Published: January 30th 2010January 22nd 2010
Since most of you have never seen the inside of a Chinese train, I thought I'd post photos.
Back on the train, but this time I'm headed toward Hangzhou from Shenzhen. Unlike Shenzhen, with an area of almost 800 sq miles and an "official" population over over 10 million, Hangzhou is about 260 sq miles and 6 million people. It's a second tier city, so a bit smaller and perhaps a slower pace of life. At least I hope so -- I want to relax! I am going on vacation! Hangzhou is home of the famous West Lake and one of the most tourist visited spots in China. I'm looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about.
The train is very full, probably completely full. When I arrived at the station this afternoon I was one hour early and over half the people were already there and waiting. There were no seats left to sit in! So unusual for a society that runs on "now-ism." I was expecting to be one of the first there!
Right now I'm in a small cabin with too many people. There are six bunks... and 8 people. Glad I'm not the one sharing. Also glad I have top bunk so I can have a bit of privacy and maybe
Above the door
I've not seen this style: the luggage goes over the door and each section is a "private" room.
some extra quiet.
I napped for the first three hours and it felt so good. I like hiding out on the top bunk. The people below are eating sunflower seeds and playing cards. Packages of instant noodles are starting to appear. I hate the smell after last summer. There is a little girl, very cute, perhaps 4 years old, who keeps running up to me and yelling, "Waiguoren!" At least, I think that's what she's saying. I hate being called "Foreigner!" since it's not my name (it happens at my school, too). I'm used to it, but I don't like it. So I'm not responding. I mean, really, if the first 12 times yelling it in my face don't work, do you really think another 5 will?
I took some time down by the window in the hall before it got dark (when the majority of the little girl's yelling occurred). The scenery was pretty amazing. It was like looking at all the paintings and photos in museums and books but it was REAL! Things Seen from a Train Heading North on the East Coast of China
- Small towns with one narrow paved road winding through them. All the others are dirt. Today they are all mud.
- Farms with many buildings. The buildings are all small. Sometimes you can see in them as they are not enclosed like western homes. Some of the roofs have holes.
- Laundry hangs to dry in the rain.
- Steam rising off of mountains
- Houses with terraces in all directions. I wonder how they get from the house to the road.
- A patchwork of fields. All are flooded and I can't tell what's growing in them.
- The fields really are snuggly squeezed between everything. Areas barely wide enough for two cars have things growing. The fields snake down through the hills, rolling like a river of green plants.
My attempts at slumber were to be thwarted. Not only did the little girl whine a lot (you saw that coming, didn't you), but the guy next to me snored like a chainsaw. No, louder than a chainsaw, no matter what position he slept in. And just when he'd stop snoring, the women on the bottom bunks would start loudly whispering to each other. I think I slept one hour the whole night, finally tired around 4:30 am... just in time for my train to supposedly arrive at 5:30 am. I didn't dare go to sleep at that point--I didn't want to miss my stop. Yes, I know they come around and wake you up, but if I'm tired enough that isn't going to be enough to get me out the door.