The train ride was about 45 minutes long, and I admit I was a little disappointed. I assumed it would be like the train ride at Crossroads Village, going through a set of lighted decorations, possibly with Christmas music playing to fill the gaps. But there weren't any decorations, past what individuals had put up on their own homes, and a couple at the train station. And there weren't any songs played over the speaker system. I was also, I admit, disappointed that we didn't get to ride a real old-time train. What we had instead was ... well, it looked like the New Jersey Transit trains of my youth, which was far too recent to be put in a train museum, thank you very much.
Still, it was a Santa Claus train: Santa himself came through each car, taking photographs and talking merrily with all the kids and posing for photographs with kids and their families. My niece seems to have overcome her general nervousness about Santa for this. And I even got in a photograph where I was smiling enough not to look vaguely creepy and menacing. The conductor also came around, selling cookies and, later, giving snowman dolls to all the kids. My niece promptly named the snowman ``Blondie'', and who can't like a kid who names a snowman ``Blondie''?
I did ask her what letter in the writing on the cookie was the tastiest; I said mine was the ``S''. She thought about this and announced her favorite was the ``K''. The cookies had written on it ``Season's Greetings''. I choose to believe she's decided to tell nonsense right back to me.
After the ride, we went to Fuddrucker's for dinner; my quip that they sold the ruckiest part of the Fudd confused absolutely everybody, including people who never heard the quip. It's the first time I remember eating at Fuddrucker's, a hamburger joint lesser than Red Robin but trying for macho points by offering exotic meats like ostrich and, well, salmon. I didn't go exotic.
Trivia: The Alexandria Tariff, a Roman document from the fifth century AD, lists 54 items subject to a 25 percent import duty, including cinnamon, cassia, ginger, white pepper, long pepper, cardamom, aloewood, myrrh, lions, leopards, panthers, silk, ivory, tortoiseshell, and Indian eunuchs. Black pepper does not make the list. Source: An Edible History Of Humanity, Tom Standage.
Currently Reading: The Zipper: An Exploration In Novelty, Robert Friedel.