North Carolina by Train

I took a trip to Durham, North Carolina for Thanksgiving to visit some friends. The city seems filled with mystical pine forests. I managed to snag a window seat on the crowded Amtrak train down to check out all the interesting rusted detritus of industrial America: piles of glimmering junk yard metal, small towns that had seen better days, abandoned and abandoned-looking factories, rail cars full of coal, clear-cut fields. Taking a train ride is like peering behind the curtain of our manufacturing infrastructure.

My seatmate happened to be reading a new book on environmental economics (The End of Growth by Richard Heinberg). This guy must be cool, I thought, and after striking up a conversation with him, discovered I was sitting next to NPR newscaster Paul Brown. I love travel serendipity!