So I had to go to Philadelphia for the Step 2 CS exam (they only offer it in 5 different cities and Philly is the closest). I figured it was also a good chance for me to visit an old friend since I’ve never visited her during her entire medical school career before and she’s going to graduate soon (guess who’s going to be a surgeon??!!).
(the sight that greeted me when I was riding the escalator up)
I saw this in the bookstore/convenience store in the train station. It was hidden at the back of the bookstore!!! I don’t even believe there is such a shelf in the BN downtown…Anyway, LJ had mentioned to me before that he thought Philadelphia’s train station is one of his favorites. The majesty of the high ceilings took his breath away when he was younger and he loved Christmas time when he would go home and he would see the Christmas tree looming when he came up the elevator. He is right. The train station in Philadelphia is truly beautiful. Whereas the one in NYC is big, its also claustrophobic-like. The Penn station in Baltimore too has high ceilings, but it is smaller. I cannot decide which one I like better. Chicago’s Union Station is actually also very pretty (I had considered trying to organize the school’s prom there but it was fairly cost-prohibitive).
But can I be the only one who fantasizes about the romanticism of train travel? Yes. It is true that train travel is now no longer chic, or even romantic. But whenever I see those old posters of train travel from the 60s, I can’t help but wish train travel was still like that. Remember the episode of “sex and the city” when Carrie decides to travel cross-country via the Amtrak (1st class no less!) because she’s afraid of travelling and Samantha accompanies her because she is ‘bored of NY’. The look of disappointment on her face when she realises that train travel isn’t as wildly romantic or even adventurous as her fantasies kind of matches mine everytime I am on an Amtrak train. Actually, even air travel today has lost a lot of the glamour it used to be associated with … which is a pity. Although, I imagine that if air travel had continued to be as glamourous as it used to be, it probably would have been as expensive and I would never be able to fly. Without being able to fly…I probably won’t be here…and … I guess there are too many unknowns in this world and if I keep thinking ‘what if’, I will never move on with my life.
Here’s what DC’s union station looks like: