Posted by: viaprograms | September 15, 2010

“You and I will be friends”

Every space is used in Chinese trains.

We just finished a month of training in Guangzhou, and I left for my post in Beijing.  I took the slow train (29-hr, 24 stops). This isn’t my first time in China—but this was my first time on a Chinese train. The Great Firewall officially blocks Twitter, but this is how I’d tweet the experience:

14:20 – How to move two 50-lb bags through the train station mob: roll, drag, twist, lug, heave. No elevators.
14:45 – On the train, but wet with sweat—dripping from my nose. Passengers stare at me as if I’m on the wrong train. Am I?
14:49– Found my bunk in the 60-bed cabin. Is this what a submarine feels like?
16:15 – Pools becoming lakes, hills into mountains. Everything is deep green.
16:30 – A brother and sister found me reading. I entertain. Everyone calls me gege, “older brother.” Hen ke’ai!
19:50 – Ramen time!
22:25 – A woman grabs a paper from daughter & writes me with big
smile: “You and I will be friends. Tel: ___ .”
23:05 – Climb up to bed. Train is stiff and bumpy. Thank you, sleeping pills.
10:00 – New day, same meal: ramen + apple.
11:30 – Turns out that woman teaches elementary school English in Beijing.
14:00 – Been passing corn fields crisscrossed with power lines for three hours.
19:35 – Arrival! Beijing train station has a lot of people. But I’m just looking for one: my pickup.

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