A delightful vacation in the Ohio Territory
Unlike the average person in my office, who (sensibly) took their vacation around the 4th of July as it was already a day off, I decided to have my summer vacation for 2012 fall the week afterwards.
The main events
While at home, I got to enjoy three major activities in droves, all of which did me a world of good. First and foremost, I got to spend a lot of time with family and old friends who were in town. From the delicious culinary artwork at Hunan East (the best Chinese food I have ever had, and certainly the best in the Cleveland area); to hiking with an old friend during the hottest part of the day with no water and no sunscreen in the Cleveland Metroparks; to bowling with friends and family at Freeway Lanes, there was a lot of great times to be had, and wonderful people to share them with. At the same time, being home for me was so great due to the large piles of sleep I was able to accumulate; though I am an old hand at looking like I enjoy running around constantly, I actually do need to rest once in a while and recharge those batteries. Directly related to the first and second activities was a great deal of gaming to be had over my vacation, but I didn’t play a single electronic game with or without friends. Instead, I came home bearing a couple of board games (including old favorites like Britannia and Bohnanza, and featuring the newcomers to my collection, Death Angel and Betrayal at House on the Hill) and played the crap out of them with my brother and my friends. All in all, this vacation was exactly what I needed during the heat wave in New England and after the stress of the 4th of July; go home, relax, and recuperate.
The trip back
While I am still a committed fan of the AMTRAK transit option, I must admit that my return train ride was less than ideal. Pulling into the Albany station, they had three (3) separate train engines break down in a row, each for different reasons. Due to the potential danger of on- and off-loading passengers while decoupling engines, we were all required to stay on the train. This wouldn’t have been awful (I do travel with high quality earbuds, opera on my phone, my Kindle library on my phone, and my phone charger at all times for a reason), except for the fact that every single bathroom broke on the train at the same time. And we were stuck in Albany for nearly 4 hours. When they finally realized that someone forgot to empty the septic tanks in Chicago nearly a day earlier, we the passengers got inundated with the sights, smells, and smells of the sewage trucks fixing that particular problem! Most people on the train were, as a matter of fact, not big fans of this turn of events, but personally, after spending time abroad and having ample opportunity to really examine what matters, I settled back and continued to enjoy Faust and The Old Man and the Wasteland, for however long it took.
Arriving into Springfield MA around 10pm when we were meant to arrive in New Haven before 9pm, the AMTRAK guy at the desk was nice enough to call cabs to provide transit to our (the 7 passengers who missed their connections) final destinations. A Yale PhD student in Egyptology and I got into the cab, made nice conversation between the three of us, and then 3 things happened at the same time: 1) The student, exhausted from a long day, passed out into some kind of coma; 2) it began to absolutely pour rain and thunderstorm; and 3) our cabbie decided this was God’s signal to crank up the engine to Ludicrous Speed. While it was fantastic to get home more than 20 minutes earlier than expected/than possible according to the laws of physics and the distances involved, it was a somewhat harrowing end to a long and trying day.
All told, a positively delightful vacation at home, preparing me well for continuing full time work at the Law School over the rest of the summer, and having a good time with my housemates (as the next post will help demonstrate!).
The photos include a smattering of all of the above, so take a look!