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Last day in Omaha

Wow. Tomorrow morning my last Amtrak Zephyr ride and then a week in Chicago in a comfy room at an airbnb. The hotel things have been nice and hopping around city to city on Amtrak really takes the whole thing forward with a Rail Pass. It reminds me sort of back in 2019 when I did a similar thing on the Taiwan High Speed Rail and visited 4 cities spending a week in each. This time though was only a few days and I wanted to ride the train a max of about 12 hours which really did not happen since some rides were longer. I also did not realize that the dining car was closed to coach passengers at this time so after the first trip and getting starved on the Emeryville to Reno train, I started carrying food and water. When I left SLC I ordered Wendys and got two burgers and a bowl of chili. That was nice! This time will stop at a convenience store and get some water and perhaps a cold sandwich. The train ride to Chicago starts at 5am tomorrow morning and finishes at 3pm. I get about 10 hours on the train so will need some food and water. Coffee will come at the cafe car but I would prefer not to buy food there too. I am an inveterate junk food eater though so perhaps I will go ahead and get a burrito or hot dog. I am gonna pack a banana and apple so not all junk.

Today in Omaha the sun is doing the shining thing. I've had morning coffee and the room is at this perfect temperature. The morning in Omaha looks beautiful for walking and seeing and I kinda decided on this route downtown and perhaps to the Durham Museum.

So my last day unfolds at no speed at all. Still some yoga to do this morning and then will maybe do Indian food tonight. Will have to stop at a convenience store and get some stuff and there's one down that way.

Then Chicago

I have not been in years but I will really love being there. I love big cities and buildings and parks and the food! Really the stop in Chicago is more about the turning around and heading west again and a few last rides on Amtrak on my rail pass. I had wanted to see this route the California Zephyr route for a long time. I was really not prepared for the beauty out of SLC and going to Denver or happening to meet an American cowboy going to Denver. Then a retired school teacher on the way to Omaha. Each one was delightful and random in a way. Red made me realize that the American west is not so west any longer. Teri made me see the real effect of Covid-19 on schools and students. Sometimes before when I rode the train I would meet others. Perhaps the biggest place to meet was over lunch in the dining car. The most wonderful and yet random conversation happened once with four of us riding to Portland Oregon. We were caught up in world events, history and the train arrived. It was both sad and fitting because one event caught up with us then. Each of going to a different place. I got off the train there in Portland but they continued. We also knew we would never see each other again but I truly believe it created more value for the conversation and we were able to more openly discuss the courses of our lives.

So anyways, on to Chicago tomorrow. Early start from Omaha. I will miss this city. There's something about each place so perhaps I will write about the whole eastward bound trip with some reflections on the stops themselves, how it all worked. I still think a lot of Vietnam and keep an eye on their battle with the Delta variant. Nothing has gotten better there for awhile but those people are tough and resilient and they get face masks and social distancing for the most part. Unlike many factions here, masks are not political statements and people do not fear vaccinations or are rabidly against them. I also know one day I'll go back. Like I told my wonderful and dear friends C and V, it is my home. Hanoi and the people and places. Now though I have other places to hang my hat and walk my steps. And that is good too.

Bye from Omaha. One more day of eastern routes for me. Then I sort of turn around and go the other way. More on that later :-).

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