Had a very good trip back. The people hanging out in my dome car were by and large very nice and many tipped accordingly. In answer to John MacDonald's comment two posts ago, tipping is not strictly de rigueur on board the train, but in a job like mine, which involves bartending as well as a great deal of commentary on the scenery, local economy, history, culture, etc., I sometimes get a little extra for my troubles. Porters and dining car staff also get tips. The transcontinental train is very different from the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor routes. The former is an "experience," whereas the latter is more of a utilitarian mode of transit.
As usual, I was serving people from all over the place: Canada, the US, England, Ireland, Australia, France. One of my passengers was an American monk, who was travelling with his joke-cracking father. I asked his father if he called his son "father." Apparently he does. Father Mike was a very nice guy, but not much of a tipper. More into faith and hope than charity, I guess. Dressed as he was in his monastic garb, he was something of an anachronistic sight when he was using his video camera. When we were going through the Rockies, after I had said something about the cycles of geology (the Fraser River carrying Rocky Mountain silt towards the Pacific, forming the Fraser Delta in the process) he told us that the fossil record on the Matterhorn confirmed the historical veracity of the great deluge. (Funny, because I didn't know there was any reference to the Swiss Alps in the Good Book; I wonder if the Bible's authors even knew of the existence of the land mass now known as Switzerland. I wonder if there were mountain goats on Noah's Ark? Ararat is a bit taller than the Matterhorn, so I suppose it's possible the latter was completely submerged, while the former poked above the flood--possible, at any rate, if you throw out everything we know of the hydrological cycle. Hmmmm...) He seemed otherwise mentally competent. He asked me once if I was Catholic. I answered in the negative, without elaborating any. I'm reading Christopher Hitchens' God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything right now. I didn't bring it up in conversation, wishing to poison nothing whilst on the clock and fishing for silver.