Posts Tagged 'Lafayette'

Being of the exciting and whimsical adventures undertaken by the author

Hey all,

Sorry for the radio silence, but I’ve had another few quiet days. This time, I traveled to Purdue college in Lafayette, Indiana, to see a friend I’ve known for years. It worked out with us mostly just tooling around playing games, going to bars and eating (Lafayette isn’t a particularly big place), which although fun for me does not make for particularly gripping reading.

I had an entertaining time getting to my next stop of Pittsburgh, however. You see, Lafayette doesn’t have a Greyhound station. You can’t book the tickets online, nor at the Amtrak desk in the train station where the bus company is sort-of based, in that they have a brightly-smiling person sitting behind the glass who tells you she can’t really do anything. So, you go out to a street and stand there. In the rain. With no sign telling you where to go, so you have to more or less guess where the Greyhound is going to stop.

And then it doesn’t come. Two soggy hours later, I was feeling rather fed up of waiting (thank goodness my backpack has a rainproof sheet), so I teamed up with another passenger and we hitched a lift with his buddy to Indianapolis. Later, we would find out that the bus had broken down – which of course wouldn’t have been a serious problem, if we had any way of knowing at all.

Indianapolis I only got to see a little of, so I can’t pass comment on it, but I was starving by the time I got there. My eyes, stomach, imagination and spiritual wellbeing ruling out the slop being served up at the station, I went wandering down the road a little and found a place called the Slippery Noodle. It’s a large establishment that takes up half a block or so, but that never feels impersonal. Split into several different rooms, the place has an obsession with the Blues Brothers, live music, good food and what even I recognized as an impressive array of beers on tap. Chowing down on loaded potato skins, I had a nice discussion with the person behind the bar about traveling and all that good stuff, which proved far more entertaining than sitting in the station playing Puzzle Quest for three hours. I recommend the place.

The next bus journey was as dreary as it was tiring, another overnight haul on uncomfortable seats. Let me tell you, I’ve got traveling on these things down to an art now, but it’s still near-impossible to grab any sleep.

GREYHOUND SERVICE ALERT: Beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, September 23, the Greyhound station in downtown Pittsburgh will be relocated to the McKeesport Transportation Center, 408 Lysle Blvd. This move is temporary, and is due to the G-20 Summit taking place at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Oh, goody. Landing about 13 miles out of town in unfamiliar territory after 14 hours travel is just what I wanted. But never mind! I eventually found out how I was to get to my destination, and jumping on another bus made my way into the city. Pittsburgh feels kind of strange at the minute, due to the G-20; lots of protester-looking types with dreadlocks and big cardboard signs to be seen on the street. It’s on everyone’s mind, too: the conversations I overheard were all about the rigor of police checks and difficulty in getting anything done, or in some cases resent at being chosen to host. A small but granite-like old woman nearly poked me in the chest after overhearing my British accent.

‘Are you here for that G-20 thing? What do you do in it?’ she demanded. I explained that I was just a traveler, but that only seemed to redouble her conviction. ‘That’s just what you’d say, you just don’t want us to know, I bet you can’t talk about it.’ I made the mistake of trying to laugh that one off, which only served to further antagonize her. ‘It’s not a laughing matter’, she grumbled darkly as she stepped off the bus, leaving me rather bewildered.

Not everyone is feeling quite so wronged, though. Passing a pub on the way, they had hung up a sign: ‘We’re protesting sobriety’.

I arrived at my contact’s house here and promptly fell asleep until about an hour ago. I better get going though because we’re doing things tonight and my word, do I need a shower. More impressions of Pittsburgh to come tomorrow.

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