This is what $2.50 will get you for breakfast on an Amtrak train. They microwaved the bagel, which came in its own little sealed package. I paired it with Godiva chocolate and minimal discomfort.
We are currently chugging through Alabama. I wish I could take better pictures of what’s outside, but alas, I am unable to capture the charm of my favorite store, “Cows And Horse Feed” (…feed whom? Feed WHAT?!), or the hand-painted NO LOITERING sign outside a ramshackle, faded cottage that struck me as oddly moving. This is the very rural South now, and it feels old; manmade colors are not as bright as you think they must have been fifty years ago, and everything is covered in rust. None of it seems unloved, but rather like whoever lives here understands something about permanence that other people have given up in favor of the latest architectural trend (looking at you, Cleveland) or the hippest pair of jeans.
Now, don’t get me wrong; I’ve always romanticized this sense of the South. I’m from a fairly rural pocket of Virginia, myself, and grew up around barns - cracked red paint and all - and gravel and people who spoke in smooth, comfortable drawls. But I do think there’s something different down here, something in the air. All of those things everybody says about the South: time moves slower here, people are more polite and less harried, etc…. That, and the fact that this part of the country is covered in kudzu. Seriously, it’s, watch out.