Long time no blog postings, but I would like to get back into it. I am spending a couple of months in America, visiting my 94-year-old father in Helena, Montana. I hope to return to Viet Nam is a month or so and will begin posting about modernist architecture in Ho Chi Minh City again.
I drove my father to the university city of Missoula, Montana, a few days ago so he could attend a performance of Riverdance with my brother and his wife. Since I am not a fan of such music and dance, I opted not to go to the performance and decided to climb Mount Sentinel adjacent to the University of Montana. Missoula is a very green city nestled among the mountains.
Back in Montana, I have been reminded of the very long freight trains that run the American rails every day. From the vantage point of Mount Sentinel, I watched four long freight trains moving through the city's downtown over an hour's period.
These freight trains feature up to a hundred cars, and are often cars of the same type carrying probably the same type of freight, like the cars in this train, shown from the engines in the front to the rear of the train.
During this time, I did not see any passenger trains since Amtrak, the American passenger train company, does not run through the center of Montana -- it runs along the border with Canada in northern Montana. This contrasts with the rail system in Vietnam, which features passenger trains only, and very little freight is carried. Therefore what I am showing to my Vietnamese friends here is something many Americans take for granted -- the long freight trains constantly moving through the American countryside.