So Peter picked us up around 3, and we headed over to the train station, where we went to this fancy-schmancy air conditioned waiting room and checked in. We did the regular checkin stuff and then proceeded to another table where they took our preferences for dinner - we said we wanted the late seating (9:15 rather than 6) and that we were open to sitting with another couple.
We'd gotten there about 2 hours early, so we said our goodbyes to Peter and then sat around and people-watched. There were a lot of British couples there, and the two couples sitting right near us were talking about how it was impossible to understand Americans, how we had no sense of humor, and for some reason had this really strong dislike for the Carolinas because they kept bashing them. We dubbed them "the Monty Python Group."
The average age was probably 15ish years older than us, but there were a few other couples around our age, one of who had a guy who I decided must be line to the throne (British, of cousre) so I dubbed him and his wife The Duke and Dutchess.
I am totally clever with naming, right?
We boarded around 5:30, and went to our cabin, which was the third in car A (cleverly named 3A). We had a middle-sized cabin, but it was still pretty snug. The daytime configuration is a little couch-thingie, a comfy chair-thingie, a table, and a moveable chair. We've got an ensuite bathroom, and in the main room there are shelves at the top of the cabin where we pseudo-unpacked our things to.
We headed to the observation car at the end of the train for when we pulled out, and waved wildly at people who probably didn't really care, but indulged us and waved back. Then Will and I headed back to our cabin to settle in and view the countryside from our window.
We headed to the observation car again a bit later and chatted up one of the stewards there, who has been working for the company for 17 years. After a little bit we headed back to the cabin to dress for dinner.
(Okay, we just went through a tunnel. It was kind of creepy.)
The dress code for the train is "smart casual" during the day, which we've taken to mean nice shorts/pants/skirts and non t-shirt tops. For dinner, however, guys are supposed to wear jackets and ties and girls are supposed to wear the equivalent. However, there are totally some people who ramp it up a bit, because we saw a guy with a tux, and girls with pretty fancy dresses. It was totally the perfect opportunity for Will to wear one of his new suits from Bangkok, and for me to wear my new sapphire necklace!
We headed to the bar car for a drink before dinner, where there was a pianist playing showtunes and other songs and a few couples either having a drink before the late seating, or after the early seating. They announced the start of our dinner, and we went to the restaurant cabin. Even though we'd asked to sit with another couple, they sat us at a fourtop, but alone, which was actually kind of nice because (a) we got a lot of extra space, (b) we were exhausted and this way we didn't have to be *on* for other people and (c) we didn't have to sit with people who hated the Carolinas.
Dinner was kind of amazing.
We, however, were kind of pooped. It was all we could do to make it back to our cabin, which had been made up to the night setup, and promptly collapsed into our beds.