Published: July 23rd 2010July 22nd 2010
My six hour train ride from Beijing to Datong was not like the Shinkansen. Cramped, dirty, and crude, it brought me close to the heart and people of China and I loved it. I was glad to escape the city and travel through the vast and beautiful countryside.
I ended up sitting with a family (son, daughter, and mom) and began chatting with them. Heading inland has added linguistic complexity to my travels. China's provinces are home to a variety of diverse dialects. From time to time, mom would speak to daughter in Datong dialect. Though differences in pronunciation and vocabulary made a lot incomprehensible, underlying Mandarin structure allowed me to get the gist of their asides.
Basically, mom was very frankly discussing the prospect and advantages of marrying an American. My friends and I (Tony!) have often joked about the idea of finding a wife in Asia. Throw in the fact that she was indeed very attractive and I'll let you imagine the hilarity and novelty of the situation.
The following day we hit up the Yungang caves where huge Buddhist carvings over 1500 years old ere to be found. It was a relaxing, fun, and interesting
That night, we ate dinner with some of her friends. I was really glad to get a night out on the town with locals my age. Naturally, I had to show my comrades how a native-born Texan holds his liquor. It was great fun.
As the title suggests, I had paid the price the following morning as I left Datong for my next stop, Wutai Shan.
There are more photos below