We are now half way through our Trans USA Rail journey and I write this sitting on the Amtrak California Zephyr with another 6 hours before Denver. Time to reflect, but not so much on the vacation rather more on the country and the people, sans-politics!
Twenty years ago one of us, Dr B, visited the US regularly on business spending time specifically in New Orleans, Memphis, Miami and Louisville. Outside of business the memories are of the bartender who spent a whole evening explaining baseball as I drank Coors sitting at the bar, or another bartender who gave me samples of American “whiskey” all evening because I said I had only ever had Makers Mark! Then there was the near airplane accident at Memphis that led to us being grounded and the staff at Folks Folly Steakhouse refusing to take payment as if the plane emergency landing was THEIR fault.
So now on a luxury holiday in our retirement has anything changed? No it hasn’t, the USA has to be the best country on the planet for “service”. Waiters, hotel staff, train conductors, national park staff, you name them, they are so attentive and obliging to folks of our age.
The cynical would say it’s because of the tipping culture, but in our opinion that’s horseshit! Stand up Rachel and Brian at our hotel in Durango serving dinner then breakfast with complete attention to us, the attendants at Alcatraz who, noticing Dr C walked with a stick invited us for pre ship boarding with no queue, a buggy to take us up the hill, and the hidden elevator to begin the tour. Then there was the tram driver in San Francisco who as we boarded immediately “advised” two people at the front to give us their seats, the lady at Grand Canyon Railroad who put Dr C on the train 20mins before official boarding as she noticed the walking stick. And thank you Chicho and Marc our Instagram followers who took us out for dinner in San Francisco.
The list goes on and on, but this is so different from England where as 70 year olds we are invisible!
Well done America, and thank you ….. we’ll be back!