So it was nighttime, so I stumbled around the train, and found this cafe/lounge car. It has two rows of four seats each, which made perfect beds. One was taken, so I sprawled out on the other. The next morning, I found that my companion, Jampel, a twenty-something white guy like myself, was a Buddhist monk. His friend Tsundru joined us, and we spent the rest of the trip hanging out and talking Buddhism and things. (and juggling.)
It is interesting and humbling to hear about Buddhist experiences of other young folks like me. Well, it's rare, is all. They brought up an interesting point: sure, Buddhism's been around forever, but is young in America, so there aren't these huge organizations about it. I might like Buddhism because I'm confident that it's not hogwash, but I knew it before it was cool.
The train car attendant, Tashi, not only let us hang out in our own little lounge, but joined us and brought some tea. Turns out he was Tibetan, and used to be a monk himself for 17 years. Wonderful! ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཆེ་།! It is also exciting to talk about Tibet, Nepal, and India with fellows who know about it and can share my excitement.
Washington is bigger than I thought (and we slept through most of it), Montana is wonderful,