Train Spotting

Santa Fe Depot, San Diego

Underneath my superficially normal appearance lurks a train geek. I thought I loved trains in the UK but trains in America are way cooler! I just need to hear a train whistle to get excited; I must be one of very few of the millions of people who live in the Houston area that gets stuck waiting for a concrete train to pass for 20 minutes and doesn’t mind.

Bright Red Trolley

As I walked towards the water from the Gaslamp area in San Diego my heart skipped a beat when I saw this fabulous old Santa Fe depot.  It was built in Spanish colonial revival style in 1915. The hub combines access to Amtrak trains and the San Diego trolley system, buses and the San Diego Coaster, a commuter service. Although we are surrounded by trains in Houston and all over Texas, very few are accessible to people. Most ship goods from our frenetically busy port of Houston to all over North America.

Only 2000 plus miles to New York

There is a silly Subaru advert on TV about living an alternative lifestyle that is clearly better than everyone else’s but I do like the one where the girl with the turned-up nose looks longingly at an open train that drifters might ride on. Here is a link to what we call a SMUGAROO
advert – just casting a little shade…😈 Teddy and I argued endlessly about it the girl. I thought her nose looked like mine but Teddy was adamant that my nose was much nicer. We still keep arguing about it!

The coolest ticket station!

It is my dream to travel on the Amtrak train from Houston to California but the price is not right. Train travel is a luxury these days. Still I can dream.

I really admired the way San Diego had managed to blend the old with the new in a vibrant city.

Old and new architecture

The exciting bus ride

cowboy and horse

After walking down along the estuary at San Jose del Cabo we rounded the corner to see the beach. Despite a few modern hotels on the seafront it still has a rugged air of an authentic town. I just loved this shot of the elderly Caballero with his lovely horse (for those of you who watched Father Ted on UK TV my lovely horse will make you laugh). Tourists like to ride horses down the estuary. We were getting tired so stopped at a cafe for coffee. In front of us was a nice older American woman stumbling over her Spanish to order lattes. Her ignorant husband said, “Don’t bother, Honey. They all speak American”. I wanted to go across and slap his stupid face. ‘We speak English, you idiot’, I thought. What would American be, I wondered – an early Mayan or Appalachian dialect? It wasn’t just what he said but the rudeness to his wife and the server.

We drank our coffee and moved on before I created an international incident. Crazed woman attacks another American in Mexico because he was rude.  We eventually got to a large supermarket called Mega. The food was amazing. The seafood and fish counter smelled of the sea and the range of fruit and vegetables was fantastic for a small town. Our long walk was at least 6 miles in the heat so the prospect of going back was daunting. I had already found out that the local bus (No. 6) went past our hotel and was about 70 cents. My husband does not share my enthusiasm for using local buses in strange places…(I am so cheap)

We went to the area where the buses seemed to be stopping. They were all ancient American school buses – some yellow for the urban area and red and white for the countryside. The first bus driver (No. 3) was very eager to help us and we managed to communicate in my bad Spanish. He confirmed that we needed No. 6 and it would be along soon. When it did, I was surprised that the bus driver got out closed the door and disappeared. When he came back zipping up his trousers we realized he had a pee behind the bush. Ah, that brought back happy memories of bus drivers in Scotland. The bus was up to Egyptian standards or perhaps a little below… My husband was so delighted to disembark but I was having great fun – nothing like roughing it. This was our elegant transportation. All that was needed was some chickens in the back. 🙂

bus seats