Riding the Crazy Train

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August 17th 2011
Published: October 12th 2011
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Marc Maron once asked "Have you ever had one of those moments when you look up and you realize you're one of those crazy people you see on the train talking to themselves?"
I have a horrible feeling this was me!

Travelling across the Giant that is China comes with its challenges, and I don't mean those of the squatting persuasion. In my travels I went from the east of China, to it's mid point and then headed south before returning eastbound.This meant too many hours on trains, and here follow some journal excerpts.

On the train to Xi'an
'Chinese children are not so cute when they're screaming at 1am, 3 am and 4 am'

Xi'an to Chengdu
Leaving behind the dusty clay of Xi'an and Shanxi province countryside, we travel through the night and awaken in lush green fields tumbling mountains and great yellow rivers. Sichuan skies are blue grey and the air seems clear and hot. It's a beautiful day in Chengdu, I just hope we get there soon.'

The Crazy Train.
(4 hours in beginning to loose the plot)
'Sometimes I'm so *exploitive deletive* British it's ridiculous. I'd rather be polite than comfortable. Wtf is wrong with me! I'm sitting on the train to Guilin, I'm about four hours in and I've spent most of it being sandblasted because the people opposite me have the window open full whack! What am I gonna do about it? Obviously just ramble and rant here, jees!'

(Somewhere between 12-20 hours in)
Still on this bloody train! I feel like I've been here forever. Cabin fever is seriously kicking in. My absolutely useless Chinese hasn't helped me befriend any locals. I've slept for maybe four hours huddled up in these horrid green seats. I feel like a battery hen, cattle in the cattle car. There are women lying on the floor by the train door, three women curled up on a rotten piece of cardboard. I had to clamber over them to get to the loo.

(Between 20-25 hours, complete lunacy ensues)
'Hunger, instant noodles are poo. Cleaned face with 6 wipes all are now black. Smell like Bidston Moss. sleep. book hostel, nooooo'.

(26-30 hours, back from the brink, I think)
' Sometimes it feels like I'm in an old Victorian novel, careening through mountainous countryside, peering through shuttered windows. Watching the world woosh by in a flash of green, listening to old train wheels clack metal on metal, the horn thundering as we disappear into dark mountain tunnels.'

After 30 hours on a small green bench with 8 other Chinese people, about 4 hours sleep and covered in a layer of filth so thick I'm starting to think I'm tanned I arrived in Guilin and vowed 'NEVER AGAIN!'

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