(I broke the train into two parts. The first part of the train (part six of the story) is here.)
We take the long walk toward dinner. Now we’re a little less sure on our feet. Mom’s getting tired, and I’m a little tired, and it’s darker. We make it to the bar car, which we have to go through to get to our dinner car.
We open the door. It’s different in the dark, more mysterious, more like a lounge, like you’d imagine. The piano abruptly stops and — “Sentimental Journey” begins playing. And Mom’s crying again, but this time she can’t sit because we’re on our way to dinner, so she kind of sits at this stool near the head of the piano, perched like she’s about to launch into song. But she’s crying and smiling and nodding, and I’m rubbing her back and it really must have looked like she was here on a Make A Wish. Read more
So here’s what my mother didn’t know: that months ago I’d asked the Orient Express travel agent if she could help me make even more of Mom’s dreams come true. If you don’t remember, Mom wanted to sit in the bar car of the Orient Express, drinking a pink squirrel while listening to them play “Sentimental Journey.”
“I think we can try to figure that out,” said the agent, understandably hesitantly. Just in case, I emailed her two YouTube links to the song, plus a link to purchase the sheet music, and eBay’ed my own sheet music, which was nestled next to my laptop in my cabin. I emailed the recipe for a Pink Squirrel, which I found on the Mad Men website, of all places (go ahead and read it; it’s gross), and had a print-out of the thing in my notebook. In short: I dorked out. Read more
Look, I went through a redesign and then I was in the dictionary and then I was really busy with multiple pitches and if I finish this script I’ve got due in the next couple of days I’ll have turned in a pilot script, a manuscript and a screenplay all in the past six weeks. So I don’t want to hear it! My fingers have been typing! And I still updated here! What do you people want from me?! Read more
We only had one night on the Orient Express. You could go longer. You could start in Rome and have two nights on the train (and if I could do this again, and had much more money, this would be it.) Read more
Before I continue, I need to take a moment to compliment every single person who works for the brand that is Orient Express. Their attention to detail is phenomenal, but my travel agent Heather was so spectacular that I wrote letters of praise to anyone who would listen.
So when I’m about to complain about the hotels where we were booked, know that I do not blame her. Read more
Yesterday would have been my parents’ 37th wedding anniversary. It made me remember how there was supposed to be a third person on this trip with my mom.
Dad. Read more
Did I mention that seconds after Mom showed me her dead cell phone, I found her boarding pass on the floor of the restaurant?
This is when I confiscated all of her travel documents, and would not let her have them in her possession… until we ended up in a fight while being forced to go through customs in Canada.
”Canada!” you say. “But I thought you guys were going to Europe!”
Yes, dear reader. Thank you for paying attention. I will tell you all about Canada, but not until later, because right now in this story Mom and I are still trying to get out of Newark. Read more
While I was eating dinner tonight “Sentimental Journey” played over the restaurant’s speakers. I’m well aware that I probably heard it more because I was sensitive to hearing it, but I still think it was a gentle reminder that I needed to get my ass in gear and write up these stories. Read more
It’s still tonight, so technically I’m still doing my update for today.
And I will start it with the tail end of another fantastic email, one that might make you jealous with it’s geniusness. (At least it did for me.) Behold, Brett N’s contribution: Read more
In yesterday’s email:
Having recently visited Paris this past July, I can personally attest that any self-imposed requirement to learn French is unnecessary. I tried to learn a few phrases and found that all I needed was the basics: “hello”, “please/thank you”, and “do you speak English?”. Beyond that, most Parisians I dealt with speak enough English to cope with you (especially the wait staff at any brasserie or cafe I went to) and they’re still nice to you when they figure out you’re American (usually within milliseconds of your mouth opening).
So stop stressing about that part and try to concentrate on the fun-having part.
I also look forward to whatever you end up writing as a result of this trip (hee!). Good luck!
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