Wednesday, August 25, 2010

China on track

Iam writing this blog on a train somewhere between Shanghai and Beijing after an interesting night on the train. I mentioned in my last blog that half the population of China were at the world expo yesterday. Well, last evening I found out where the other half were. They were at the Shanghai train station waiting for the T104 to Beijing. And that's a lot of people! You will see from the picture that the waiting room was "quite" full.

We seem to be the only non Chinese people on the train. People here are very friendly -- always ready with a kind smile and help when the silly Australians do something else stupid or don't understand some simple request.

We had sleepers in a compartment made up of two triple bunks. I had the top bunk and Anita the bottom one. The middle one was taken by a Father and his rather large son. Anita was the only female in our compartment of seven. She did not seem to mind too much.

My top bunk was interesting. It was about 60cm wide, which would have been good except that I am about 62cm wide. I had another 60cm of head room. That put my ears about 20cm from the speaker which came on full volume at exactly 7am with the sounds of some demented birds singing. This was followed by light classics and the Carpenters. The music was interspersed with a very nice sounding young woman chatting away in Mandarin. I am fairly confident that she was wishing me the best for the day ahead.

Guys come along the train every few minutes offering all manner of food. If I wanted snake chow main for breakfast - no problem. About an hour ago we saw a man with coffee. Anita almost fell out of her bunk trying to catch him but alas she let him get away. Since then we have not seen the coffee man. Obviously the sight of the Westerner crawling after him down the train scared him off. If he comes back we are both going to jump on him.

So we are traveling rather than being transported. Cecilia from CMS helped us to book our travel and accommodation in China. What a star she is. She was, however, worried when we said we wanted to travel on trains rather than fly within China. She really should not have worried. Anita and I have backpacked all over the world. To be honest the trains in China are comfortable and very clean. We have always been of the opinion that we are happy to be transported for work but for pleasure you need to travel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like you guys are having fun. I have been to China 4 times now and love the place, the first time, however, was daunting as you said, masses of people. Please keep it coming your writing is easy to read.