I think we are now on our fourth day here. I am writing this at 5:30 in the morning on the overnight train from Beijing to Xi’an. I have to admit I was rather frightened about the train rides. I haven’t ever ridden a train from a point A to a point B. I am actually diggin this.
The train left Beijing at 9:20 and will arrive in Xi’an at about 8:30 in the morning. I thought I was going to be disappointed that I didn’t get to see the countryside while on the trains, but since I actually slept last night (with the help of Dr. Ambien) and it is light outside I am catching a few glances at ruraly China.
We are riding on a 1st class train that has 4 bunks per cabin. The beds are as hard as at the hotel and I wanted to keep my suitcase away from the door so it won’t fit between the table and wall. That became a problem because I couldn’t stretch my legs out.
When we boarded the train it was very hot. Imagine hot yoga hot, having to drag your luggage thorough a crowded train station and on to a train car that did not have air conditioning. Then, because we just wanted to make sure everyone was on the train, we were all crammed in a tiny hallway with everyone yelling, Chinese people trying to get through, no one knew what to do and one very frustrated guide. And did I mention no A/C? We all had sweat dripping off of us. Needless to say, we are all smelling pretty ripe.
Once we all go settled and the A/C was turned on everything got better. I am sharing my cabin with one of the girls from the other group and two college age guys. One guy is Chinese and the other guy is from Slovakia. The Slovakian speaks remarkable English. Almost without an accent. They are travelling to Xi’an and then onto Tibet. I think I heard them mention they are going to Everest base camp.
The past two days in Beijing the heat has been unbearable. I don’t expect to get away from it in the other cities, but this is unlike what I’ve ever experienced. I haven’t spent much time outside in the South in the summer, but those who have equate it to that… only we are walking 5+ miles a day in it.
Next stop… Xi’an.