Sunday, February 3, 2008

All A Matter of Degrees

The worst cold and snow in 50 years has been going on for a week now in China. Today the BBC reports that 100 Million people have been affected, millions have been stranded at train stations, bus stations, and airports. 200,000 have been treated for injuries or illness and at least 60 people have died. Some of the dead are people who have fallen and been trampled by enormous crowds.

Meanwhile, according to the San Francisco Chronicle a Union Pacific snow plow got stuck on the rail line crossing the Sierra Nevada between Reno and Sacramento blocking an east bound and a west bound train. Instead of being on the trains for 2 or 4 hours the 400 inconvenienced passengers were stuck onboard for 12 hours.

It was a "nightmare" according to the stranded passengers. For example:

"And then the tears started. We were stuck for hours looking at the same trees. We asked if they could move the train up a couple hundred feet every hour, just so we could see some different trees. We were just hoping for some deer to come by. Even a squirrel."

And then there was this:

The smokers were clamoring to be allowed off the train so they could get a few puffs. When they were told no, they went to the back of the train and tried to crack open doors and windows.
Sometime in the early evening, a couple of kids got on the PA system and acted as though they were Amtrak officials giving information. Other kids screamed and ran through the cars.

The horror. The absolute horror.