely will the next time I’m out there. I mistakenly assumed it would be expensive, but it’s pretty comparable to the average hotels.
  6. I loooooove Art Deco. I’ve seen the exterior of Cold Mary but never had a chance to book a stay.
  7. They may compensate you with a voucher if you call Customer Relations and explain what happened. When I was scheduled to take the Texas Eagle from Dallas to Chicago in 2013, the train was canceled due to an ice storm. Since it was a business trip, the cancelation notice and phone call went to my work email and work phone, two things I didn't have access to. I didn't find out until I got to the train station. I spent HOURS on the phone with Amtrak and my Corporate Travel department. Amtrak offered to book me on "the first train out", which may have been 2-3 days later. I was able to get a flight the next day. When I got home, I called Amtrak and explained what happened. I asked if there was any consideration they might make for my food costs, hoping they might give me a $50 voucher. They ended up giving me $150 to cover the hotel room and food. I honestly wasn't expecting that much, especially since they had offered to book me in a roomette (which is what I paid for) once the host railroads opened up again.
  8. My grandmother and mother both had tea kettles. When I was little, I loved the sound they made. (I still love that sound, actually.) When I lived in the dorms, I could only use a microwave, so that meant microwaving a cup of water until it was really hot. I think this is how most Americans "prepare" tea. Once I was older and moved into my own place, I bought a proper tea kettle. I use it for tea and hot chocolate.
  9. I do prefer the Great Hall. I don't mind setting my stuff on a bench instead of a table, and I always make sure I don't leave any crumbs behind. Plus, even if it's full of people, the large room makes me feel like I have more room to breathe. The Food Court is simply maddening, even when it isn't very busy. The drop ceiling, beige walls, and fluorescent lights create a Pit of Despair.
  10. Neroden does have a point about the Food Court, though. It is sometimes close to impossible to find two seats together, let alone enough room for an entire family.
  11. It's pretty cute. I used to watch it every Christmas.
  12. I'm so pleased. You are most welcome. I wish you could see how big my smile is right now. I'm glad you enjoyed the show!
  13. Played by Chris Farley, of course.
  14. There is a pedestrian tunnel that goes from the South Concourse at Union Station to the (CTA) bus transit center at Canal and Jackson. If you wanted, you could walk through the tunnel and take the elevator up to the bus area. Then, you could hop on a bus to Clark/Lake and take the escalator (or elevator) down to the Blue Line. It's not immediate/direct, but it's easier than walking up/down stairs with bags, and the service is more frequent than Metra. I'm not ashamed to say I've done this when it's pouring rain or -20 and I don't want to walk to the buses.
  15. My apologies. The CTA website hasn't been updated yet. That's good news. Quincy is a bit closer to Union Station than Washington/Wells.